Norton Publishers
Published by
Norton (2014-05)
Original language
Fiction: narrative themes


Murder and Merxy in Texas

by Giridharadas, Anand

In the vein of Zeitoun and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a tour de force of narrative reportage.

Anand Giridharadas’s deeply moving new work of narrative nonfiction tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a former Bangladeshi Air Force officer who comes to America with a dream of starting a new life. That dream falters when, after 9/11, a self-declared “American terrorist” named Mark Stroman walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan works and shoots him in the face, nearly ending his life.
Then, a decade after the shooting, in a remarkable act of mercy, Bhuiyan forgives Stroman and wages a legal battle against Governor Rick Perry, in the name of Shariah law and the U.S. Constitution, attempting to spare from execution the man who tried to kill him.

With chilling parallels across Europe, The True American is a story about society's love-hate relationship with immigrants, about the meeting of Islam and the West, and about whether we choose who we become or let ourselves be hemmed in by history.

Anand Giridharadas writes the Admit One column for the New York Times’s arts pages and the Currents column for its global edition. He is the author of India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of A Nation’s Remaking. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


Meticulously reconstructs two lives that collided in horrific fashion… A compelling, nuanced look at the shifting, volatile meaning of American identity In the post-9/11 era.

Review: Kirkus

Anand Giridharadas has written a book that is 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.

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

This is an enthralling real-life tale of murder and forgiveness and what it means to be an American. Brilliantly reported and powerfully told, this Texas drama personalizes the ethnic diversity that has always been the source of our nation's strength and many of its tensions. It's also a breathtaking account of how a crazed murderer came to know a Muslim immigrant he tried to kill.

Quote: Walter Isaacson

Remarkable…a richly detailed, affecting account…Giridharadas seeks less to uplift than illuminate…Which of these men is the "true American" of the title? That there is no simple answer to that question is Giridharadas's finest accomplishment.

Review: New York Times Book Review

THE TRUE AMERICAN has been optioned by one of Hollywood’s hottest producers, Megan Ellison —“American Hustle,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” etc., and director, Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”). Tom Hardy is “attached” to the film to star as Mark Stroman

Quote: Hollywood Reporter

Competing visions of the American Dream clash in this rich account of a hate crime and its unlikely reverberations….Giridharadas’ s evocative reportage captures the starkly contrasting, but complementary struggles of these men with sympathy and insight, setting them in a Texas landscape of strip malls and gas stations that is at once a moonscape of social anomie and a welcoming blank slate for a newcomer seeking to assimilate. The result is a classic story of arrival with a fresh and absorbing twist.

Review: Publishers Weekly, starred review

A compelling narrative of crime, forgiveness and redemption.

Review: BookPage

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.

Quote: Henry Louis Gates, Jr

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