An American Library Association Notable Book of the Year
In Human Cargo, Caroline Moorehead takes readers on a journey to understand why millions of people are forced to abandon their homes, possessions, and families in order to find a place where they may, quite literally, be allowed to live. In spite of the fact that refugees surround us—recent UN estimates suggest that their numbers approach 20 million—few grasp the scale of their presence. Moorehead's experience living and working with refugees puts a human face on the news, providing indelible portraits of not only refugees but also the countries from which they fled, as well as those that host them, the men and women who help them, and, finally, those who have not.
Moorehead has traveled for nearly two years and across four continents to bring us these unforgettable stories. In prose that is at once affecting and informative, she introduces us to the men, women, and children she meets as she travels to Cairo, Guinea, Sicily, the U.S.-Mexico border, Lebanon, England, Australia, and Finland. Among others, we learn about Salaam, an Iraqi Catholic persecuted by Saddam Hussein's regime, and his struggle to reach San Diego through Mexico with his sister; and Mary, a fifty-year-old American who works with the International Rescue Committee in Guinea to provide schooling for refugees from Iran who escaped a Tehran prison to establish a trauma center in England for victims of torture. Moorehead illustrates why the "problem" of 20 million people stuck in limbo—unable to work, educate their children, or otherwise contribute to society—is on a par with global crises such as terrorism and world hunger.