2010 Common Reading Initiative

Overview & Guide

Outcasts United by Warren St. JohnAbout the Book

This year's common book is Outcasts United by Warren St. John. The book chronicles a refugee soccer team, a remarkable woman coach and a small southern town turned upside down by the process of refugee resettlement.

In the 1990s, that town, Clarkston, Georgia, became a resettlement center for refugees and a modern-day Ellis Island for scores of families from war zones in Liberia, Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to help keep Clarkston’s boys off the streets. These boys named themselves the Fugees — short for refugees.

Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees, their families and their charismatic coach as they struggle to build new lives in a fading town overwhelmed by change. Theirs is a story about resilience in the face of extraordinary hardship, the power of one person to make a difference and the daunting challenge of creating community in a place where people seem to have so little in common.

Download the book guide here.


About the Common Reading Initiative

As a first-year student, you will be participating in the college’s Common Reading Initiative, a program of lectures, discussions, exhibits, films and concerts that complement the book. Books will be provided to first year students by the college during Summer Orientation.

History of the Initiative

We’ve designed the program to introduce you to the academic and intellectual culture of the college through a common reading experience. A committee of faculty, staff and current JSC students met over the course of the fall semester to choose a book for the entire incoming class to read during the summer. This fall, you will have many opportunities to share and compare ideas about the common book. Your Peer Orientation Leaders, as well as many faculty and staff, will also have read the book, providing a broad base for discussion and integration into the JSC community.

Previous Years' Books


How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, Moustafa Bayoumi



1 Dead in Attic, Chris Rose



A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah