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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

5 Star Review - Claudette Sutton's "Farewell, Aleppo"

5 Star Review:

This story is incredibly moving. I was touched by Aleppo when scrolling through social media earlier in the year. The destruction depicted in the photographs stopped me in my tracks. Several months later, I learned of Claudette Sutton’s “Farewell Aleppo” and I was immediately drawn in.

While reading “Farewell Aleppo” I often had to pause. Such beauty and love intertwined with hardship and sorrow needs to be taken in slowly. Sometimes I had to read a section twice (not because it was difficult to read, but because I was overcome with emotion). I savored each page. Each unique story left me forever changed.

I am forever thankful to Claudette Sutton for sharing the story of her father and her people. Beautifully written, eye opening, and quite moving.

About the Book:

The Jews of Aleppo, Syria, had been part of the city’s fabric for more than two thousand years, in good times and bad, through conquerors and kings. But in the middle years of the twentieth century, all that changed.

To Selim Sutton, a merchant with centuries of roots in the Syrian soil, the dangers of rising anti-Semitism made clear that his family must find a new home. With several young children and no prospect of securing visas to the United States, he devised a savvy plan for getting his family out: “exporting” his sons. In December 1940, he told the two oldest, Meïr and Saleh, that arrangements had been made for their transit to Shanghai, where they would work in an uncle’s export business. China, he hoped, would provide a short-term safe harbor and a steppingstone to America.

But the world intervened for the young men, now renamed Mike and Sal by their Uncle Joe. Sal became ill with tuberculosis soon after arriving and was sent back to Aleppo alone. And the war that soon would engulf every inhabited land loomed closer each day. Joe, Syrian-born but a naturalized American citizen, barely escaped on the last ship to sail for the U.S. before Pearl Harbor was bombed and the Japanese seized Shanghai. Mike was alone, a teen-ager in an occupied city, across the world from his family, with only his mettle to rely on as he strived to survive personally and economically in the face of increasing deprivation.

Farewell, Aleppo is the story—told by his daughter—of the journey that would ultimately take him from the insular Jewish community of Aleppo to the solitary task of building a new life in America. It is both her father’s tale that journalist Claudette Sutton describes and also the harrowing experiences of the family members he left behind in Syria, forced to smuggle themselves out of the country after it closed its borders to Jewish emigration.

The picture Sutton paints is both a poignant narrative of individual lives and the broader canvas of a people’s survival over millennia, in their native land and far away, through the strength of their faith and their communities. Multiple threads come richly together as she observes their world from inside and outside the fold, shares an important and nearly forgotten epoch of Jewish history, and explores universal questions of identity, family, and culture.

Paperback: 180 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (October 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1938288408
ISBN-13: 978-1938288401

Farewell, Aleppo: My Father, My People, and Their Long Journey Home is available in ebook and in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.


"A multi-faceted biography of her father and his long-ago journey from ancient Aleppo to skyscraper America, the story of the vanished Syrian-Jewish culture in Aleppo, now a battleground in Syria's civil war, [and] a look at how that culture still survives. A treasure of a book."
-Bernard Kalb, former correspondent for the New York Times, CBS News and NBC News, moderator of CNN's Reliable Sources and Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs

"Sutton merges the best of family biography with relevant and fascinating historical, social, and religious knowledge. Incorporating elements of history, religious struggles, pursuit of dreams, and the strength of kinship to create a stirring tribute to the foresight of her grandfather and the strength and perseverance of his offspring, Sutton craftily weaves interesting story lines into an encouraging and intriguing narrative."
-Foreword Reviews

Claudette Sutton takes the reader on a courageous journey as she tells the story of her father, whose world changed with the winds of World War II. Farewell, Aleppo is a story of how people are shaped by their past. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to explore this rich culture that many people do not know very much about.
- Elise Cooper, Jewish Book Council

An engaging, evocative, deeply touching book that is part memoir, part history and part a personal journey....virtually a love-story of a daughter to a father.
– James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer, and Eyes on the Struggle

About the Author:

It’s no coincidence that family is the central focus of both Farewell, Aleppo and the work that has been the driving force of its author’s professional life.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in the close-knit community of Syrian Jews all were part of Claudette Sutton’s childhood in suburban Maryland, along with her parents and siblings. Years later, as a young mother in Santa Fe, it seemed only natural to think of creating a similar kind of close support for families in her new hometown by means of her journalism training and experience.

Thus began what is now Tumbleweeds, an award-winning local publication that for over twenty years has been expanding its role in serving the city’s families. As the quarterly newspaper has grown, so have its scope and community contributions, mixing news, commentary, personal writing, advice, and activity guides—all reflecting Claudette’s vision of a community resource to help her neighbors face the challenges of parenting.

Claudette’s eloquent writing, the other great strength she combines with the paper’s wide-ranging utility, has been a door to the world for her since she was a teen-ager. As a reporter, she realized early, “You can learn about everything”—a much more appealing option after high school than the enforced specialization of college.

After three years writing for the Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland, Claudette moved to New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree from the New School for Social Research. Living in proximity to another side of her extensive family, she built a deeper understanding of the Jewish exodus from Syria that has formed the backdrop for the story she tells so movingly in Farewell, Aleppo.

The narrative chronicles her father’s youth, his odyssey across oceans and continents, and the new life he made in America. But as Claudette talked with him and researched more deeply, she saw also the essential elements of the larger tale. What began as one man’s story grew into a portrait of the history that made his journey necessary, and of how a vibrant people have preserved their community and culture through the thousands of years from biblical times to today.

Find Claudette Online:


Twitter: @FarewellAleppo



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----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday October 23rd @ WOW! Women on Writing
Interview & Giveaway

Tuesday, October 24th (today) @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal J. Casavant-Otto
Crystal J. Casavant-Otto from WOW! shares her thoughts after reading Farewell, Aleppo by Claudette Sutton. Don't miss this engaging and enlightening book blog stop!

Wednesday, October 25th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Madeline Sharples reads and reviews Farewell, Aleppo by Claudette Sutton and shares her insight and thoughts with readers at Choices.

Thursday, October 26th @ Jerry Waxler
Readers of Jerry Waxler's memoir blog will enjoy reading Jerry's deep thoughts as he reviews Farewell, Aleppo by Claudette Sutton.

Friday, October 27th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley Baird reviews and shares her thoughts after reading the moving story Farewell, Aleppo by Claudette Sutton. Don't miss this book blog stop.

Friday, October 27th @ Lisa Haselton
Lisa Haselton interviews Claudette Sutton about her acclaimed book, Farewell, Aleppo.

Monday, October 30th @ CMash Loves to Read
Today's guest blogger at CMash Loves to Read is none other than Claudette E. Sutton. Hear from her  and learn more about her book Farewell, Aleppo.

Friday, November 3rd @ Janese Dixon
Don't miss today's author spotlight at Janese Dixon's blog - the author is none other than Claudette E. Sutton. Readers can learn more about Sutton and her beautifully written tale: Farewell, Aleppo: My Father, My People, and Their Long Journey Home.

Tuesday, November 7th @ Coming Down the Mountain
Karen Jones Gowen reviews "Farewell Aleppo" by Claudette Sutton. Don't miss Gowen's insight after reading this touching true story.

Wednesday, November 8th @ Bring on Lemons with Eric Trant
Fellow Author Eric Trant reviews “Farewell, Aleppo” by Claudette Sutton. Don't miss Eric's insight and thoughts about this touching story.

Thursday, November 9th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey with Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler of Memoir Writer's Journey shares her deep thoughts after reading and reviewing Farewell, Aleppo by Claudette Sutton.

Friday, November 10th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Linda Appleman Shapiro reviews Claudette Suttons Farewell, Aleppo and shares her insight and thoughts with readers at her blog!

About Today's Reviewer:
Crystal is a council secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, five young children (Carmen 10, Andre 9, Breccan 4, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora, two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!