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An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice

4.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,336 ratings  ·  322 reviews
This inspiring memoir by the Gold Star parent and captivating DNC speaker is the story of one family's pursuit of the American dream and why-especially in these tumultuous times-we must not be afraid to step forward for what we believe in when it matters most.

An American Family is an intensely personal story about the nature of true patriotism and what it's like to risk e
Audio CD, 12 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Books on Tape
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4.64  · 
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 ·  1,336 ratings  ·  322 reviews

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Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never cried reading a book. Never. Until now.

Khizr Khan is an exceptional writer and his life story is simply incredible. It’s uplifting, powerful, humble, gracious and deserving of attention.

Khizr Khan is a wise man, a patriotic man, a man of faith. He has struggled and worked hard and changed the world in a significant way. His story deserves to be read, acknowledged, appreciated.

I want to thank him and his wife Ghazala. I want to shake their hands, give them big, huge squeezy hugs,
Nenia ☠️ Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Protector of Out of Print Gems, Mother of Smut, and Actual Garbage Can ☠️ Campbell

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"Stay strong. Stay safe."

He said that he would (153).

We live in a polarized America right now. One half fights for progress, and the other half appears to be actively trying to drag us backwards towards a nostalgic vision of the past that never quite existed.

One of the aspects of this current political climate that disgusts me to no end is the fact that the right has capitalized on the hate and prejudice of a few in order to secure the supp
Emily Davenport
Nope. Six Stars.
If you are a thoughtful, breathing American, please read this book. For an even more emotional and unforgettable experience, LISTEN to Mr. Khan retell his story of coming to America from Pakistan and gather a beach-towel sized handkerchief to absorb your tears as tells the story of his son's ultimate sacrifice for America. And then when you are finished, buy a pocket US Constitution and get to work making sure that America is a safe and loving and equal home to anyone who w
Julie Christiano
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I will never forget this this author, his family, their son Captain Humayun Khan, and their story. This story of Khizir's life and love for this country and its ideals will take your breath away. Astounding in every way. I ask that you read this incredible work.
Linda Quinn
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I am an American patriot not because I was born here but because I was not. I embraced American freedoms, raised my children to cherish and revere them, lost a son who swore an oath to defend them, because I come from a place where they do not exist.” If I could give this book and Mr. Khan more than 5 stars I would do so in a heartbeat.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Khizr Khan is a gifted memoirist and his family's American life is a revelation! Unfortunately, it also illuminates how model minority myths will never keep us safe from white supremacist harm.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
Oh my. I am moved beyond words by this memoir of a modest man of humble origins who moved to the United States from Pakistan to further his education, became a citizen, and now reminds us all of the gift it is to live in America. He writes: "I am an American patriot not because I was born here but because I was not. I embraced American freedoms, raised my children to cherish and revere them, because I came from a place where they do not exist." He is, of course, the father of one of 14 Muslim-Am ...more
Hasso von Moltke
This is an exceptional short work by Harvard graduate, immigrant, gold star father Mr. Khizr Khan. Mr. Khan has written a moving and poignant book on his family's trials and tribulations from his humble origins in Pakistan, to his success in the United States. Intermixed with the narrative is an appeal to the ideals of the founders of the United States.

This is largely an apolitical work, in spite of Mr. Khan's speech at the Democratic National Convention. While Pakistani politics are often criti
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an inspiring read! Would that all Americans had such sincere love of country and admiration for American ideals and principles as this Gold Star family, the Khans. Mr. Khan’s love for the words of our founding fathers and his respect and ultimate awareness of equal protection under the law, the rule of law and political, religious and economic freedoms even in the face of increasing prejudice against Muslims is admirable. Their entire family including that of Captain Humayun Khan, their son ...more
Rebecca Wilson
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is where cynicism goes to die. Mr. and Mrs. Khan are remarkable people and remarkable Americans, and Mr. Khan's understated, plain-spoken memoir is a welcome corrective to most of what passes for patriotism in this political climate.
Hai Quan
Jan 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
I am a rather above average when it comes to being emotional reading about great sacrify of heroes who knew fully well the eventual end of their earthly existence once they chose to start or join an armed or political struggle to regain their countries ' sacred sovereignty and their compatriots' honors and to kick the sorry asses of foreign invaders.
It is a much used , tattered descriptive word but l have been more often in the brink of tear when I read pages of history that described the above
Oct 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book on Goodreads. This book was tough to get through and after 150 pages I just skimmed the rest. I found I was disinterested in it all. This isn't a political book but the politics that the author talks about are all wrong. I liked the part about liking Reagan but he misconstrues Trump's words. The author says that it is unconstitutional to ban Muslims, first of all not all Muslims were being banned, secondly it was only a temporary ban of just 3 months and yes it is constitutional. ...more
John Yingling
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm proud to call Khizr Kahn a fellow American. He, and his family, embody all that this county is, or should be. His son Humayun was a true hero, and I can't even imagine the feelings Mr. Khan and his family experienced when Humayun was killed in action. Mr. Khan's life is an example of surmounting the odds, becoming successful in life, and passing on all the best values of a human being to his children and to the people he met. This book is extraordinarily moving and inspirational. I listened ...more
Rosemary Clark
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Khan has a literary gift of expression that conveys the emotional immediacy of his experiences. As ordinary as the incidents of his past appear to be – related through a Pakistani youth, education, marriage, and immigration to the United States – they contain the seeds of an acute awareness and striving to serve others. In passing these sentiments on to his own family, he demonstrates a richness of character, even though it asks of them the ultimate sacrifice, the death of his middle son Hum ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This book was filled with dignity, humanity, sacrifice, hope, heartache, the true meaning of the American Dream and most importantly love. Mr. Khan is the embodiment of what our country is supposed to be during a time when so many people are searching for answers about what it often looks like we have become. Listening to him as he described his love of family and of the United States was a true pleasure even though the story occasionally slowed down a little. It is a book that will definitel
Heidi McQuay
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
"So what if you are thirsty? Always be a river for everyone." A very inspiring story.
Farnoosh Brock
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Beyond thankful that I stumbled upon this unforgettable memoir. I tore into it. My eyes were stinging from reading (and crying) late into the night. I am indebted to Khizr Khan for telling this story for so many reasons. Pakistan is not far from Iran where I was born and raised and later moved to America. I could relate to so much of the culture, family values, traditions and ways of living as well as the oppressive government and the unfathomable daily injustices in one's homeland, and how, for ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Immigrant stories have always appealed to me. My three children are themselves immigrants and every success story which is full of happiness and success brings a lot of happiness to me personally as well as I know it echoes my own wishes for my own children.

This story which propelled one family into prominence through the sad death of their son is no exception. Like most immigrants the Khans were hard working, god fearing, simple folk. The fact that they were Muslim was incidental to the entire
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow. I cried twice while reading this book. It’s touching and poignant and left me thinking that Khizr Khan is, without a doubt, a better American than I am. But the strength of this memoir is that rather than leaving me feeling condemned, I finished this book feeling both humbled that I get to share my country with upstanding citizens like the Khans and inspired to become a better American myself. This memoir offers such a valuable perspective as the United States continues to debate what kind ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read an advance review copy. This is a quick but worthwhile read, and a timely rebuke to the country who elected Trump.
Reem Mohsen
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An American Family is so much more than an autobiography of Khizr Khan. The reader will learn about the history, culture and mores of Pakistan, the importance of family: past, present and future, of love and overwhelming loss, of hunger, homelessness, poverty and of the unslakable thirst for knowledge. It is primarily a story of an immigrant coming to the United States because he knew both intellectually and spiritually, that it offered the best chance for a life of dignity, justice, equality an ...more
Jessica Woofter
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book is so beautiful and well-written that I kept flipping to the front cover to see if I was missing a "written with". But no, Khizr Khan is a scrappy immigrant, Harvard-educated lawyer, powerful public speaker, and eloquent writer who speaks several languages and lives a life of principle and generosity. Leave some for the rest of us, Khizr!
I took two things away from this book:
1) I want to be a better American. The way that Mr. Khan writes about American ideals makes you want to liv
Sharon Orlopp
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible true story of a Pakistan immigrant who came to America and continually learned and applied himself to make a better life for his family. His son was a captain in the US Army and was unfortunately killed by a suicide bomber while serving in Baghdad in 2004. Hillary Clinton asked the author, Khizr Khan, to speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2016---more than 11 years after his son had been killed. Khan spoke as a "patriotic American Muslim with undivided loyalty to the U.S."

Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book.

This was a wonderful memoir of Khizr Khan’s journey to becoming a US citizen, and his and his family’s lives as US citizens. I would have liked to have seen this book remain apolitical, and instead use it to teach some history, impart wisdom, inspire others, and remind them of the things that we take for granted. Mr. Khan certainly made me take an introspective look at myself.

That being said, the book becomes very politica
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so grateful that I took the time to read this heart felt, intelligent recount of the author’s life. His story has instilled in me a great love for our country that, to be honest, at times has nearly been lost due to the current “grotesque vaudevillian” politician at the helm. Thank you, Mr. Khan, Esquire, for your honesty, bravery & transparency.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely a Must Read! Congrats to Mr. Khan for giving us a refreshing insight into what America means to those fortunate enough to be able to become a part of our rich heritage. He paints a beautiful picture of another piece that is the collage of American history. Short, sweet, and points well made.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Can I give it 10 stars? This was the most touching book I have read in awhile. Eloquent, heartfelt, honest, beautiful. I listened to the audio version which is read by the author. Do not let his somewhat slow reading speed put you off (I assume it was recorded that way for people who struggle to understand English spoken with an accent)...there was something extra special about hearing his family's story in his own words and in his own voice. Every American should read this in order to gain an i ...more
Katy Cronk
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can view my reviews, book life, and much more at

I love, Love, LOVE this book. I got this library hold right at the perfect time. It's primarily the story of Khizr Khan's life, but it's so much more than that. It talks about family and working hard to provide for them. It goes over their immigration journey, how proud they were to become Americans, and how they turned their son's death into a positive thing they could do for other service men and women that were ab
Mount Prospect Public Library
Jul 28, 2018 marked it as summer-2018-patron-discoveries
"This book could be about almost any American family. A very interesting look at immigration." - Summer Reading 2018 participant
Oct 30, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: _own, post-college
10/29/2017 6thandI in person with Wajahat Ali
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Khizr Muazzam Khan is the father of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Khizr and his wife Ghazala received international attention following a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention that criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“So what if you are thirsty? Always be a river for everyone.” 8 likes
“No man is complete until his education is complete.” 2 likes
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