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MICHAEL BORNSTEIN OREN ( Hebrew
Hebrew
: מיכאל אורן; born MICHAEL SCOTT BORNSTEIN; May 20, 1955) is an American-born Israeli historian, author, politician, former ambassador to the United States (2009–2013), and current member of the Knesset for the Kulanu party and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

Oren has written books, articles, and essays on Middle Eastern history , and is the author of the _New York Times_ best-selling _ Power, Faith and Fantasy _ and _Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East _, which won the _ Los Angeles Times _ History Book of the Year Award and the National Jewish Book Award. Oren has been a visiting professor at Harvard , Yale , and Georgetown universities in the United States
United States
and at Tel Aviv and Hebrew universities in Israel. He was a Distinguished Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and a contributing editor to _ The New Republic _. _The Forward_ named Oren one of the five most influential American Jews and _The Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Post _ listed him as one of the world’s ten most influential Jews.

Oren retired as ambassador to the United States
United States
in 2013, replaced by Ron Dermer . In the 2015 Israeli election , Oren was elected to the Knesset for the centrist Kulanu party.

CONTENTS

* 1 Personal life and background * 2 Military service * 3 Academic career * 4 Ambassadorship

* 5 Writings

* 5.1 Political commentary * 5.2 Middle East history * 5.3 Fiction

* 6 Knesset career * 7 Legislation * 8 Published work * 9 References * 10 External links

PERSONAL LIFE AND BACKGROUND

Oren was born Michael Scott Bornstein in upstate New York , the son of Marilyn (née Goldstein), a marriage and family therapist, and Lester Milton Bornstein, a hospital director. His father had served as an officer in the U.S. Army who took part in the D-Day
D-Day
invasion of Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 and participated in the Korean War . Oren grew up in West Orange, New Jersey , in a Conservative Jewish household. He attended West Orange High School . As the only Jewish boy in a heavily Catholic neighborhood, he says he experienced antisemitism . In his youth, he was an activist in Zionist and Jewish youth groups such as United Synagogue Youth . A meeting with then–Israeli ambassador to the United States, Yitzhak Rabin , strengthened Oren's decision to move to Israel. Reading about Rabin sparked Oren's interest in the Israeli ambassadorship to Washington, a post he would eventually attain. Oren won two gold medals at the 1977 Maccabiah Games in rowing, a sport in which he remains active. At age 15, he made his first trip to Israel
Israel
with the youth movement Habonim Dror , working on Kibbutz
Kibbutz
Gan Shmuel . In 1973, Oren won first prize in the PBS
PBS
National Young Filmmaker’s contest for the film, _Comrades in Arms_, which he wrote and directed. In the summer of 1976, he worked as gofer for Orson Welles .

In 1977 Oren completed his undergraduate degree from Columbia College . He continued his studies at Columbia, receiving a Masters in International Affairs in 1978 from the School of International and Public Affairs , where he was an International Fellow and a DACOR Fellow. After college, he spent a year as an adviser to the Israeli delegation to the United Nations
United Nations
.

In 1979 Oren emigrated to Israel
Israel
. Upon assuming Israeli citizenship, he changed his last name from "Bornstein" to "Oren", meaning "pine tree" in Hebrew. (He renounced his American citizenship in 2009 upon his nomination as ambassador to the United States, since Israeli law prohibits international representatives from holding dual nationality. )

A few years later Oren returned to the United States
United States
to continue his education, studying at Princeton University . In 1986 he earned an MA and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton.

In 1982 he married Sally Edelstein, who was born in San Francisco
San Francisco
and immigrated to Israel
Israel
in 1981. They have three children. In an article published in _ The Atlantic
The Atlantic
_, Jeffrey Goldberg profiled Sally's acquaintance with rock stars Jimi Hendrix , Janis Joplin , and Jefferson Airplane . Marty Balin , one of the main songwriters of Jefferson Airplane, wrote two songs about her in the 1960s.

Oren's nephew is comedian Jon Rudnitsky .

MILITARY SERVICE

In 1979, Oren began his military service in the Israel
Israel
Defense Forces . He served as a paratrooper in the 1982 Lebanon War . His unit was caught in a Syrian ambush on the second day of the war. His commander was killed and nearly everyone was wounded. He then joined a unit stationed in Sidon . A day after his wedding, in the summer of 1982, Oren returned to Beirut.

Following his regular military service, Oren volunteered to work with the Zionist
Zionist
underground in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
. Sent to make contact with Zionist
Zionist
groups in Ukraine
Ukraine
, he was repeatedly arrested by the KGB.

During the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
he was Israeli liaison officer to the U.S. Sixth Fleet . He was called up for reserve duty for the 2005 Gaza disengagement , and participated in the evacuation of settlements. He served as an officer in the IDF Spokesman's Office during the 2006 Lebanon War . and the 2008–2009 Gaza War .

In February 2009, he delivered a lecture at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
on "The Gaza Operation: A Personal and Historical Perspective". _The Today Show_ broadcast a special segment, "The Oren Family at War."

ACADEMIC CAREER

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Oren taught at Hebrew
Hebrew
University of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and Tel Aviv University . In 1995, during the government of Yitzhak Rabin , Oren served as an advisor in inter-religious affairs at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

In 2006, Oren was a visiting professor at both Harvard University
Harvard University
and Yale University
Yale University
, returning to Yale in 2007. Beginning in 2008, he became a visiting professor at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
's School of Foreign Service for the 2008–09 academic year as part of the faculty associated with the Program for Jewish Civilization.

President George W. Bush appointed Oren to serve on the honorary delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem
Jerusalem
for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel
Israel
in May 2008.

While working at a think-tank in Jerusalem, Oren publicly opposed the 2003 Iraq war, believing at the time that America "should not get involved in state-building in a region where states are only held together by savage central power."

AMBASSADORSHIP

On May 3, 2009, Oren was appointed as ambassador of Israel
Israel
to the United States
United States
by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu , succeeding Sallai Meridor . Ambassador Oren had to give up his United States citizenship in order to assume this post.

Oren strongly criticized the United Nations
United Nations
Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict report, which determined Israel
Israel
was guilty of possible war crimes. In an October 2009 op-ed in _ The New Republic _, he stated, "The Goldstone Report goes further than Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad
and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves."

In October 2009, Oren declined an invitation to attend a conference hosted by J Street , an Israel
Israel
advocacy group, which has been critical of the Israel
Israel
government's foreign policy. Oren called J Street "a unique problem" and that "it's significantly out of the mainstream." However, the two have since come to a more congenial understanding, with Oren stating that " J Street has now come and supported Congressman Berman 's Iran sanction bill; it has condemned the Goldstone Report; it has denounced the British court's decision to try Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
for war crimes, which puts J Street much more into the mainstream."

Oren has initiated Israel
Israel
outreach events for Irish Americans, Latino and LGBT leadership, and the Chinese embassy. He hosted the Israeli embassy’s first Iftar
Iftar
dinner.

On February 8, 2010, Oren spoke at the University of California, Irvine . During his speech Oren was interrupted by 11 protesters who shouted, "Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech ," and "How many Palestinians did you kill?" The outburst and subsequent arrest of the protesters sparked controversy over whether the protesters were exercising free speech, as they claimed they were, or whether it was a suppression of free speech (i.e., of the right of Oren and his audience to a free exchange of ideas), as university officials claimed. On September 23, 2011, a jury convicted 10 Muslim students, 7 from UC Irvine and 3 from UC Riverside , of disrupting Oren's February 2010 speech. The charges and conviction were criticized by civil liberties advocates, as well as both Jewish and Muslim student groups.

Oren has lectured at universities across the United States, including Tufts University , George Washington University , Harvard University
Harvard University
, Emory University
Emory University
, University of California, Davis , University of Chicago , Northeastern University , Northwestern University , Penn State , Rice University
Rice University
, Dickinson College , Florida International University , Columbia University , University of Maryland , American University , the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and the United States
United States
Naval Academy .

Following the Gaza flotilla raid
Gaza flotilla raid
in May 2010, Oren wrote an op-ed in _ The New York Times _, "An Assault, Cloaked in Peace", in which he accused the organizers of the flotilla of attempting to "create a provocation" in order to "put international pressure on Israel
Israel
to drop the Gaza embargo ". He further made the claim that the _ Mavi Marmara _ was "a vessel too large to be neutralized by technical means".

Oren attempted to influence a critical 2012 CBS report by Bob Simon about Palestinian Christians in Israel, with some calling his interference an attempt to silence the American media. Oren responded that at no point had he tried to prevent the _ 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
_ report, rather that he offered suggestions for balancing the segment.

On July 5, 2013, he announced that he would be leaving his post as ambassador to the United States
United States
in fall 2013. According to the Israeli daily _ Haaretz _, insiders say that Oren wanted to keep his job, but was removed because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 's senior advisor Ron Dermer wanted the envoy post.

Oren has received four honorary doctorates and has delivered commencement speeches at Brandeis, Monmouth University, and Yeshiva University. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Achievers with Learning Disabilities Award from the Lab School of Washington, D.C. He delivered the keynote address at 2012 Equality Forum on LGBT rights in Israel.

WRITINGS

POLITICAL COMMENTARY

Oren has written many articles commenting on current political issues. Before assuming his diplomatic post, he published frequently in the _ New York Times
New York Times
_, the _ Wall Street Journal _, and _The New Republic _, where he was a contributing editor. He appeared on _Charlie Rose _, _ The Daily Show
The Daily Show
_, the _Today Show_, and he _John Batchelor Show_. As ambassador, he has published nearly forty op-eds and has given dozens of television interviews, including Bill Maher , _ Colbert Report _, _The View_ , and _The Situation Room _ with Wolf Blitzer .

His two full-length articles "Israel: The Ultimate Ally" and "Israel's Resilient Democracy", were published in _ Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
_ magazine.

In July 2014 Oren argued against a ceasefire and for the continuation of the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict , calling on the international community to leave Israel
Israel
alone to defang and deprive Hamas of its heavy arms and make it pay a "prohibitive cost."

On June 15, 2015 Oren gave a speech at the Leonardo Hotel in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
, in which he said that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement poses a "strategic threat" to Israel, which needs to fight it "like a war, which it is". He also warned that the U.S. is gambling with Israel's future over Iran, saying that the U.S. "can afford to make a mistake" with them, while " Israel
Israel
has zero room for error", adding: "The United States
United States
has the most powerful army in all of history, they're thousands of miles away from Iran, and they don't feel any direct threat. Israel
Israel
is in Iran's backyard, and faces a clear and direct threat from Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas. The IDF is a strong military force, but does not have the capacity and magnitude the US Army has to deter aggression."

Also during June 2015, an op-ed piece by Oren published in the _Wall Street Journal _ claimed that Barack Obama
Barack Obama
had deliberately sabotaged US-Israeli relations, resulting in Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon distancing himself and the party from Oren's stated views. Shortly afterwards another article by Oren was published by _ Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
_, which argued that Obama's outreach to the Muslim world as highlighted by his Cairo speech was partly rooted in "abandonment" by his father and stepfather . Oren was criticised by Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League , who said that Oren's theorising "veers into the realm of conspiracy theories... with an element of amateur psychoanalysis", and characterised the _Foreign Policy_ article as "borderline stereotyping".

In 2015, Oren published _Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide_ (June 2015), which aimed to describe the recent state of Israel–US relations. The book has received both praise and criticism, including a negative review by Philip Gordon , the White House's "point man" for the Middle East during Oren's time as ambassador, titled "Bibi's man in D.C., still spinning for the boss." In response to its controversial reception, Oren stated: "So far a lot of things have been said about me. ... I obviously touched a nerve." Noah Efron wrote in _ Haaretz _ that the book, which continued the self-professed "armchair psychoanalyzing" of the U.S. President, "meshes snugly with the racist fantasies of rabid right-wing bloggers and so-called birthers who see in Barack Obama’s African father and Indonesian stepfather indications that he is not a real American." Efron also chided Oren for failing to assign any responsibility to Israeli for the decline in US- Israel
Israel
relations, calling the book "profoundly un-Zionist."

MIDDLE EAST HISTORY

_ Power, Faith and Fantasy _, a history of American involvement in the Middle East, was published by Norton and quickly became a _New York Times _ bestseller. _Power, Faith and Fantasy_ earned positive reviews from _ Newsweek _, _ The Washington Post _, _ The New York Times Book Review _, the _ San Francisco
San Francisco
Chronicle _, and the _ Willamette Week _.

Oren's _ Six Days of War _ is an historical account of the events of the Six-Day War between Israel
Israel
and its Arab neighbors. The book was widely praised by critics and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History and the National Jewish Book Award. It spent seven weeks on the _ New York Times
New York Times
_ bestseller list. _ The New York Times Book Review _ wrote positively of _Six Days of War_, as did the _ Washington Post _, which called it "not only the best book so far written on the Six Day War, it is likely to remain the best". Oren's Ph.D. thesis, "The Origins of the Second Arab- Israel
Israel
War: Israel, Egypt, and the Great Powers, 1952-1956," was published in 1992.

FICTION

Oren has written two works of fiction. _Sand Devil_, published in 2000, is a trilogy of novellas set in the Negev
Negev
desert. _Reunion_, based on his father’s stories from World War II
World War II
, appeared in 2004.

KNESSET CAREER

Oren was given the fourth spot on the list of the new Kulanu party before Israel's 2015 elections, adding foreign policy credentials to a party that campaigned almost exclusively on economic issues. He was elected and, on March 31, sworn in as a Member of Israel's 20th Knesset, serving on its Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. On August 1, 2016, it was announced that Oren would be appointed as deputy minister in charge of public diplomacy.

LEGISLATION

Oren supported the creation of a new Israeli national holiday, Yom Ha Aliyah
Aliyah
( Hebrew
Hebrew
: יום העלייה‎‎, _ Aliyah
Aliyah
Day_) to be celebrated annually on the tenth of the Hebrew
Hebrew
month of Nisan
Nisan
(Hebrew : י’ ניסן‎‎). On 21 June 2016 the Knesset voted in favor of adding Yom Ha Aliyah
Aliyah
to the national calendar. The Yom HaAliyah bill was co-sponsored by Knesset members from different parties in a rare instance of cooperation across the political spectrum. The day chosen for Yom Ha Aliyah
Aliyah
is, according to the biblical narrative, the day Joshua
Joshua
and the Israelites crossed the Jordan River at Gilgal into the Promised Land . It was thus the first documented "mass Aliyah".

PUBLISHED WORK

* _ Six Days of War : June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East_. Presidio Press. (2002) ISBN 978-0-345-46192-6 . * _Reunion_. New York: Plume. (2003) ISBN 978-1-931561-26-6 . * _ Power, Faith and Fantasy : The United States
United States
in the Middle East, 1776 to 2006_. New York: W.W. Norton -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ "Israeli Ambassador Draws on American Roots". * ^ Oren, Michael (May 27, 2017). " Michael Oren
Michael Oren
Dating". Maariv. Retrieved May 27, 2017. * ^ " Michael Oren
Michael Oren
appointed Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister\'s office". _The Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Post JPost.com_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ " Michael Oren
Michael Oren
appointed to US envoy role", _ Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Post _, May 2, 2009 * ^ _A_ _B_ " Ron Dermer officially named Israel’s U.S. ambassador". _JTA_. July 9, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2013. * ^ "Mr. Oren goes to Jerusalem
Jerusalem
(from Washington)". _Ha'aretz_. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2015. * ^ _A_ _B_ Ginsberg, Johanna. "Former New Jerseyan to be Israel\'s Envoy to U.S.; Author Michael Oren
Michael Oren
was Mountain High and Princeton grad", _ New Jersey Jewish News _, May 7, 2009. Accessed November 19, 2012. * ^ Turk Rosenblatt, Judith (1987). _Who's Who in World Jewry: A Biographical Dictionary of Outstanding Jews_. Who's Who in World Jewry. p. 64. ISBN 0961827203 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ "Enjoying Every Minute", _ Haaretz _ Archived September 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine . * ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth . "Israeli Diplomat Is Man in Middle", _New York Times _, September 17, 2012. Accessed November 19, 2012. "Raised in a conservative Jewish family in West Orange, N.J., Mr. Oren worked on a kibbutz at 15, was educated at Princeton and Columbia, immigrated to Israel
Israel
and spent multiple tours in the Israeli Army...." * ^ "Commemoration of Prime Minister Rabin\'s z"l 90th Birthday", Embassy of Israel, February 29, 2012 Archived March 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine . * ^ C-SPAN Transcript of 2002 Interview with Michael Oren * ^ "Michael B. Oren". _www.writersreps.com_. Retrieved 2017-04-23.

* ^ "An interview with Michael Oren", _The Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Post _, January 18, 2007. * ^ "Princeton - Weekly Bulletin 11/18/02 - Nassau Notes". _www.princeton.edu_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ "Israels new ambassador to U.S. has strong S.F. ties". _J_. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ Ambassador Michael Oren
Michael Oren
Biography * ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey. "Six Degrees of Sally Oren". _The Atlantic_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ "MK Michael Oren
Michael Oren
congratulates nephew on joining cast of SNL". _The Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Post JPost.com_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Archived index at the Wayback Machine . Michael Oren's Official Website * ^ "Oren\'s work with the Zionist
Zionist
underground", _Haaretz_, September 27, 2009. * ^ "Israeli Soldier Oren Shares Gaza Story News The Harvard Crimson". _www.thecrimson.com_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ Oren in the Spokesman\'s Office during the 2008–09 Israel–Gaza conflict, _The New Republic_, January 4, 2009. * ^ _Michael Oren, Gaza Lecture Part 1_, January 28, 2009 on YouTube
YouTube
* ^ _Today Show Segment on Oren Family at War_, April 6, 2012 * ^ "Center for Jewish Civilization Georgetown University". _pjc.georgetown.edu_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ "Georgetown University". _explore.georgetown.edu_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ "Bush Visit May Boost Olmert - The New York Sun". _www.nysun.com_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ DEPARTING AS AMBASSADOR, MICHAEL OREN IS STILL WORKING TO BRIDGE OBAMA-BIBI GAP By Lee Smith September 25, 2013, Tablet Magazine * ^ Mark Landler (25 September 2009). "Israeli Ambassador Draws on American Roots". _ The New York Times _. * ^ Michael B. Oren (10 June 2009). "Deep Denial: Why The Holocaust Still Matters". _ The New Republic _. * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ Ambassador Oren Celebrates Irish Culture on YouTube
YouTube
, March 30, 2011 * ^ Ambassador Oren holds Hispanic outreach event, December 15, 2011 * ^ Ambassador Oren Hosts Iftar
Iftar
Dinner, _Huffington Post_, August 25, 2011 * ^ Raja Abdulrahim (February 9, 2010). "11 students arrested after disrupting Israeli ambassador\'s speech at UC Irvine". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 February 2010. * ^ Natasha Mozgovaya (9 February 2010). "Muslim students scream \'killer\' during Israel
Israel
envoy speech in Irvine, California. Afterwards the students were peacefully escorted out of the hall, given citations, and let go.". Ha'aretz. Retrieved 12 February 2010. * ^ "On campus, is heckling free speech? Or just rude? - USATODAY.com". _www.usatoday.com_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ _A_ _B_ "US court: Students guilty of disrupting Israeli envoy". * ^ _ Michael Oren
Michael Oren
Speaks to the U.S. Naval Academy,_ February 23, 2012 * ^ Michael B. Oren (June 2, 2010). "An Assault, Cloaked in Peace". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2010. * ^ "Christians of the Holy Land". CBS News. Retrieved April 22, 2012. * ^ _A_ _B_ Mozgovaya, Natasha (3 May 2012). "Obama corrects controversial Jewish Heritage Month proclamation". _Haaretz_. Retrieved 3 May 2012. * ^ Ambassador Oren\'s Letter to 60 Minutes, _BuzzFeed_, April 26, 2012 * ^ JTA (July 10, 2013). "American Jewish groups welcome choice of Netanyahu\'s right hand man as U.S. envoy". _Haaretz_. Retrieved July 10, 2013. * ^ Michael Oren\'s Address to Brandeis, Brandeis, May 23, 2010] * ^ Michael Oren\'s Address to Monmouth University, Monmouth University, January 13, 2012 * ^ Ambassador Michael B. Oren Addresses Yeshiva University _Yeshiva University_, June 1, 2010 * ^ Ambassador Oren\'s Address to the Lab School, _Embassy of Israel_ * ^ Ambassador Oren\'s Speech to the Equality Forum on LGBT Rights in Israel, _Embassy of Israel_, May 5, 2012 * ^ From The TNR Archives: Michael B. Oren, _The New Republic_ website, April 21, 2009. * ^ Daily Show Interview with Michael Oren, _The Daily Show_. * ^ The Ultimate Ally, _Foreign Policy_, May 2011. * ^ Israel\'s Resilient Democracy, _Foreign Policy_, April 5, 2012. * ^ "Ex Israeli ambassador slams ceasefir". _ Israel
Israel
Herald_. Retrieved 28 July 2014. * ^ unitedwithisrael.org * ^ Heilbrunn, Jacob (6 July 2015). "Michael B. Oren’s ‘Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide’". _nytimes.com _. Retrieved 19 July 2015. * ^ Oren, Michael (19 June 2015). "How Obama Opened His Heart to the ‘Muslim World’". _ Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
_. Retrieved 19 July 2015. * ^ Lewis, Avi (22 June 2015). "ADL demands Michael Oren
Michael Oren
walk back ‘unjustified attack’ on Obama". _The Times of Israel
Israel
_. Retrieved 19 July 2015. * ^ With ‘Ally,’ Michael Oren
Michael Oren
lifts the veil on U.S.-Israel relations June 21, 2015 by Ben Cohen / JNS.org * ^ Michael Oren, were you disappointed by the state of American Jewry? A conversation by Shmuel Rosner, _Jewish Journal_, June 22nd 2015 * ^ Gordon, Philip (June 26, 2015). "Bibi\'s man in D.C., still spinning for the boss". _ The Washington Post _. Retrieved June 28, 2015. * ^ Michael Oren: I obviously touched a nerve _ Israel
Israel
Hayom_, Newsletter Friday June 26, 2015 * ^ _A_ _B_ Efron, Noah (2015-07-06). "Michael Oren’s \'Ally’ a Profoundly un- Zionist
Zionist
Book". _Haaretz_. Retrieved 2017-04-23. * ^ Newsweek review * ^ "How America Met the