The common reading is a treasured SMU tradition that we invite you to share with the Class of 2014.

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This year’s common reading, Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun, comes from a land washed away by one of the fiercest hurricanes in history and the heart of a Syrian-born American whose good deed of rescuing Katrina victims is punished by accusations of his affiliation with Al Qaeda.

It tells the story of a successful painting contractor who stays behind in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina while his family flees. While using a small canoe to rescue victims, Abdulrahman Zeitoun is arrested and later suffers a lengthy detention on suspicion of being a terrorist.

This tragic and true story unfolds in documentary style through the accounts of the Zeitoun family, inviting the reader into their thoughts and experiences, allowing events to speak for themselves, and leading us on a journey of one man’s descent into injustice and chaos against the backdrop of the aftermath of Katrina.

Read reviews of Zeitoun from the New Yorker and the New York Times. You can order the book at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

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