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The True American

Murder and Mercy in Texas

Anand Giridharadas


List Price: 16.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (5/5/2014)


"Gives you new eyes on your nation, makes you wonder about both the recent South Asian immigrant behind the counter at the food mart and the tattooed white man behind you in line. It reminds you that there are some Americas where mercy flows freely, and other Americas where it has turned to ice." —Eboo Patel, The Washington Post

Days after 9/11, an avowed "American terrorist" named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into a Dallas minimart and shoots Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi immigrant, maiming and nearly killing him. Ten years after the shooting, Bhuiyan wages a campaign against the State of Texas to have his attacker spared from the death penalty. The True American is a rich, colorful, profoundly moving exploration of the American dream in its many dimensions.

Winner of the NYPL Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, Boston Globe, NPR, and Publishers Weekly.

Praise For The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas

The suspense in this book runs deeper than whether Stroman will live or die. Mr. Giridharadas is most interested in examining the viability of the American dream…an enterprising and clear-eyed reporter.
— Stephen Harrington - Wall Street Journal

Chilling…[D]ares to ask whether Americans can still claim the American dream.

Moving and indelible…manifestly inspirational…[A] finely textured portrait of lower-class despair.
— Laura Miller - Salon

A riveting tale, dense with detail, from Giridharadas’ unflinching descriptions of the struggling neighborhoods on the eastern edge of Dallas, to Stroman’s troubled and brutal childhood, to the ebullient optimism of these new Americans determined to create better lives.
— Michael E. Young - Dallas Morning News

Masterful reporting…Thoroughly compelling.
— Kate Tuttle - Boston Globe

Those interested in both the best and worst of what it means to be American should read The True American…[T]he book is too well-written and the characters are too fascinating to miss.

— Amy Kamp - Austin Chronicle

A truly fine book.
— David Brooks

An enthralling real-life tale of murder and forgiveness…enthralling.
— Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

Exhilarating and deeply affecting, Giridharadas’s book is not only a captivating narrative; it reminds us of the immigrant’s journey at the heart of the American story and how, in the wake of violent tragedy, one new to our country can help us to see through to the best in ourselves, even when the law requires far less.
— Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

Simply impossible to put down. Just when we thought that we had read everything we could possibly absorb about 9/11, The True American finds a new and compelling perspective, one that explores two sharply opposed dimensions of the American experience in a style that neither celebrates nor condemns. We readers become the jury, weighing what it means to be a true American today.

— Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of the New America Foundation

An unforgettable story about two men caught in the jaws of history. In this compassionate, tenacious, and deeply intelligent book, Giridharadas casts brilliant new illumination on what we mean by ‘American.’
— Teju Cole, author of Open City

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393350791, 336pp.

Publication Date: April 6, 2015

About the Author

Anand Giridharadas is a writer, on-air political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He is the author of India Calling, The True American, and Winners Take All. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Priya Parker, and two children.