The Poignant Recounting of a Childhood Marred by the Lebanese

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From Beirut to America by Edward Challita

“My mother came to pick me up from school one day, screaming ‘Eddy! Eddy!’ All the other mothers came running and shouting too. Their screams pierced my ears and vibrated in my ribcage … I was very afraid.”

Edward Challita, five years old at the time, was deprived of his childhood. All he knew was a great tragedy was taking place — all he would ever know of his childhood was war.

Challita describes his harrowing experience of growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, during the country’s civil war — everything from the constant threat of bombs falling from the sky, to intimidation and threats from different factions on the ground, to figuring out an eventual escape plan — in his poignant memoir, From Beirut to America: A Journey of War, Migration and Self-Discovery.

The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted armed conflict that took place from 1975 to 1990. It resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities and an exodus of almost one million people from Lebanon.

The diversity of the Lebanese population played a notable role in the lead-up to and during the conflict. The link between politics and religion was strong, and the country’s parliamentary structure favored a leading position for its Christian-majority population. However, the country had a large Muslim population to match, and many pan-Arabist and left-wing groups opposed the Christian-dominated pro-Western government. The influx of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967 contributed to the shift of Lebanon’s demography in favor of the Muslim population. The Cold War had a powerful disintegrative effect on Lebanon.

It would have been hard for a child to grasp such political and religious ramifications and what could lead to such bloodshed, but the effects were harsh for Challita, his family and friends, many of whom would disappear and many of whom would consciously plan to escape.

He observed a land, once thought of as the Switzerland of the Middle East, suddenly defined by barriers, neighborhoods dislodged, empty streets, no power and a general disintegration of life. Eddy has his friends — some lost to the elements. People had to be wary of everything and everyone.

Some of Challita’s stories defy all decency but capture the mood of a land at war — picking out a skull in a cemetery to use as a bowling ball.

Challita has the chance for a quick getaway vacation with his sister at a friend’s house in Cyprus. While the time out of Lebanon gives him a chance to breathe and get a taste of happier days, it also sets in motion a thought that he can — and needs to — escape the dark world in which he is bound.

The author takes us through his various stops — Helsinki, Paris and eventually the United States – and gives readers hope and encouragement that when one has such strong conviction about a particular task or goal, nothing can stand in the way.

In From Beirut to America, readers are invited to come along on a most unusual journey, in which a wide spectrum of emotions overlays a true tale of turmoil, escape and survival. In Edward Challita’s work, readers will be able to follow and contemplate a young man’s road to personal freedom. It’s worth the trip.

Edward Challita is a Lebanese-American author whose life has been marked by a 26-year journey from a life in Lebanon during the civil war, to France and then the United States. His experience is a unique one, marked by peril and strife, but then also by hope and redemption in the end. In his books, Edward shares his life story and the lessons he learned along the way. Through his writing, he hopes to inspire others to overcome their own struggles and find hope and redemption in their own lives. Visit

From Beirut to America by Edward Challita

Publish Date: Survival Biographies, Traveler & Explorer Biographies, Memoirs

Genre: Biography, Nonfiction

Author: Edward Challita

Page Count: 152 pages

Publisher: July 16, 2023

ISBN: 9798852541130

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