Back in America

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July 6, 2020  

Cecilia Birge - Anti-Asian racism during the Pandemic - Growing-up in Chinese Labor Camp - Student on Tiananmen Square protests

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While President Trump has been calling the Coronavirus the Chinese virus and while the US is facing unprecedented protests against police violence and racial discrimination, Back in America is examining how these events have affected the Chinese Community.

In this episode, I speak with Cecilia Birge a former Montgomery, NJ mayor, a form bond analyst on Wall Street, now a head coach and a member of the Princeton High School Speech and Debate Team.
Cecilia shares her experience organizing fundraising with the Chinese community to help local first responders.
For us, she revisits her childhood in Chineses labor camps. As a student in Bejing during the Tiananmen Protests, she talks of her fear at the time and the turmoil in the city.
Today America is her home and the way she talks about this country and understands it help us see America in a different light. 

Transcript

 

June 18, 2020  
June 4, 2020  

Part 1 - Mark Charles - Native American 2020 candidate Asks does ‘We The People’ includes everybody?

 

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Transcript

Part 1/2

I am Stan Berteloot and this is Back in America, a podcast where I explore American's identity, culture, and values.

My guest today is a candidate running as an independent for president of the United States. A man who's not white, not black but a dual citizen of The United States and The Navajo Nation.

For three years he lived with his family in a one-room hogan with no running water or electricity out in a Navajo reservation. He dreams of a nation where 'we the people' truly means 'all the people'.

Yet as we prepare to celebrate Memorial day he reminds us of the “ethnic cleansing and genocide” the United States carried against the indigenous peoples of this land.

Welcome to Back in America Mark Charles.

 

Transcript

 

Books and Movie Recommendation

Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery
by Steven Newcomb 

Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery
by Mark Charles, Soong-Chan Rah

Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action (2005)
Director: Roberta Grossman

Somebody's Daughter by Rain 

 

June 4, 2020  

Part 2 - Mark Charles - Native American 2020 candidate Wants ‘We The People’ to Mean ‘All The people’

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Part 2/2

I am Stan Berteloot and this is Back in America, a podcast where I explore American's identity, culture, and values.

My guest today is a candidate running as an independent for president of the United States. A man who's not white, not black but a dual citizen of The United States and The Navajo Nation.

For three years he lived with his family in a one-room hogan with no running water or electricity out in a Navajo reservation. He dreams of a nation where 'we the people' truly means 'all the people'.

Yet as we prepare to celebrate Memorial day he reminds us of the “ethnic cleansing and genocide” the United States carried against the indigenous peoples of this land.

Welcome to Back in America Mark Charles.

 

Transcript

 

Books and Movie Recommendation

Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery
by Steven Newcomb 

Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery
by Mark Charles, Soong-Chan Rah

Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action (2005)
Director: Roberta Grossman

Somebody's Daughter by Rain 

 

June 3, 2020  

19 Year-Old Princeton Student: Being Black in the US is Like Suffocating

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The death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Memorial Day after he was pinned down by a white police officer, has sparked protests across the United States and even abroad.

In France, the event has even revived anger over the death of Adama Traore a black Frenchman who died in police custody 4 years ago. Some 20,000 people demonstrated in Paris on Tuesday.

I met my guest at the Kneel for justice protest yesterday in Princeton.
She was one of the speakers.
She is a Prospective Molecular Biology Major at Princeton University. Welcome to Back in America Imani Mulrain

She recommends watching the following video 
how to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house (Invest in the future for FREE)

 to help the Black Lives Matter movement

 

Transcript

 

May 28, 2020  

Update: A Native American Candidate to US Election - Subscribe to our Mailing list

Hello Back in America's fan!

I hope that you are well and safe wherever in the world you are. This is a short update about the podcast and myself.

The podcast is doing very very well. I am receiving amazing feedback and have some exciting interviews lined up.

On a personal note, we've moved over the memorial day weekend and we are living among boxes. Since my wife my 3 daughters and our 2 dogs are all sharing the same roof 24/7 I struggle to find a quiet space to record...

Anyway, I want to find a way to engage more with you and this is why I would like that you go to backinamericathepodcast.com or the Facebook page Back in America and that you subscribe to our mailing list for exclusive content.

Once part of the list, you will receive, from time to time unique content and opportunity to influence the conversation.

Also, I am very excited to announce that I will soon release an interview with Mark Charles a Native American who's a candidate for the US presidential election. Rember to subscribe to the mailing list.

Stay safe
And share your love for this podcast!

May 14, 2020  

John Michael Greer an American Druid on Americans Individualism, Societal Collapse, and the Values of the Frontier Period

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Join our exclusive mailing list!

In this episode, I speak with John Michael Greer (JMG) an author and blogger in the fields of nature spirituality, and the future of industrial society.  He is the author of more than fifty books and a blogger.  He lives in Rhode Island with his wife Sara.

Our conversation takes us to the suburbs of Seattle in the 70s. We discuss Druidry since JMG is a druid and ecology.

John is one of the leading minds, in the US, behind the concept of societal collapse.

He was quoted on this topic back in 2008. In 2016, he wrote Dark Age America: Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, and the Hard Future Ahead. Since then John published eight books and countless articles on collapse.

Collapse means that our fossil fuel-based civilization, cannot sustain itself and will fail.

As our world is going through unprecedented pandemic and is bracing itself for what might be also an unprecedented recession.

John’s blog can be found at https://www.ecosophia.net/

Here is a link to his books on Amazon https://amzn.to/3cANDom

April 23, 2020  

Gil Lopez: Guerrilla Gardening in Queen, Resilient Communities and the Power of Radical Ideas 

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A few words before this episode.

Gil who's interviewed here has been laid off since I recorded this episode and the NYC Compost Project and the curbside compost collection in NYC, for which he worked are coming to pass. Curbside compost pick-up will end on May 4 and the Compost Project will be completely mothballed in July, he told me. 

However, Gil’s spirit is still high.

“I’m doing okay,” he wrote to me. “I was laid off last month but I received my first unemployment check today. 

 I’m am blessed beyond words to have my community garden to go to and be outside in the sun and soil basically whenever I want”.

Now, on my side, I am sheltering in place with my wife and three daughters. We never expected to have Zoe, our 21-year-old at home with us again and are enjoying this extra time with her.

I hope you, my listeners are well. Please stay home and stay safe! 

 

 

In this episode, I am on the phone with Gil Lopez the founder of Smiling Hogshead Ranch an urban garden in Queens New York. 

The Smiling Hogshead Ranch started 9 years ago as a “guerilla garden” on a set of abandoned railroad tracks. After many backs on forth with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, they managed to secure a lease.

Today the Ranch is an agriculture farm and community garden by day, and a social club and cultural venue. 

-- Gil, I have read that you see the more important effects of community gardens as being psychological, off-setting mindsets of commodification and enhancing ideas of community.

The coronavirus is devastating our economy, deeply impacting our way of life and putting a stop to production and consumption. It is a costly reminder that in order to survive our communities must transition to a more resilient model. 

 

Here are Gil’s recommendations

Book

Basic Call To Consciousness 

by Akwesasne Notes 

 

Documentaries (YouTube)

HyperNormalisation: by Adam Curtis

 

The Century of the Self

April 16, 2020  

Share My Meals - Princeton Non-Profit Keeps Restaurants Open During the Pandemic to Feed Those in Need

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In this episode, I speak to Share My Meals's President and Co-Founder Isabelle Lambotte about her vision for Share My Meals Inc. The non-profit was initially created to fight hunger by recovering meal surplus from corporations and Universities cafeterias.
Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Share My Meals's volunteers are working non-stop to feed the community in need.

Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros from the Municipality of Princeton comments on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on restaurants and businesses in Princeton.

Two restaurant owners Michele Moriello of La Mezzaluna, and husband and wife Amar Gautam and Amanda Maher owner of The Meeting House a new restaurant in Princeton are sharing their experiences. Both restaurants have decided to keep a reduced team and to partner with Share My Meals to cook meals for the families served by Isabelle and her team of volunteers.

Patty Yates, is an African American community leader and a Share My Meals recipient. She talks of the need of her community and explains how she redistributes the meals received from the non-profit to her community.

 

Visit Share My Meals at https://sharemymeals.org/

 

April 2, 2020  

Jessica Baxter - Princeton High School Principal - Adjusting to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic

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I am Stan Berteloot and this is Back in America. Today I am speaking via Skype with Princeton High School Principal Jessica Baxter.

Jessica, as most school leaders across the globe, is faced with the challenging task of adjusting to the reality of the Coronavirus pandemic.

When the school closed, initially for two weeks on March 16 putting in place remote learning was only part of what had to be done. The staff at PHS had to ensure that every kid had access to a computer and the Internet. Curriculums had to be adjusted for kids to learn online.

Strategies had to be put in place to ensure well being of students.

Jessica, when we prepared this interview you told me that you are reassessing and re-planning what you do, not day to day, but minute to minute.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with Back in America and to share your experience keeping Princeton High School strong for the students and their families.

Jessica's book suggestions

Daring Greatly, by Brown, Brene, Ph.D. 

Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity
by Winona Guo, Priya Vulchi

March 19, 2020  

Richard Heinberg: on building resilient communities - transitioning away from fossil fuels - Coronavirus - Collapse (effondrement)

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I am Stan Berteloot and this is Back in America. Today I am speaking with Richard Heinberg a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, and one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels.

Richard has written for many publications including Nature, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The American Prospect, Public Policy Research, Quarterly Review just to name a few. He’s been quoted by Reuters, the Associated Press, and Time Magazine, and has appeared on Good Morning America, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Al-Jazeera, and C-SPAN, NPR and others. Leonardo DiCaprio’s called on Richard’s expertise for his documentary the 11th Hour.

Richard, I wanted to speak with you about a topic that’s increasingly present in Europe and which is making its way into North America that’s the concept of our society’s collapse or l’effondrement has it is now called in French.

The idea is that the process by which basic needs (water, food, shelter, clothing, energy, etc.) are no longer provided (at a reasonable cost) to a majority of the population by services regulated by law. 

As Pablo Servigne puts it, collapse is both distant and close, slow and fast, gradual and brutal. It involves not only natural events but also (and above all) political, economic and social shocks, as well as events of a psychological nature.

Collapse means that our fossil fuel-based civilization, cannot sustain itself and will fail. 

People that study how societies collapse believe that tomorrow is going to be very different from today. That no green energy and no technology are going to save our way of life. Not even the concept of degrowth will work since we can’t force humanity into stopping production and consumption, especially in developing countries. So yes, they say, we are running into a wall.

But what’s interesting is that that same person, those that a convinced that we will sooner or later collapse are also full of hope. They say that we have to do everything we can today to smoothen this collision. We have to decelerate, we have to put on our seatbelt and prepare everyone for the shock.

They are convinced that preparing for the world to come will give us hope as we work to create for a better society, more collective and resilient.

 

Richard's List of Books

Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market
by David Fleming

Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It Hardcover
David Fleming

 

And here is a link to Richard's many books

 

 

March 12, 2020  

Ron Menapace - Homestead Princeton - From Pharma to business owner: Challenges and opportunities in America

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Matt Dubberke, Ron Menapace, Fernando Freitas from Homestead Princeton

Ron Menapace owner of Homestead #Princeton talks about his experience from corporate America working in sales for a #Pharma company to creating a home décor and furniture store in Princeton. He shares his challenges competing against large online retailers and the commoditization of furniture as well as his fears of a business slowdown due to the #Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Princeton Homestead is a furniture and home décor store specialized in custom barn wood furniture located in the heart of Princeton, on Palmer square. 

Ron's dad was a carpenter, after a degree in Sport Management Ron also had a stint at woodwork, fixing and refurbishing furniture. Yet he went on to work in sales for a large pharma corporation. 12 years later, however, he and his wife Kristen decided to follow their dreams and, in 2011, opened what was then called the Farmhouse.

 

February 27, 2020  

Trailer - Back in America - A podcast questioning our understanding of America

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Hi, my name is Stan Berteloot. I'm a French journalist living in Princeton, New Jersey and I'm the host of Back in America.

In this podcast, I explore what makes America, America. To do this. I've met with black activists, abuse survivors, men questioning traditional masculinity, business people, teachers, gay dancers, and politicians

"Well I love America, I think they're very few places in the world. Where are young foreigners can come And be established on a completely equal footing to people who grow up in the culture"

"At no point in time in the history of this country was a black man allowed to be fully seen and to fully represent himself as a man"

"To be American to me is to make your dreams truly come true I mean, I dreamt of being a principal dancer. being gay and married to a man and having children. That was my dream when I was little."

"I was 12. We were also expected, just as we would have if we had been in Mexico is to help contribute to the family and so we went to work in the fields."

"We were all sold a lie that holding in our feelings and not sharing them not talking about them equated with manhood"

"My father was a nuclear engineer and while he was a brilliant man. He was also a monster. My abuse started very young when I was a toddler."

"This young lady. Fade in a meeting which was right on the money. You always talk to us about living in the past or can we get away from the past? How can we get away from the past when the past presents itself in the present?"

In this podcast, I want to understand why people do the things they do. What drives them? And how this culture and this country, is influencing them. Don't miss upcoming episodes of Back in America.

Subscribe now wherever you get your podcast!

 

February 20, 2020  

Carole Jury - ‘La femme de…’ se réinvente aux Etats-Unis et devient artiste peintre | In French

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Je suis Stan Berteloot et vous écoutez Back in America, un podcast où j’explore la société américaine à travers des parcours de vie hors du commun !

Cette interview est pour la première fois en français.

Mon invitée est la peintre française Carole Jury. Carole vit à Princeton dans le New Jersey depuis cinq ans. Elle est à l’origine du groupement « Women Artists I From France to USA ». Hyper active, et de plus en plus sollicitée, elle expose aux quatre coins des Etats-Unis, en Europe et à Dubaï.

La peinture a toujours eu une place centrale dans la vie de cette femme de 44 ans, mais l’art restait un hobby, une passion jusqu’à son installation à Princeton, dans le New Jersey avec son mari Kamel et ses trois enfants.

Avant de signer sa lettre de démission, Carole était responsable de la communication d’une grande entreprise de l’industrie chimique et pour elle l’idée de rester à la maison, loin de ses racines et sans sa propre identité, était une perspective inédite et difficile.

Lorsque nous avons préparé cet entretien, Carole m’a dit, “Je suis devenue ‘la femme de mon mari’. Ne plus avoir de profession c’était comme perdre mon identité.”

En effet d’après le baromètre Humanis-Lepetitjournal.com seuls 14% des professionnelles envoyées à l’étranger sont des femmes, qui partent en solo pour un tiers d’entre elles. En conséquence, dans 91% des cas, le conjoint d’expatrié est une femme, qui met très souvent sa carrière entre parenthèses.
Par ailleurs, malgré un niveau d’études élevé (un bac + 4 et trois langues parlées dans 72% des cas), seule la moitié des conjoints qui veulent travailler – ils sont 8 sur 10 – trouve un emploi sur place.

C’est donc dans ce contexte que Carole devient consultante en communication pour des entreprises françaises installées aux Etats-Unis.

Mais la peinture ne te quitte pas et, un an après son arrivée, elle s’y consacre à temps plein.

Sa recommandation de livre :

L'amie prodigieuse, Elena Ferrante

 

Sa présence en ligne :

Le site web de Carole Jury

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

 

February 13, 2020  

Princeton University Janitor & Mailman Tommy Parker Talks of Reparations and Civil Rights

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Today I am speaking with someone who wants to be a voice for the voiceless.

Someone passionate about civil justice. I am talking with Thomas Parker or Tommy, as he likes to be called.
Tommy is 67. He was hired as a janitor in 1979 by Princeton University and joined the Print and Mail Services of the University in 1983.

In 2011 The University recognized your social engagement with the Martin Luther King Day Journey Award, for Lifetime Service for your role as an advocate and adviser to co-workers and your dedication to community service.
Indeed you work hard both at the university and in the community where you lead numerous organizations to help the underprivileged.

In the early nineties, you organized, with the Labor Relations Director Fred Clarke the first Labor & Management Committee on campus to help with day to day processes of contract enforcement and mutual considerations for bargaining unit protection under the collective bargaining agreement. Today, you are the president of Princeton’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 175.

Freedom Riders

In this interview, Tommy talks about the Freedom Riders who were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern US in 1961 and after to challenge the non-enforcement of the Supreme Court decisions which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The Southern states had ignored the rulings and the federal government did nothing to enforce them. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C. on May 4, 1961.

Reparations for Slavery

I ask Tommy about what he thinks of Reparations to the African American and he mentions the 40 acres and a mule, which is part of Special Field Orders No. 15, a post-Civil War promise proclaimed by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman on January 16, 1865, to allot family units, including freed people, a plot of land no larger than 40 acres (16 ha). However, according to Wikipedia, Freed people widely expected to legally claim 40 acres of land (a quarter-quarter section) and a mule after the end of the war. Some freedmen took advantage of the order and took initiatives to acquire land plots along a strip of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida coasts. However, Lincoln's successor, President Andrew Johnson explicitly reversed and annulled proclamations such as Special Field Orders No. 15 and the Freedmen's Bureau Act.

 

Thomas Parker books suggestions are:

Man Child in the Promised Land
by Claude Brown

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

 

February 6, 2020  

John Lam: Boston Ballet Principal Dancer a Gay Vietnamese-American Reflects on his life Leading to Coming out, Marrying and Having two Kids

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I am speaking with John Lam, the principal dancer at the Boston Ballet.

John is joining me via Skype from his home in Quincy Massachusetts.

His parents immigrated to California from Vietnam. He grew up in an underprivileged household and discovered his love for dance at the age of 4 at Marin Ballet, through the Performing Stars of Marin a children's program that has helped some of the most impoverished children in the Bay Area. 

John’s parents were definitely not expecting him to be gay, become a professional dancer, mary a man and raise two sons. He constantly had to fight against the expectations of his culture, his peers, and his family.

John Lam: When John was 14,  at Marin Ballet, Mikko Nissinen cast the young dancer. 16 years later, John and Mikko continue to work together, John as Principal Dancer and Mikko as Boston Ballet's Artistic Director.

At age 35 John is the first Vietnamese American male in history to become a principal dancer in a major ballet company.

At the beginning of the podcast, I mention a story in Dance Magazine that states that almost 60% of the men in dance companies were gay. The same article writes that as if to protect their own macho image,  Americans, in particular, love to embrace the idea that the stereotype of male dancers automatically being gay. Here is the link 

 

February 5, 2020  

Quick Up-Date: Gay, Dad & Principal Dancer Coming-up + Follow-up on Social Media

Hello back in America fans!

This is just a quick update - Tomorrow on Thursday at 8 PM we are releasing an amazing interview of the principal dancer at the Boston Ballet. John Lam is the son of Vietnamese refugees. He grew up in a poor neighborhood of San Fransisco, is gay which in his parents' culture is pretty tough, yet he married a man and had two sons.

I look forward to your comments after you’ve heard this amazing story

Talking of engaging with my listeners.

If you want to know more about the adventure of back in America if you want to see behind the scene video if you want to hear soundbites from my interviews before they are aired or if you just want to reach out and give feedback follow back in America on the social media
on Instagram Facebook and on YouTube, just search for Back in America.

Once again if you like back in America make sure you share it with your friends, with your family, and help people discover the podcast it would mean a lot to me.

January 30, 2020  

Hilary Porta - “I had to be broken so I could be used”: a story of rebuilding one’s life to help others become unstoppable

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Hilary Porta is a leading mindset expert and life architect who helps people design a career and life they love by combining neuroscience-based mindset coaching to shatter the mental limits and provide strategy and a framework for an epic life.

Hilary travels across the globe not only speaking on stages both domestically and internationally but also where she helps Fortune 500 CEOs, professional motorsport as well as pro sports (think: Formula One driver, NFL ) to level up and become unstoppable.

However, life hasn’t always been easy for Hilary. She went through some very dark times but that's where she learned the power of resilience and choice and has turned her loss into leverage.

 

Hilary Porta's website

 

Hilary recommends a Netflix Series and a book:

 

 

January 23, 2020  

Elan Leibner - From Israel kibbutz to the Waldorf School of Princeton: a story of passion for education

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In this episode, we explore the idea behind a school system created 100 years ago in Germany and which is increasingly popular throughout the world: the Waldorf education based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy.

My guest is Elan Leibner the chair of the Pedagogical Section Council of North America and a teacher at the Waldorf School of Princeton. Elan grew up in Israel, lived in a kibbutz, and moved to the US at the age of 23. He married Tertia, the woman who recruited him to teach at Waldorf. He was a class teacher at there for 18 years, before directing the Teacher Education program at Emerson College in England.

Altogether, he has been involved in Waldorf education for almost thirty years.

Anyone researching Waldorf School on Google quickly realizes that the school has many fans but also some skeptics.

Waldorf School of Princeton 
Instagram: @princetonwaldorf
Twitter: @NJwaldorf

Elan recommends two movies:

What Dreams May Comes 
Round Midnight 

January 16, 2020  

Councilwoman Leticia Fraga - From Mexico to Princeton, NJ - A story of immigration and integration in America

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Leticia Fraga is the first Latinx ever elected to Princeton Municipal Government.

She has many responsibilities in Princeton. Born in Mexicali, Mexico, Leticia is one of eight children. At the age of 12, she immigrated to the US, settling in Washington State with her family.

During their first five years in the US, she worked in the fields, side by side with her siblings and parents.

With their earnings, the Fraga family was eventually able to purchase their plot of land on which they cultivated asparagus.

In this episode, Leticia shares her experience as a young Mexican immigrant, her first meal at KFC, her difficulty settling in Princeton and how she made it to an elected councilwoman.
Leticia also shares her hope for some of the large projects she is currently working on.

For more information about Leticia Fraga visit her website (you will find the photo that she describes in this episode)

 

Links to the books mentioned in this episode

Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother

American Dirt: A Novel

Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

 

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