Though he has spent half of his life elsewhere, Gregory Orfalea has remained obsessed with Los Angeles. That brutal, beautiful city along the Pacific sea shaped him and led to a series of essays originally published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine. These deeply moving pieces are gathered here together for the first time. Populated with fascinating characters the Angelenos of Orfalea's life these essays tell the story of the author's trials. He returns to Los Angeles to teach, trying to reconcile the LA of his childhood with the city he now faces. He takes on progressively more difficult and painful subjects, finally confronting the memories of the shocking tragedy that took the lives of his father and sister. With more than 400,000 Arab Americans in Los Angelesprobably surpassing Detroit as the largest contingent in America?Orfalea also explores his own community and its political and social concerns. He agonizes over another destruction of Lebanon and examines in searing detail a massacre of civilians in Iraq. Angeleno Days takes the memoir and personal essay to rare heights.
Orfalea is a deeply human writer who reveals not only what it means to be human in America now, but also what it will take to remain human in the days to come. These essays soar, confound, reveal, and strike at our senses and sensibilities, forcing us to think and feel in new ways.
Gregory Orfalea directed the Writing Program and taught at Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges and at George Washington University. He currently is teaching Arab American Literature at Georgetown. He is the author of two acclaimed histories, one the most comprehensive work on his ethnic community to date, The Arab Americans: A History, and the other, about his father's ill-fated unit during the Second World War, Messengers of the Lost Battalion. He has published two books of poetry and his collection of short stories is forthcoming on Syracuse University Press, The Man Who Guarded the Bomb.