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Season 3, Episode 4: Author George Makari

George Makari won a 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award prize in nonfiction for his third book, “Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia” – for which the seed was germinated during a 2016 year that featured Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, and forced Makari to investigate how “we mis-know one another.”

Anisfield-Wolf juror Steven Pinker praised “Of Fear and Strangers,” noting, “We see countless books that consider instances of racism. Very few seek to understand it as a phenomenon to be studied and analyzed. ‘Of Fear and Strangers’ does that, free of cliché and jargon. Instead, it is replete with liveliness, wit and original turns of phrase.”

Makari joined The Asterisk* in January 2023. He lives in New York City with his wife, the painter and curator Arabella Ogilvie-Makari. The director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute of Psychiatry: History, Policy and the Arts at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his M.D. from the Medical College of Cornell University.

“I think that the waves of immigrants who have come to this country and added to it, it’s not like one chapter, it’s the whole thing. It’s the story of America. And so in that way it’s also the story of America that we periodically put up very intense barriers to those immigrants.”

George Makari
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