"The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas"

May 12, 2014

Today on our program, an interesting chat with Anand Giridharadas, a columnist for The New York Times who's also the author of "India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking" (which the Financial Times called "a finely observed portrait of the modern nation"). Giridharadas joins us to talk about his new book, which is just out. It's called "The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas," and it profiles a Bangladesh immigrant living and working in Dallas as well as the deeply troubled racist who, in the days after 9/11, tried to kill this immigrant while on a self-described "hunting Arabs" spree. This highly regarded work of socially and culturally rooted nonfiction --- exploring America's current events as well as its soul in a way that some have likened to "In Cold Blood" --- was thus summarized in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Competing visions of the American Dream clash in this rich account of a hate crime and its unlikely reverberations.... [The author's] evocative reportage captures the starkly contrasting, but complementary struggles of [the book's two leading] 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."