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See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love
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See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,967 ratings  ·  356 reviews
How do we love in a time of rage? How do we fix a broken world while not breaking ourselves? Valarie Kaur—renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer—describes revolutionary love as the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead loo ...more
Hardcover, 389 pages
Published June 16th 2020 by One World
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Dolly Of course! It provides you with brave stories and tools for practicing revolutionary love.

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 ·  1,967 ratings  ·  356 reviews

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Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"We can have all the empathy in the world for a group of people and still participate in the structures and systems that oppress them."

Stars cannot express the power of this book.
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
One of the hardest things we can do as humans is to love our enemies. It’s one of those precepts that is easier said than done, but civil rights lawyer, activist, and filmmaker Valarie Kaur has given us a book that can help us to do this work.

In See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, Kaur provides us a book that is part memoir and part how to manual on how to practice what she describes as “revolutionary love”. She defines revolutionary love as the active decisions humans
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, arc, own
I had never heard of Valarie Kaur before reading this memoir, but she is a renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer. She’s also incredibly thoughtful, insightful, and impressively understanding toward people who are different from her. It took me a while to finish See No Stranger because it is heavy—beautifully written and straight up breathtaking, no exaggeration—but, good grief, she covers some tough subjects. Not only does she discuss her personal experiences with racism and ...more
This book is extraordinary. Transformative. I will be buying my own copy because I need to mark it up. And reread it. Over and over. I recommend this most highly for anyone, especially anyone who wants to make the world a better place.
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

There times when this book feels like it cannot decide what It wants to be, like it is trying to do too much. One level, it functions as a memoir, a very good one. On another level, it functions as a guide to dealing with those people – ones who disagree with you or who exhibit racism. On a third level, it is a discussion of Sikh belief and philosophy. Again, like the memoir, interesting. But there are times when the two book types mesh and times when they do not.

May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rarely does a book come along that makes an impression on me as See No Stranger has.

In the 1990s, several of M Scott Peck's books, including Different Drum (about building community) enabled me to re-imagine my life and begin a healing of my soul. Just a few years ago, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari presented a revolutionary overview of human history that enabled me to re-imagine humanity.

Now in 2020 comes Valarie Kaur with See No Stranger to empower me to re-imagine my life as an activist (and wr
Konrad Mueller
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read this, everybody.

This book was balm for my soul. Over the last 4 years I’ve watched myself steadily turn inwards in the face of trauma and brokenness. Reading this book returned me to a part of myself that had been muted and numbed. Kaur calls us to cultivate wonder and empathy, to listen and grieve with our neighbor, to lean into love as a sweet labor. Reading this was an entirely restorative experience, and I cannot recommend it enough.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
Wow! I do not usually read books with a heavy philosophical bent, but I really loved this book. I was given an ARC by Random House One World and received it about a week or two into the my state's stay at home order but didn't immediately pick it up. I finally started it yesterday and got about 50 pages to the end before I finally tore myself away to go to sleep - I didn't anticipate it being so hard to put down! Kaur's synthesis of her own traumatic experiences and those she has witnessed throu ...more
Some books are so perfectly in tune with their time that reading them feels almost spooky. As though the author has moved beyond our earthly struggles and found solutions from sources we have overlooked amidst our solitary pursuits. We were too busy not listening. Author Valarie Kaur took time off very intentionally and composed this book from myriad sources, her own lifelong journals and philosophy and religious texts. That her book will be published in the midst of COVID-19 and racial demonstr ...more
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Restorative and transformative. Enlightening and comforting. I wish every American who strives to love in this broken world could absorb the wisdom in these pages.
Jacquelyn Fusco
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good things about this book. I want everyone to read it. It is so good on so many levels: activism manual, history of the years since 2000, memoir, primer on the sikh religion, self-help book.
Valarie Kaur is an inspiration and she shows me that it is possible to be powerful and make change even if you have suffered from panic attacks and impostor syndrome.
Maybe I should have gone to law school too. I'm 31, but I still want to be like Valarie Kaur when I grow up.
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This excellent, worth-reading book helps us gain understanding of the two diametrically opposed camps within our country. It also suggests reasons and avenues to open dialogue. The underlying theme is we cannot begin to repair and move on unless we mitigate our individual dislike, anger or hate toward others...and even add empathy and respect for those we don’t understand. And we all need to remember to take care of ourselves. I’m so glad Ms. Kaur wrote this book!

Love is dangerous....If you choose to see no stranger, then you must love people, even when they do not love you. p13

There you have it. Valerie Kaur does not mess around but reaches deep in to the heart of the matters that concern us all. If war is not the answer, why is it that peace is so difficult to establish and maintain? What can we do? "We become what we practice" Valerie has observed, and as it happens she has done plenty. "The norms and institutions of this world are not inevitable but
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was on maternity leave in Hong Kong bonding with my newly adopted toddler daughter during the winter of 2016 when I first encountered the work of civil rights activist Valarie Kaur. This period of time, you may recall, was a particularly interesting one to be an American diplomat overseas, as our presidential election results had just shocked the world; it was also an interesting time to find my footing as the single mother of a child of a different ethnicity - and U.S. immigration status - th ...more
Hillary Watson
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I feel almost silly giving this book 5 stars, how could I possibly express the worth of this book with such a simple rating system?

I loved every page of this book. The author has truly discovered something amazing in her process of revolutionary love. "You are a part of me that I do not yet know". For so much of my life, I have been oblivious to parts of the world that I do not yet know. I am grateful to the author for opening her world to me and introducing a new perspective. This book has bee
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would highly recommend this book. The only reason it is not 5 is due every so often I would lose connection to her writing style. However, that does not really affect that this book really stretched me by giving me ideas to think about that I had not previously considered, a glimpse into a faith that I knew nothing about, and a wake up to historical events in our country and their ramifications.

Valarie Kaur is smart, impressive, bold, brave, and unbelievably kind and loving. I have been great
Natalie Park
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
A powerful read, part memoir and part guide of how to deal with hurt, trauma, anger and rage along with finding the way to seeing others who have harmed us with love, understanding and as part of our own family. Definitely a tough idea in this heated time of social justice issues taking center stage and seeing all the ugliness that still exists. It’s work that will last a lifetime.
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading. What do I say? The country is a mess. But some of us know we have to be part of the healing. If this sounds like you, read this book!
Abigail Bok
Sep 03, 2021 rated it liked it
This memoir-cum-call to action is extraordinarily timely but I have mixed feelings about it.

Valarie Kaur is a Sikh American who grew up on a farm in California’s Central Valley, went to divinity school, went to law school, and has devoted much of her life to serving social justice causes in a variety of ways. Her memoir tells a lot about practitioners of this little-known (in America) religion as well as illuminating what day-to-day life is like for a misunderstood minority group. It kept me bot
Annie Rose
Aug 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
an impressive story of activism. thank you for your teachings kaur!
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, feminist
Exceptional; life-giving.
“The future is dark. But what if this darkness is not our tomb, but our womb?”

I absolutely loved this book. I had no idea what or who it was about when I started it, but Valarie Kaur’s story covers so much. Sikh-American communities, 9/11, the anti-war movement, intergenerational trauma, divine rage, hate violence and state violence, self-doubt and love for self, naming white supremacy, reimagining the criminal justice system, healing from sexual assault, the injustice of Guantanamo Bay, the rol
Trevor Gardner
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am a person who leads with my head; I find comfort in the intellectual and academic realms of the struggle for justice. To a fault.

But in See No Stranger, Valarie Kaur cuts straight to the heart and the body – specifically, the womb – as the foundation for her framework of revolutionary love as the sword and the shield needed to stay in the work of fighting for a better world. Through her deeply honest and beautiful storytelling, I found myself letting go of what I was thinking and effortless
Anwaar J
Aug 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book, stories, and messages. I recommend listening to the audio version for the full experience. My main takeaways are that love will always be stronger than hate and wondering about others will shorten the divide between us and them. Only if we wonder will we be able to ‘see no stranger’.
Dana DesJardins
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Famous for asking if the darkness under the Trump administration was that of the tomb or the womb, Valarie Kaur anchors her activism in the Sikh faith and daily acts of kindness like deep listening. "In any given moment, each of us has a role in the labor of revolutionary love." Kaur created a healing approach to advocacy through personal pain and immense witness. She is equally adept at showing up with a megaphone or a legal precedent, having prosecuted a case at Guantanamo, pioneered policing ...more
Content Sabina
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wrote her a love letter on my medium page - Sabina Writes. She’s incredible. This manifesto is beautiful and it makes me proud to be Punjabi. To think of love as an act of defiance in times of abject hate reclaims the value and healing that is so desperate to be stolen. What can they do if you choose not to hate in return, but instead wonder about them? Not just telling, Valarie shows how this is possible and provides examples of her own life. I’ve admired her for years, and now I will forever ...more
Lauren Mueller
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Certain, few books have the power of returning me to myself and this was one of them. A powerful, practically memoir reminding me that rage and joy, wonder and doubt can all live side by side on the journey of love. I couldn’t recommend this book more!
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: susie
Heartfelt and inspirational. I sort of wish it had been two separate books: a memoir and a manifesto.
Laura Kisthardt
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
CW: sexual assault, gun violence
I really didn’t know what to expect going into this book. I was only a little bit familiar with Valarie Kaur’s story and her work as a Sikh activist. I really enjoyed learning about her activism and the path she has taken to her Revolutionary Love Project.
I especially recommend listening to this book on audio as Kaur reads it herself, sings the chants several times throughout the book, and concludes the audiobook with several Sikh Shabads.
It was challenging to l
Shikha Lamba
Nov 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I honestly did not know what to expect when I bought this book. I based my decision solely on a recommendation by @desibookaunty (follow her to expand your reading).
This book is brilliantly brave just like the author. I never expected parts of it to hit home the way that they did.
You do not have to be Sikh to gain from the essence of the book, you don’t even have to be Indian. Though, having these words written by a Sikh woman for me made them even more special and more effective.
In embracing
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Valarie Kaur is an American activist, documentary filmmaker, lawyer, educator, and faith leader.

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The new year has arrived. The clock has been reset. Now is the time to tackle the really ambitious reading challenges–those massive books that...
48 likes · 27 comments
“Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear. When I really want to hear another person's story, I try to leave my preconceptions at the door and draw close to their telling. I am always partially listening to the thoughts in my own head when others are speaking, so I consciously quiet my thoughts and begin to listen with my senses. Empathy is cognitive and emotional—to inhabit another person's view of the world is to feel the world with them. But I also know that it's okay if I don't feel very much for them at all. I just need to feel safe enough to stay curious. The most critical part of listening is asking what is at stake for the other person. I try to understand what matters to them, not what I think matters. Sometimes I start to lose myself in their story. As soon as I notice feeling unmoored, I try to pull myself back into my body, like returning home. As Hannah Arendt says, 'One trains one's imagination to go visiting.' When the story is done, we must return to our skin, our own worldview, and notice how we have been changed by our visit. So I ask myself, What is this story demanding of me? What will I do now that I know this?” 9 likes
“You don't need to know people in order to grieve with them. You grieve with them in order to know them.” 7 likes
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