Dave Eggers is the author of the The Circle, A Hologram of the King, Zeitoun, What is the What, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and The Monk of Mokha, a true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the struggles of everyday Yemenis living through civil war, and the courageous journey of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Muslim and a U.S. citizen following the most American of dreams.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty-four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a chance encounter awakens his interest in coffee and its rich history in Yemen. Reinventing himself, he sets out to learn about coffee cultivation, roasting and importing. He travels to Yemen and visits farms in every corner of the country, collecting samples, eager to improve cultivation methods and help Yemeni farmers bring their coffee back to its former glory. And he is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The U.S. embassy closes, Saudi bombs begin to rain down on the country and Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen.