November 14, 2022 7:53 AM EST

Omar (an alias) is an Afghan Sunni Muslim, former interpreter for the U.S. military, and frequent translator for his friend, veteran war reporter Matthieu Aikins. In 2016, after the U.S. denied Omar’s application for a Special Immigrant Visa, he left his home and partner in Kabul, taking a treacherous cross-continental path in search of a better life and ultimately landing in a refugee camp in Greece. Aikins, shedding his identity and even destroying his U.S. passport, followed along to report the story of the refugee crisis. The journey, as he writes, was “mostly waiting, punctuated by moments of terror.” Along the way, readers are introduced to people who, like Omar, are seeking safety from a relentless war, as well as police officers, activists, and smugglers. —Laura Zornosa

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