Customer Reviews for

Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town

Average Rating 4
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 4
  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Outcasts United

    We are always encountered with media spewing forth details of incidents where people's lives have been torn apart due to war, famines, riots or other similar disasters, but seldom do we come across to what happens to those who pass through these incidents and live on. How life changes for them, and how they adapt to newer surroundings. Outcsasts United is a small glimpse into such a realm.

    The book is primarily situated in Clarkston, a small city close to Atlanta. Clarkston became a refugee settlement centre during the 1990's. Formerly, Clarkston was a stereotypical small town in America. Hence, for the refugees and the town inhabitants, the collision between the cultures erupting into a struggle for their identities is the central theme of the book.

    The protagonist is Luma Mufleh, a young Jordanian woman from a well-to-do family and finishes ger education in USA. She arrived in Decatur(a neighboring town) and during one of her shopping trips, she stumbled upon a group of young refugees playing football in Clarkston. This leads her to create a small football program in town.

    Each player in the book has their own distinct background, which is explained in great detail. After going across these disparities, it is not hard for one to understand the distrust between refugee communities and their hosts.

    Mufleh acts as a mother, friend, translator and mentor to the children and their families. A set of rules was drawn up that all players were expected to adhere to. Disobediences brought exclusion from the team. Having little experience of coaching, she learns from her mistakes. She committed herself to the teams and expected the same in return.

    The central theme of the book is the way that football unites a group of different people, from completely different backgrounds. Regardless of color, creed or any other denominator, all are welcomed. It is a simple story of how one human can inspire others, and how that helps others to escape whatever domestic ills they might have experienced. The narrative is from the coach's perspective with the children providing a nice counterbalance along the way.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    Melodypond will.....

    Make a better bio someday!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Nakita, Shani, and Blade

    Name: Nakita

    Rank: Lieutenant

    Gender: Female

    Age: 17 moons

    Animal: Half husky, half red wolf

    Appearance: Nakita, like the wolf side of her family, has reddish brown fur, with a white underbelly, one black front paw, and dazzling indigo eyes

    Personality: Cheerful, Calm, Kind, Gentle, Loyal, Generous, Honest, Trustworthy, Caring, yet Fierce, Brave, Couragous, and Willing to Lay Down her Life

    Crush: None

    Mate: None

    Pups: -_- What do you think?

    Kin: Niagara ((mother, dead)), Red ((father, missing)), and Kodi ((brother, missing))

    History: Good luck trying to get her to tell you!

    Theme Song: Missing by Evanescence ((seriously listen to that song it's awesome))

    Quote ((from her theme song)): "Please, please forgive me, but I won't be home again. Maybe someday you'll look up... and barely concious you'll say to no one, isn't something missing? You won't cry for my absence I know, you forgot me long ago! Am I that unimportant? Am I so insignifigant?! Isn't something missing? Isn't someone missing me?"

    Other: She has abnormally large paws, which give her the upper hand in battle

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Name: Shani ((which means "wonder" in Swahili))

    Rank: Fighter

    Gender: Female

    Age: Unknown

    Animal: Lioness

    Appearance: A golden brown lioness with darker brown flecks, relatively large ears, and sapphire blue eyes. A thick scar slices her muzzle, and another parts the fur on her shoulder

    Personality: Shy, Kind, Caring, Gentle, Smart, Normally Cheerful, Reassuring, and Trustworthy, but she has a heartbroken side that she rarely shows to anyone

    Crush: Spark... I'll cheerfully shred your ears if you tell him, though!

    Mate: None

    Cubs: None

    Kin: Doesn't speak much of them

    History: ASK HER AT YOUR OWNR RISK OF BEING DROWNED BY TEARS

    Theme Song: Bleed (I must be dreaming) by Evanescence

    Quote ((it's from the theme song)): "We all live and we all die, but that does not begin to justify you! It's not what it seems, not what you think. NO, I must be dreaming! It's only in my mind, not the real life. NO, I must be dreaming...!"

    Other: Nothing much


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Name: Blade

    Rank: Fighter ((I think))

    Gender: Male

    Age: 11 moons

    Animal: Cat

    Appearance: A jet black tom with a white chest, white tailtip, and emerald green eyes. He has a V-shaped nick in his right ear, and a large scar runs from the right side of his left eye to his jaw

    Personality: Quiet, Brave, Reckless, Couragous, Agressive, and Unpredictable, though he has a softer side...

    Crush: Flutter, it's kinda obvious

    Mate: None

    Kits: None

    Kin: Onyx ((father, dead)), Thornheart ((mother)), and Silverwing ((sister, missing))

    History: Will not tell just anyone

    Theme Song: Numb by Linkin Park

    Quote ((from the theme song)): "I'm tired of being what you want me to be, feeling so faithless, lost under the surface. Don't know what you're expecting of me, put under the pressure of walking in your shoes! (Caught in the undertow, just caught im the undertow) Every step that is another mistake to you...! I've become so numb, I can't feel you there, become so tired, so much more aware! I'm becoming this, all I want to do is be more like ME and be less like YOU!"

    Other: He hates what he has become

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    Glimmer

    Name: Glimmer that Shines at Twilight
    Gender: Female
    Rank: Leader
    Age: 30 moons
    Species: Tigress
    Looks: Pale pink tigress with silver stripes, paws, and tailtip. Her eyes are iceblue, tinged with lavender. Her left ear is torn. She has purewhite wings, rimmed with gold, that are a foxlength long.
    Personality: Talk to her! She won't mind
    Crush: None
    Mate: Raven(quit rp)
    Kits: Melody of Spring Nightingale, Sleet that Pelts Against Mountain, Flutter of Songbird's Wings, and Ashen Sky
    Other: Nothing much

    Name: Spark that Flies in Fire
    Gender: Dude
    Age: 30 moons
    Rank: Fighter
    Species: Lion
    Looks: Pitch black, with red flecks and tailtip, and pale orange and yellow wings. His eyes are amber
    Personality: Relaxed, laidback, and loyal, quick to make friends and slow to judge. Horrible when it comes to girls.
    Crush: Shani
    Mate: None
    Kits: None
    Other: Ask me!

    Name: Flutter of Songbird's Wings
    Gender: Female
    Age: 14 moons
    Rank: Fighter
    Species: I dunno, you tell me
    Looks: Her tail is large and fluffy. Her tailtip is a translucent golden color, just like her paws, which are abnormally large. Her fur is light purple, while her eyes are pale indigo, almost purplish. Pale blue wings are folded at her sides
    Personality: Quiet and shy, doesn't talk much
    Crush: Umm…
    Mate: None
    Kits: None
    Other: Nothing much

    Name: Sleet that Crashes Against Mountain
    Gender: Dude
    Age: 14 moons
    Rank: Fighter
    Species: I dunno, looks like a tiger without stripes
    Looks: Purewhite fur with a silvery glow, vibrant blue eyes, pale silver paws and tailtip, and fluffy fur.
    Personality: See Spark
    Crush: None
    Mate: None
    Kits: None
    Other: Nothing

    Name: Melody of Spring Nightingale
    Gender: Female
    Age: 14 moons
    Rank: Healer
    Species: Cat-ish?
    Looks: Pinkish purple fur with golden specks, short, fluffy tail, pale golden paws
    Personality: Talk to me!
    Crush: None
    Mate: None
    Kits: None
    Other: Nothing

    Name: Ashen Sky
    Gender: Female
    Age: 14 moons
    Rank: Fighter
    Species: Tigress
    Looks: Grayish fur with pale blue and purple stripes, green eyes, and a white blaze on her chest.
    Personality: Loud, proud, confident, quick to make friends and stand up for anyone.
    Crush: None, I don't care about guys.
    Mate: None
    Kits: None
    Other: Seriously, nothing!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Book from the Past Still Resonates Today

    Although this book takes place in the '90s, its subject matter clearly resonates even today. For soccer and sociology fans.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    A pretty good read

    This book is a very quick read with a great mesaage. Coach Luma is a very inspiring individual with a heart for refugees. I ejiyed reading about her journey with the team andthe incredible mission she is trying to accomplish. However i was not exactly a fan of the way the author portrayed the town. I feel like it was slightly jaded and made them look unwelcoming and i am very sure this was untrue of thebtown as a whole. As a whole the book is very inspiring. Go Fugees!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 30, 2011

    I Am Officially Now A Fugee Fan

    I was encouraged to turn the page with anticipation throughout this inspiring true story of the Fugees and the coach who taught them the values of team work and self-discipline. The author, Warren St. John, brings the story to life with his simple yet realistic vocabulary, making me want to stand up and cheer whether it be during a soccer game or a heartwarming moment between Coach Luma and her fellow teammates. I especially enjoyed the moments where Luma failed to hide her emotions because she tried to give off such a tough attitude; but, just like a chocolate bon bon, she's a softie.
    It was hard taking in the obstacles that Coach Luma and the Fugees had to face: the bitterness and discrimination from white residents and differing races, the limited resources in order to escape from their troubles, and wanting to be accepted by society. But Luma was not willing to give up, and as long as she kept fighting for what was rightfully fair, the Fugees had something to hope for.
    I am still upset with the way the community over-reacted after seeing a team made up of child immigrants, play soccer. The city council should be fired immediately and replaced by people who actually believe in equal rights. Don't get me started with Officer Jordan, who was caught on tape committing police brutality on an African American.
    By the time I finished this book, it made me think about pursuing the dreams and the goals I have always wanted to achieve because I could relate to the team during a certain game in the book where they said that it was up to them if they wanted to win, "Its not the coach who's playing the game, we are". The way the Fugees grew from underdog status to rising stars is always something to look up to because they got what they deserved and more. What started out as a team, turned out to be a family of different cultures and backgrounds.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    So Great---Couldn't Put it Down!

    This book was amazing! It provided such insight, but it was so well written. It made me not want to put it down. I had to read this for school, but I would definitely read it again! Such an inspiring story! Do yourself a favor and go buy this book! It's amazing. You will not regret it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Fascinating, but the length detracts from message.

    The strong message that I got from reading this book about acceptance and selflessness and involvement was clouded and diminished because of the length of the book and its lack of focus on that crucial point. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since this is obviously the way the author chose to write the book, and since it gave a rare and much-needed look into the lives of these immigrants, but the book would have been much more effective and much more relatable to a larger number of people (could have kept their interest)if it were perhaps a long article, without all of the anecdotal information about the kids and their families.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2011

    highly recommended

    I bought this book following my son's freshman orientation in Minnesota. The university staff told us that the book would be required reading for the students and encouraged all of us, parents as well as students, to read the book. I'm glad I did.

    As the other reviewers will tell you, this is a story about three soccoer teams (sorted by age group) made up of refugees from many war torn countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa and the work of a female Jordanian coach doing extraordinary (though she might not consider it so) work with the help of people she comes in contact with to raise the spirits, expectations, and hopes of the boys who stick it out in her soccer and tutoring program. But the story isn't just about the team or the coach or soccer. It's also about America, becoming American, and the politics of an evolving American community affected by immigration.

    The story made me think alot about how we Americans treat each other, what life must have been like for our ancestors as they came to this new land and as later immigrants joined them in later generations. This book was well worth reading and perhaps even re-reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 15, 2011

    outcasts united

    i love the book i judt got it and its great

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2011

    outcasts united

    Outcasts united is a truly amazing book. it brings you into the life of a refugee.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    An image of the changing South

    This is an interesting story, set in suburban Atlanta, that gets at two social/political issues - the crisis of displaced families, a crisis that is always present with changing locations, and the inner conflict in the US South between a parochial old guard that is not trusting or accepting of outsiders (while still maintaining an air of "Southern Hospitality") and a newer generation that is more homogenous in relation to the rest of the country, particularly when viewed through the lens of "soccer parents". The contrast between the "haves" and the "have nots", while not surprising, is certainly striking.

    This story will make you angry many times. There is an interesting portion where St. John becomes part of the story, where the reader is forced to realize just how difficult it can be even in the small things to make the kinds of transitions the refugees are trying to make.

    If you're getting it because you think this is a soccer book, you are mistaken. I still would suggest reading it, but the soccer is just the thread that links the various stories together. You still should read it, particularly if you are a player. The contrasts between soccer and life; haves and have nots; privileged and under-privileged; provide a framework for understanding your teammates, opponents, coaches, and parents.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Even though it is the book of San Diego this year, read it .....

    I initially began this book because of One Book San Diego and my book club selected it. THEN I ended up reading excerpts to my 10 grade writing classes and now the book is out there with my students. Not only do I care for each person portrayed, I learned so much about the backgrounds which have 'been in the news' but have no true faces. I can't give this enough praise. Read it even though someone else you don't know recommends it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    Too Technical

    I continued reading the book because I have agreed to lead the discussion for my book group otherwise I might have set it aside. If one is interested in the complex and convuluted history of Africa and other 3rd world countries it was useful. If one is interested in the technical aspects of playing soccer it might have been engaging. I found it to be a journalist's work without "punch". If it had stuck to the main story more and less about the background, it might have held my interest longer.

    I admire the coach and her total devotion to her players. I learned a lot about resettlment communities and the effects of immigrants on the local social structures. That part is a lesson in modern day immigration impacts that is importatnt for citizens all over this country.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Outcasts United- One for all and all for one!!

    It is the story of a team which comprised of boys who hailed from Congo, Afganisthan and other countries whose families were selected by UNHCR for resettlement, of a town which was chosen as the home for these refugees and a coach who separated from her family, worked rigorously to maintain her soccer team. Outcasts United is a book which presents the plethora of challenges that people would have to encounter in a new community, a community where people have so little in common. It is also about how people adjust to these difficult situations and strive to make a difference in the society. Let us delve into the world of Outcasts United-The team, The town and The coach.
    Fugees was the name of the team that comprised of boys who were refugees from numerous countries across Asia and Africa. They arrived with their families which were selected for resettlement in a small town outside Atlanta called Clarkston. They were poverty-stricken and devoid of any basic necessities for survival and thus received financial assistance from the government for three months before they could find jobs and make a living of their own. The children suffered the most-they were outcasts at school and at the same time experienced the numerous difficulties of getting caught between cultures which in this case are the their native culture and the American culture. Although they loved soccer, they had no place to play or no equipment necessary equipment .Their future was dim until coach Luma, who watched the boys play in the parking lot of an apartment complex, decided to start a refugee football team called the Fugees. From then, it was success all along.Although the team experienced a lot of problems, they did not still their intransient passion for the game which helped them compete against some of the league's best teams and emerge victorious. One would marvel at the unalterable determination of these boys who despite cultural barriers strived rigorously to satiate their passion for the game.
    Luma Mefleh was a Jordanian-born daughter of a business man. She was graduate of Smith College and decided to settle and make a living in the USA. Most importantly, she was also a coach of the refugees, the football team comprised of the refugee. Not only was she a stringent coach but also was a soft-hearted person who spent time with the boy's families and helped them adjust to their new homes. Even though Luma had previous experiences as a coach, she faced many problems. She had to fight to find an appropriate place for the team in a town where soccer was a relatively new game. Apart from this, she also faced the added responsibility of managing a team which comprised of boys from various countries who did not know the importance of team effort in a game like soccer. t is inspiring to read about a female soccer coach, who separated from her family, goes against a league dominated by male coaches and attempts to emerge victorious.
    The remaining element of the story is the town, a town where a large group of refugees have been congregated so that they could live a peaceful life that is devoid of any hardships that they had experienced back in their home towns. While many small towns around Atlanta had been swallowed by the growing development, Clarkston had proudly maintained its independence.
    It is exciting to read how these different elements react in a story which depicts life and reality.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2009

    Outcasts United-the story of one team, in one town, but with issues that have global impacts.

    A fast paced modern day chronicle following the lives of various individuals from different walks of life, and the ability (or inability, at times)of a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia to deal with the immense magnitude of change it has underwent-is what broadly defines Warren St John's book, Outcasts United.It is best to refer to his work as "a book" in general terms because it encompasses many different literary adaptations in telling the story of the "fugees". St John's narrative style shifts from biographical to chronicle as the story progresses. The book adopts a biographical tone primarily in describing the various stages of the life of coach Luma. From her early days under the shield of her wealthy Jordanian family, to her eventual disconnection with them following her decision to stay in the United States due to the liberalized atmosphere and attitude towards women, St John offers to the readers a back story to which so many parallels can be drawn as the story progresses. St John highlights the emotional and even financial sacrifices she makes in order to stay in the United States-she is determined to succeed and do whatever it takes to make it in America without her family's support (following her decision not to return to Jordan). In many ways, this foreshadows some events to come later in the story, where she would come across other young refugees, who come from much more desperate situations, but in the end also have the same goal-to achieve, survive, and succeed. As many critics agree, this chronicle is the product of passionate authorship and "a heartwarming tale about transformations that occur when our disparate lives connect." [Ishmael Beah].
    The latter majority of the book details how Luma and the Fugees are united by a common sport-regardless of their race, creed, color, religion or ethnicity. However, as the audience will soon find out, there is one more dynamic to consider-the town of Clarkston, Georgia. What really makes St John's chronicle memorable is his account of what happens not only when Luma meets the kids, thus leading to the birth of the Fugees, but also, the ability of a small previously homogenous all American town to accept the magnitude of diversity they were faced with.Through various direct, and even subtle ways-St John manages to cover many angles of the interesting story, managing to stay informative, yet engaging. He does so primarily by "cross cutting" to different stories so as not to make the reading "linear" and static, but dynamic. In this way, the readers are not given the whole account of one person's story at a time, but rather different accounts of different events in the children's and Luma's lives in pieces. There are instances where the book begins to have some repetition. For example,St John gives a play by play commentary of some of the games, which from a readers perspective, is best fitted for movies not books, and slows down the reading slightly.But more importantly, this detracts from the main idea of the story, the main focus-on how Fugees struggle against tyranny individually,then work and face obstacles together upon coming to America. The book does end differently from traditional novels however. Unlike most books, this account has an irresolute ending. There is no definite solution, and this is not a lapse on St John's part, as the struggles of the fugees and Clarkston as a whole still continue.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2009

    Outcasts United- and when they say united they mean it.

    It is hard to imagine that so many miles away, there is so much despair and tragedy but this book shines a light on a different world that everyone needs to be aware. The stories of the individual refugees and their families are a focus and in each there are captivating experiences that kept me on the edge of my seat. Perhaps the most interesting story was that of Coach Luma, the leader of this amazing soccer team. Her struggles and triumphs are conveyed and the reader feels as they are along for the ride. She makes grand efforts to bring her team together and makes incredible sacrifices. The fact that all the boys on the team are from many different countries and have unique dialects also add to the challenge but their love of the sport drives them to push hard and aim for their goals. The author does a wonderful job of portraying the boys as individuals all overcoming their unique struggles in a new world. The city where this all occurs, Clarkston, GA, is also a feature in the book and we see the history as well as the present and future of the town and how the newcomers are affecting the already existent citizens. Throughout the whole book there are emotions of despair, difficulty, tragedy, sadness, but also joy, happiness, and success. The determination is prevalent and the reader feels proud of the boys and almost adopts them as their own. Outcasts united speaks to a wide array of audiences and not only do the boys in the book try to overcome their differences and unite but the readers also feel a sense of community once finished with their story.
    The book delves into the complex issues of community, acceptance, and freedom. The way the refugees are treated by the older citizens of the city seems almost appalling but from their view, they are worried about encroachment on their values. With the coming of the refugees, other consequences are exposed such as crime, violence, gang membership and even hostel shootings. There are dangers, most Americans do not have to worry about, that are commonly present every day. All the refugees face terror and discrimination and the new language barrier is enough to try and handle. Confusion and mistreatment go hand in hand and the author depicts the harsh occurrences that make the struggle for the boys like a journey to escape their naturally expected future. The boys face threats and temptations to succumb to the reckless activities of other boys in the community but through the aid of the soccer team, there is the reason to stay focused and stay off the streets. Practices and tough schedules keep them busy and preoccupied so as not to get swept up in the mayhem of the town.
    The fate of the boys is almost resting in the hands of their coach as she tries to help them with their studies as well as their family lives. She reaches out to the refugee community in an effort to help get dedicated players who will honor and respect her commitment by matching it with theirs on and off the field. She is extremely tough but always fair and sets a standard that strives for perfection and utmost perseverance. She wants to make sure she has the players that will not only bring success but pride to the name Fugees. She is the glue that holds these boys together and the author is sure to include all the events that highlight her hard exterior but also included are points where you know she is full of raw emotion and compassion for these refugee boys.
    F

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2009

    Insights from Outcasts United

    In the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia lies a small suburban town called Clarkston. Filled with a curious mixture of old churches and international hole-in-the-wall shops, it causes one to look twice. Just like the rail line that splits the circular city boundaries in half, there is an unseen conflict between two cultural worldviews-the white populace ingrained in the model suburban American life, and an influx of refugees from points scattered around the globe.
    After growing up in the midst of this turmoil, I am somewhat accustomed to it-but my experience had never been put in words. Warren St. John has taken Clarkston's situation-as well as the cities across the world experiencing the influx of refugees-and presented it for the world to see. Following the Fugees soccer team through a season of turmoil, conflict, and joy, Warren St. John pieces together the underlying threads of the history of the Fugees-from family members being imprisoned or killed, to their journey to Clarkston. He also presents the background of Clarkston, and how it's placement at the far end of Atlanta's public transit system and cheap housing made it the candidate for the refugees to live. Then, the clash begins, as worlds collide and both Clarkston and the refugees quizzically investigate one another, trying to grasp why the other acts the way they do.
    This book is an invaluable tool and resource, as with all of history, there are lessons to be learned from our past experiences to be applied to future interactions. How can this book be applicable to the reader's life? Though there are, for certain, individuals who are directly impacted by the issues surrounding refugee resettlement-whether they are living in the "Clarkstons" of the world, or the refugees themselves-this book contains rich insights into much less extreme situations that we all encounter in our daily routine. How do we, as individuals, connect with those around us, who may have vastly different cultural backgrounds? In Outcasts United, Warren St. John finds the connection amongst the refugees in Clarkston to be soccer. Despite their cultural barrier, not to mention their language barrier, the refugees in Clarkston are able to embrace their common ground with the help of their coach, Luma Mufleh. Does this common ground allow them to unite? Not always. There is a choice that must be made-a choice not to abandon who they are, but a choice to serve the rest of the team.
    It would be a shame that the complex cultural backgrounds of society would be lost-while it would potentially be easier, the world would lose the richness of cultures that balance each other out. For example, imagine the cultures of the world as the ingredients of a cake made from scratch. The cake would never exist unless each part was included-if all the cake was flour, it would be a tasteless mess indeed! Each ingredient must exist for the flavor to come out. However, we as members of various cultures, have a choice. If we refuse to mix, but rather stay in our own cluster with the rest of our kind, the cake will fail as well. The reason the Fugees soccer team ever held together was that Coach Luma stipulated that those who were a part of the team went by her orders-one of which was to mix up the players. However, even Luma's strong leadership cannot hold together her Under 15 team-the choice to succeed must be made at the individual level.
    Warren St. John's book brings this challenge to its readers-will we, like Luma, like th

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2009

    Beautiful story

    I loved this book. The author includes stories about several of the boys, and background on the country and conflict from which they came. I have never considered refugees in this country and their plight. Makes me want to get involved and volunteer.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 4