Best literary love for Atlanta

Outcasts United

Staff Pick

New York Times reporter Warren St. John offered an unconventional kind of underdog sports story with his nonfiction book OUTCASTS UNITED. While profiling Jordanian soccer coach Luma Mufleh and her Clarkston-based team the Fugees — all young refugee immigrants from a cross-section of war-torn countries — Outcasts United presents a larger portrait of a small town undeniably changed by the outside world. Artfully weaving the conflicts of Liberia and Congo into the outskirts of Atlanta, St. John finds a way for his far-reaching story to eventually play out across a couple of small soccer fields. Not everyone has been pleased with the book, including a few outspoken Clarkston residents who like to paint St. John as a meddling city boy. That reaction speaks to the depth of this work — Outcasts United tackles the uncomfortable subjects of xenophobia and racism, turns the ball around, and scores a goal.
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