While the United States was involved in its own Civil War, the Ottoman Empire was on its way to collapse. Part of the war and strife took place in Lebanon, today a small country on the Mediterranean coast of the Middle East. That’s where three continents join – Europe, Asia and Africa.
Christians and Druze were engaged in the First Lebanese Civil War, which was settled in 1865. Many Lebanese left their home country for Europe and North and South America. The “Lebanese Diaspora” ultimately involved millions of Lebanese leaving their home country to seek opportunities for freedom from religious strife, the after-effects of their country’s civil war, and economic opportunity.
The subtitle for Kenny’s book is “The House of Joseph Thomas Raad.” He came to the United States in 1895 and traveled to the small seaport town of Georgetown. Later, he returned to Lebanon and brought back two of his brothers. A fourth brother also made his way to Georgetown.
They weren’t the first Lebanese to come to Georgetown, but they have grown to be an integral part of the local culture and fabric of life.