• Title: The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas
  • Author: Anand Giridharadas
  • ISBN: 9780393239508
  • Page: 410
  • Format: Hardcover
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    The True American Murder and Mercy in Texas The True American tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology But days after an avowed American terrorist
    The True American tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology But days after 9 11, an avowed American terrorist named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him Two other victimsThe True American tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology But days after 9 11, an avowed American terrorist named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him Two other victims, at other gas stations, aren t so lucky, dying at once.The True American traces the making of these two men, Stroman and Bhuiyan, and of their fateful encounter It follows them as they rebuild shattered lives one striving on Death Row to become a better man, the other to heal and pull himself up from the lowest rung on the ladder of an unfamiliar country.Ten years after the shooting, an Islamic pilgrimage seeds in Bhuiyan a strange idea if he is ever to be whole, he must reenter Stroman s life He longs to confront Stroman and speak to him face to face about the attack that changed their lives Bhuiyan publicly forgives Stroman, in the name of his religion and its notion of mercy Then he wages a legal and public relations campaign, against the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, to have his attacker spared from the death penalty.Ranging from Texas s juvenile justice system to the swirling crowd of pilgrims at the Hajj in Mecca from a biker bar to an immigrant mosque in Dallas from young military cadets in Bangladesh to elite paratroopers in Israel from a wealthy household of chicken importers in Karachi, Pakistan, to the sober residences of Brownwood, Texas, The True American is a rich, colorful, profoundly moving exploration of the American dream in its many dimensions Ultimately it tells a story about our love hate relationship with immigrants, about the encounter of Islam and the West, about how or whether we choose what we become.

    One Reply to “The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas”

    1. This was a very interesting book and well-worth reading, though it did have some notable flaws. First, the writing is often overwrought. Giridharadas is telling a fascinating story about two men whose lives intersect in tragedy, and he should know that that is enough. Instead, he often seems determined to prompt the reader exactly what to conclude. Second, the final third of the book seems oddly unfocused. Initially, the story reads as a double profile of Bhuiyan, the victim, and Stroman, the pe [...]

    2. Who is the "true American?" Is it the immigrant who comes from Bangladesh, having studied engineering and served as a fighter pilot, only to work in a gas station and be shot by an American who hates "Arabs?" Is it the American whose parents fight drug use and distractions and make him hate anyone who's different from him? Is it the law professor committed to ending the death penalty? Is it the children of the murderer, who are also victims of the family plagues? Is it the victim of a murder att [...]

    3. This is a remarkable story and one well worth reading and understanding, but to my mind the comparisons to Capote's "In Cold Blood" go too far. The writing came across as odd and unsettling to me, at once spare and verbose. It seemed like at several times in the book the same detail would be repeated 2 or 3 times within a few paragraphs, not adding to the point, but coming off as just careless or clumsy. Also, if you're a nonreligious person like me expecting to read a good story about compassio [...]

    4. The world is a mighty strange place sometimes.Whatever issues there may be with the presentation, there is no doubt that this us a fascinating story. I'm impressed by Anand's endeavor to present each individual from their own perspective without judgement. He is far more successful at this than I could ever imagine being. I can't say I find myself in total agreement with any of the individuals represented here, but I do feel that they were presented to me in a way that honors everyone's percepti [...]

    5. Wow! This book had me thinking. I got mad at myself for being emotional at times. Makes you question your beliefs. Great read!

    6. I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It's a story about an immigrant from Bangladesh who comes to America for the promise of a better life, like so many before and after him, and he ends up becoming the victim of a hate crime in Dallas after 9-11. The author did a great job with the juxtaposition of the stories of these two men. I think it was so interesting to me because it didn't just focus on the facts of the story, but of the characters of the two men from many different per [...]

    7. An amazingly depressing and uplifting book about America as told to us through the eyes of two Americans. One is a native of Texas, hard on his luck, a drug user and criminal who decides to kill Arabs after 9/11. The other is a Bangladeshi immigrant who, mistaken for Arab, is shot by the first. As the story progresses we see America as place where opportunity is dead and as a place where reinvention becomes opportunity. Memorable.Observation by the author: “The low rungs on the career ladder t [...]

    8. I had high hopes for this book and was disappointed.It only scratched the surface as to why many immigrants are able to succeed in the US while those born here often do not.The stilted language used for the main guy felt unnatural as it was not intended to be direct quotes (I don't think).Don't get me started on the messages being received from God by all parties. Forgiveness for the murderer, a mission to forgive for the victim (why was he spared if not for such a mission?) Blah, blah, blah.The [...]

    9. Had to give it a 4, b/c I liked it better than others in my book club and they gave it a 3. But I think, as one person put it, a more apt rating would be a strong 3 (or a 3.5).

    10. The title seems to say it all-The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, by Anand Giridharadas. The story should have been easy- bad racist white guy kills poor brown immigrants; survivor immigrant forgives and tries to save his attacker and bad guy repents- end of story. But, this story is so much more. First, these are real people so no one is an absolute representative of their demographics or labels- Muslim, Christian, white, poor, American, immigrant It would be a disservice to villainiz [...]

    11. The author's moving speech at a recent conference inspired me to read this book.Giridharadas' setting the stage throughout his telling of this amazing story helps to give significant contextual meaning beyond the people directly involved. It really speaks to so many of the issues America faces today. From the fateful meeting of the innocent American immigrant Muslim victim and the bigoted angry white American male murderer comes a story that gives hope for a future of understanding.Giridharadas [...]

    12. Excellent portrait of the opacity of the American dream.This was an interesting read about a story many may have not heard about. It showed with excellent detail the struggles that many Americans face as they strive to make itor survive in America. The author showed how there is not clear definition of what the American dream truly is. The overbearing concept will be interpreted differently by different people, as it was by different characters of varying backgrounds in the story.In addition, th [...]

    13. Though I admire the project behind examining this hate-crime incident, I cannot tolerate the writing and am stopping around page 50. To wit: paragraphs that appear in arbitrary order or that fall out of logical order (see pages 34-35); repetitions and oversimplified syntax ("[He] was driving home to pick up a refrigerator to bring back to A Paint and Body Shop. This was the name of the paint and body shop he owned []"; and stilted, disingenuous language that may be a result of trying to maintain [...]

    14. I really enjoyed what this book had to say about cycles and trying to break old habits. A lot of the book focuses on the cycle of poverty Mark Stroman and his family is stuck in, where parents have a kid and then they can't take care of the child and the grandparents take the child in. I like that Rais really tries to help Amber and the whole Stroman family to get out of that cycle and to leave that whole dynamic. Rais managed to leave the debt he accumulated from his injury and worked his way u [...]

    15. One of the best written and reported stories of crime, redemption, and forgiveness I've ever read. Comparisons to "In Cold Blood" have been made, and, in its prose and its reporting the comparison is fair. But this story reaches beyond "In Cold Blood's" grasp to tell an even greater story of our country, its place in the world, and how we define ourselves as its citizens, as well as themes of hate and bigotry, religion, poverty, duty, generational change, and more.It's rare for a story so full o [...]

    16. 3.5 but rounded up to 4. This book was well written and documents a fascinating and poignant true story. It also points out serious issues with our juvenile detention system, criminal justice system, healthcare, etc. However, for me, impossible not to compare to the incomparable unbroken (Laura hillenbrand). Which was an extraordinary story and extraordinarily told/researched. I was very interested, but felt like not enough was resolved , perhaps waiting awhile and seeing where the stories ended [...]

    17. Was going to give this a two, but my book club discussion made me re-evaluate. Really interesting story that touches on a range of issues - immigration, the death penalty, what it means to be a "true American," and poverty in America. But the writing could have been more subtle and less repetitive. And this really should have been at least 100 pages shorter. Interesting read but not sure if I will remember it a few months from now.

    18. Clearly a book we all need to read. Hate born of ignorance meets forgiveness and redemption. An amazing true tale reads nearly like a novel, hard too put down. The repercussions of 9/11 and the unflattering light it has shone on our nation. It takes the resolve of a new immigrant, victim of a violent crime, to show us who we could be if we choose to rise above our misconceptions of ourselves and others.

    19. Someone please give this book to Donald Trump. It flies in the face of everything he says and all the stereotypes he believes. A foreigner who tries to stop American jobs from being outsourced.A Muslim who fights for his attacker's life.A red-neck who uses guns to kill others, not to defend himself.The list goes on. Have you found more? Please post them in the comments thread. Not read the book yet,

    20. My university recently chose this as the 2016-7 Freshman Reader. It outlines from multiple perspectives the murders, attempted murder, and aftermath of the acts of "Arab Slayer" Mark Stroman shortly after 9/11. It touches on poverty, the death penalty, morality, religion, race, outsourcing, drugs, criminal justice, and a variety of other themes. Definitely a deep and worthwhile read.

    21. Fascinating and well-written, all I could think of while reading this book was "Man, this would make a great movie." And lo and behold, it's going to be a movie, by the great Katherine Bigelow! With Tom Hardy! Yay!

    22. This book sits at the intersection of several of my interest - criminal justice and the death penalty (especially in TX), Muslims in America post 9/11, forgiveness and redemption. A compelling true story. Would be good for book clubs, including faith-based clubs.

    23. Astounding read. Juxtaposes two men - victim and victimizer - who uphold different ideas of what it means to be a "true" American. Brilliant, profound, powerful.

    24. The book started off strong and mid-way lost me. It became a book more about the killer's family and kids than the story I thought I was reading. Ended up not finishing it.

    25. 'The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas' was our book club read for November. Rais is a hard working Bangladeshi working in Dallas when he is shot in the face by Mark Stroman. Stroman is quickly arrested and convicted, but the two men lives are intertwined when Rais works with a team of people to help spare Stroman from the death penalty. I've read several true crime novels and this was definitely one of the better ones. Like all authors, Giridharadas injects some of his own disdain (he cl [...]

    26. This is a really important story. Focusing on three hate crimes committed by one white supremacist in Texas after 9-11, the author focuses on the one victim who lived and his journey in understanding what it means to be an American and deeper into his Muslim faith. Giridharadas does a great job in reflecting on both the life of the murderer and his one surviving victim. He creates a series on contrasts and similarities between the two. Eventually the survivor ends up working to keep his attacker [...]

    27. This had so much potential, but was really disappointing. Based on the story of a hate crime after 9-11 in which the Bangladeshi victim forgives the Texas shooter and advocates for a revocation of his death penalty, the story promised to be along the lines of Just Mercy or Hillbilly Elegy. But it was unevenly written--from NY Times syntax/diction to everyday conversation to sentences that were hard to follow because of their awkward phrasing. The quotes he included didn't use "sic" to show spell [...]

    28. A well-woven story I really enjoyed reading this story, and was impressed by the writer's compassion toward the Stroman family. It would be easy to dismiss Mark Stroman as the worst of America, and in my mind, I did. It was worth continuing to read to further understand the complications of a marginalized person's life. I appreciated learning about Rais and how he also managed the complications of his life back in Bangladesh and here in the US as he recovered from this hate crime, and became pro [...]

    29. The writing is very convoluted at times. The story is much like the Pulitzer Prize winning "The Executioner's Song" by Norman Mailer; but not nearly as well written. Too much jumping back and forth between irrelevant characters. The killer gets his weapon from a former police officer and by the end of the book we are learning more about Erica who is stated not even to be the killer's offspring. I'm not sure of my personal take away from this book. If you abhor the death penalty, you still will. [...]

    30. I read this book for my book club. I'm not sure I would have read it otherwise. I do like true crime books, but there wasn't much of the investigative material about the crime. The book mostly dealt with the aftermath. I found it to be more of a human interest piece. I also found it very dry. I see that the author is a reporter, and that strongly informs the narrative. The people didn't come alive for me. I kept wondering why I should care about any of them. The book touched on several social is [...]

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