The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, by Anand Giridharadas, is the 2015–16 book selection for The College Reads!

The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, by Anand Giridharadas, is the 2016–17 book selection for The College Reads! – the College of Charleston’s campuswide common reading program. Connecting students, faculty and staff around a single book, this program is designed to promote the idea that liberally educated people read broadly and discuss with one another ideas arising from the books they share. All faculty and incoming students are encouraged to read this selection, as it will be connected to the academic curriculum and campus activities throughout the academic year, beginning at Convocation 2016, when incoming students will turn in their convocation essays about the book.

Anand Giridharadas, author of
The True American.
Photo by Earl Wilson, The New York Times

As part of the program, the author and one of the subjects of The True AmericanRaisuddin Bhuiyan, will be on the College of Charleston campus on October 24 and 25, 2016, and there will be a public lecture and dialogue on Monday, October 24, at 7 p.m. in the Sottile Theatre. This event is open and free to all.

The College of Charleston College Reads! program has prepared an interactive reading guide and companion for The True American (W. W. Norton & Company), which is the winner of the 2015 NYPL Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.

The True American is the story of two men and one nation. The first man, Raisuddin Bhuiyan, is a Bangladeshi immigrant who became the victim of a hate crime committed by the second, Mark Stroman, a racist with a history of  violence who went on a shooting spree after the 9/11 attacks. Through the stories of these two men, Giridharadas exposes the complexities and realities of the continuum of American life and identities.

Listen to Anand Giridharadas‘ interview about the book and “What Makes a True American” on The Brian Lehrer Show (from New York Public Radio) here:

In addition to writing the “Admit One” column for the New York Times arts pages and the “Currents” column for its global edition, Giridharadas appears regularly on TV and the radio, including on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Morning Joe and The Daily Show. The author of India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking, he is a Henry Crown fellow of the Aspen Institute and has received honors from the Society of Publishers in Asia, the South Asian Journalists Association and the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism at Yale. He has given talks on the main stage of TED (see below) and at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, the University of Michigan, the Aspen Institute, Summit at Sea, the Sydney Opera House, the United Nations, the Asia Society, PopTech and Google.

All incoming students and roster faculty receive a copy of the book. Additional copies are made available for borrowing and sharing across campus. Get more information about The College Reads! program, the author, events, past book selections and how to participate here.