Black Dog of Fate, by Peter Balakian and Baghdad Without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia, by Tony Horwitz

Black Dog of Fate, by Peter Balakian and Baghdad Without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia, by Tony Horwitz

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During the summer, I have read Black Dog of Fate by Peter Balakian and Baghdad Without A Map and other misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz. These stories are different from each other content wise, however they both show how the authors encountered their heritage. For both Balakian and Horwitz, getting accustomed to their culture was a growing process. In the beginning of their stories they were seeing things through an American point of view, not knowing beyond what the newspapers and media had said. At the conclusions of these stories, the authors grew to know and fully comprehend what really was behind the closed doors in America.
In Black Dog of Fate, Balakian illustrates how his Armenian background impacted him as being in the first generation of his family born and raised in America. In the beginning of his memoir, the young Balakian lacked interest in the “old country”. As a kid living in a heavily populated Jewish community, he was envious of his friends walking down the street with their parents to go to the synagogue. Through this feeling of jealousy, he felt as though his Armenian ancestry was stopping him from being like his peers. Because Peter’s grandmother and parents did not give him any information about his family’s past at that time, he did not get to know the similar history Jews and Armenians once shared. At the time of adolescence Armenia’s past put a strain in Peter’s relationship with his father after he wrote a paper on Turkey. “. . . the Turkish term paper marked a turning point; in its wake, my father became even more alien to me” (Balakian 95).
When Balakian got older his father sent him a letter. “We have a tremendous historical ancient background with strife against odds, bravery against treac...


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Both Peter Balakian and Tony Horwitz gave their own cultural input in their stories. Those stories showed how the authors became dynamic characters about their heritage. Balakian’s Black Dog of Fate told readers of how Peter started out as a boy not knowing of his ancestors’ dark past to an adult wanting people to know of the Armenian Genocide. Horwitz’s Baghdad Without A Map and other misadventures in Arabia gave readers a tour of the Middle East based on his experiences. The books gave in depth details beyond what is known in America. After reading, readers can easily tell that the authors of the two books grew closer to their specific heritage and learned more about it .

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