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Dagenham author takes a look at post 9/11 USA

PUBLISHED: 15:02 13 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:31 11 August 2010

SNIPER attacks, 9/11, and the American dream have all found their place in a new book by a Dagenham author. Anne Dixey, 43, who was born in Dagenham, has just released an touching, funny and disturbing account of her time in the USA that contrasts the sid

SNIPER attacks, 9/11, and the American dream have all found their place in a new book by a Dagenham author.

Anne Dixey, 43, who was born in Dagenham, has just released an touching, funny and disturbing account of her time in the USA that contrasts the sides of American culture.

The book, titled United States of Hysteria, tracks the differences between the American's community spirit with the fear and reaction to major security threats such as 911 and the Washington Sniper.

Mrs Dixey said: "I moved out to Washington DC shortly before the 9/11 attacks. I went with my husband and my two children who were two and four years old at the time. I went because I had a curiosity about America that I think most people from the UK share. I certainly did not intend to write a book."

The town that the family moved into was idyllic but soon after they arrived 9/11 took place and the whole country was rocked. The ideal American town was suddenly transformed as its residents became terrorised.

Mrs Dixey added: "It was a strange environment in which to make friends. There was 9/11, threats of Anthrax attacks and even one occasion where we were told that we should stock up as we might have to stay in sealed room for a number of days. But during all this community spirit and togetherness in the area was amazing.

"The two sides of the country were best reflected for me in a moment that took place while the Washington Sniper was on the loose.

"Parents from across the neighbourhood lined a route for schoolchildren to help them get to school. It was a perfect community culture in a place that felt under a great deal of threat."

Ironically Mrs Dixey returned to London in the midst of yet more terrorist action just after the 7/7 bombings and she now lives in Shepherds Bush.

"On returning I felt more at home but I think it's fair to say that, in reflection, an American coming to England wouldn't have received the same welcome and care that I enjoyed.

"The book explores that culture and it gives the best account of both sides of the America I came to know."

United States of Hysteria is on sale now from Monday Books priced £7.99.


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