Paper pub. date
March 2024
ISBN 9781962645072 (paperback)
6 x 9, 304 pages. 33 b&w photos. Bibliography.
Available March 2024.

I Lived to Tell the World

Stories from Survivors of Holocaust, Genocide, and the Atrocities of War

Elizabeth Mehren
Copublished with The Immigrant Story. Foreword by Timothy Longman
Summary
Reviews

I Lived to Tell the World presents thirteen inspiring profiles of men and women who have endured unthinkable cruelty, only to resume productive lives in their new homes in Oregon. They come from Rwanda, Myanmar, Bosnia, Syria, and more—different stories, different conflicts, but similar paths through loss and violence to a new, not always easy, life in the United States. The in-depth profiles are drawn from hours of interviews and oral histories; journalist Elizabeth Mehren worked collaboratively with the survivors to honor the complexity of their experiences and to ensure that the stories are told with, and not just about, them. Mehren also weaves in historical, cultural, and political context alongside these personal stories of resilience.

These profiles will inspire readers to reflect on their own experiences, and to view these survivors as a source of hope in their own dark times. As more states adopt Holocaust and genocide education curricula, and as issues around refugees, immigration, and racial justice gain increasing attention, I Lived to Tell the World highlights the purposeful lives led by these Oregonians despite their painful pasts. Their experiences not only humanize the atrocities often seen in headlines, but also convey a universal message of courage.

I Lived to Tell The World is a beautiful, moving testament to human resilience. This book skillfully weaves together personal stories with historical facts, giving readers a window into some of our world’s most horrific mass atrocities from a personal point of view. We are invited in as witnesses to hear these intimate stories, and despite the terrifying reality of the wars and genocides we read about, it is impossible not to come away feeling hopeful and full of awe. These stories remind us that it is possible to find meaning and purpose even amid suffering, and that we have agency in determining our path forward.”
—Annie Brewster, MD, Harvard Medical School

The Immigrant Story (TIS) is a volunteer-run nonprofit founded in 2017 whose mission is to foster empathy and build a more inclusive community by sharing thoughtful narratives of immigrants and refugees who often overcame tremendous odds to reach the United States. TIS combines nuanced storytelling with subtle performance art to share high-quality programs with the community. TIS public arts programming includes live events, exhibitions, podcasts, oral history preservation efforts, and development of public school curriculum.
www.theimmigrantstory.org


About the author

Elizabeth Mehren is a Portland-based writer, editor, and educator. After working at The Washington Post, she became a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and later spent a decade on the faculty at Boston University. Mehren earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at UC Berkeley and has written for national magazines, appeared on television and radio, and received awards for teaching and journalism. I Lived to Tell the World is her fifth book.


Read more about this author

I Lived to Tell The World is a beautiful, moving testament to human resilience. This book skillfully weaves together personal stories with historical facts, giving readers a window into some of our world’s most horrific mass atrocities from a personal point of view. We are invited in as witnesses to hear these intimate stories, and despite the terrifying reality of the wars and genocides we read about, it is impossible not to come away feeling hopeful and full of awe. These stories remind us that it is possible to find meaning and purpose even amid suffering, and that we have agency in determining our path forward.”
—Annie Brewster, MD, Harvard Medical School

I Lived to Tell the World is a beautiful and searing gift of memory and reckoning. With this anthology of stories told by genocide survivors, Elizabeth Mehren offers stunning narrative and analysis in league with other unforgettable books that at once plumb the depths of human cruelty and soar to the highest levels of resilience and joy, among them The Diary of Anne Frank, A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power, and We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch. I can’t wait to share these stories with my global health and journalism graduate students.”
—Jennifer Beard, Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health

“Drawing on vivid accounts and poignant anecdotes, this book demonstrates how storytelling is an indispensable tool in revealing truths. Seamlessly weaving personal experiences with global issues, it is a testament to the profound impact of narratives in challenging injustice and fostering action. It shows how the tenacious pursuit of truth-telling not only opens doors to accountability but also serves as a beacon of hope in a world shrouded in misinformation.”
—Geeta Anand, Dean, Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist

“It is common to look at the world's most horrifying man-made tragedies—war, genocide, mass persecution—through a magnifying glass, driving home the scale of the crime. In this powerful book, Elizabeth Mehren uses a microscope instead, zeroing in on the actual human beings who have been the victims of these tragedies, and the amazing courage and resilience that marks their refusal to let the horrors they've suffered define them. You'll find many people to cheer for in these pages.”
—Mickey Edwards, retired member of Congress and co-author of Congress: The First Branch

I Lived to Tell the World is a book of incredible power, containing stories of courage beyond measure and perseverance beyond imagining. It is also a book that challenges us all to never forget the words of the great Elie Wiesel, who said, ‘I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.’”
—Kerry Tymchuk, executive director, Oregon Historical Society

Upcoming Events

The Friends of Lake Oswego Public Library welcome a conversation between Elizabeth Mehren, Sankar Raman (founder of The Immigrant Story) and one of the remarkable survivors featured in I Lived to Tell the World , to be followed by audience Q-and-A.

Saturday, July 20th, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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