Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Published by
Random House (2022-07-05)
Current material
MS: Final Edited
Original language


My Life in Twelve Towns and the Ongoing Battle for a White America

by Ali-Khan, Sofia

In this gripping history and deeply personal story, Ali-Khan, a leading advocate for social justice, uncovers the history of forced migration in the twelve American towns she's called home.

Sofia Ali-Khan's parents emigrated from Pakistan to America in search of a decent place to raise a family. Growing up with a nerdy interest in American folk history and a devotion to the rule of law, Sofia Ali-Khan would ultimately pursue a career in social justice, serving some of America's most vulnerable communities. By the time she had children of her own--having lived, worked, and worshipped in a dozen different towns across the nation--Ali-Khan felt deeply American, maybe even a little extra American for having seen so many sides of the country.

But in the wake of 9/11, and on the cusp of the 2016 election of Donald Trump, Ali-Khan's American dream of a happy life in the communities of her youth felt under constant threat. She needed to understand whether America, which had for so long proudly proclaimed itself a nation of immigrants and underdogs, would continue to make good on its promise of offering her kids a better life. As the vitriolic attacks on Islam and Muslims intensified, she wondered if that promise had ever applied to families like her own, and if she had gravely misunderstood the nation she'd grown up in.

To make sense of it all, Ali-Khan went in search of that good country to which her family first came, revisiting the places that have shaped her life and unearthing half-buried histories of cultural annihilation, forced migration, and systemic dispossession that still shape every state, town, and reservation today. From the forgotten origins of Chinatowns across the country to the myth of a peaceful Quaker Pennsylvania, Ali-Khan braids the story of her own political awakening with these histories to reveal how America's European colonial premise continues to shape our nation, driving Brown and Black Americans to the margins and then developing the law and the landscape to impoverish, exclude, and contain them. Equal parts memoir, history, and prescription for confronting America's most painful legacies, A GOOD COUNTRY is the story of every corner of our country--from Flagstaff to Boston and everywhere between.

Perfect for fans of the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Isabel Wilkerson, and JD Vance, A GOOD COUNTRY is remarkable, poignant, and refreshing, bringing to light how Black and Brown Americans navigate a country stained with a history racism and prejudice, and how the lasting effects of these stains can seep into all facets of society.

Sofia Ali-Khan is a writer and an accomplished public interest attorney. She has worked for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Prairie State Legal Services in Illinois, and the American Bar Association. She has practiced in the areas of welfare law, Medicaid access, immigrant access to public benefits, immigration, zoning and licensing, and language access under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. She is a national leader in the area of developing institutional capacity for provision of language access; she developed and wrote the grant that funded the American Bar Association's Standards for Language Access in Courts. A second-generation Pakistani American born and raised in the United States, Ali-Khan now lives in Ontario, Canada, with her family.

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Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

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