🚨 Introducing "The True American" book club 🚨
I'm serializing my book on hatred and reconciliation after 9/11
In the feverish days after 9/11, twenty years ago this autumn, an epic saga of hatred, vengeance, redemption, and reconcilation would begin on the fringes of Dallas, Texas.
All these years later, the story of Mark Stroman’s quest to launch a one-man counter-jihad on behalf of white America, and the improbable return of one of his victims into his life, bearing forgiveness and a message for the country at large, still haunts me.
With the events that have engulfed America and the world since 2001, the story of Mark Stroman and Rais Bhuiyan has become a microcosm of everything — the roots of white resentment in a changing country, the costs of a threadbare healthcare system, the wonders and terrors of being an immigrant, the nature of mercy and the matter of who gets second chances, a forever war and its unfathomable costs, and, above all, the question of whether America can become a country made of the world and stay whole.
I was privileged to report and tell this story in my second book, “The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas.” As the questions it investigated have grown more and more pressing and fraught, I’ve been looking for a way to engage with them — and with you, my readers — again.
So get this: I convinced my very generous publisher to make eight slices of the book free and open to all at The Ink. We will publish them over eight days. This used to be how many books were presented to the world — serialized. These excerpts will be available to you in two different forms — text and audiobook, courtesy of Audible.
Then, on Tuesday, August 31, at 1 p.m. ET — 10 a.m. West Coast time, 6 p.m. London time — I will host the first of a handful of Zoom book club discussions.
The great book industry chronicler Publishers Weekly has an interview with me about the whole experiment here.
So — thanks to my publisher, W.W. Norton — you can join in the conversation just by watching this space. If, after the first eight excerpts, you want to continue with it, find the book at your local library or at one of these retailers, and join us for the subsequent chats.
I will tell you, in closing, that when I first encountered the extraordinary story of Rais and Mark, I knew I had found not just a tale of two men but also a parable of two Americas. This story had much to say to us back in 2014, when the book was published. But, frankly, I believe it has even more to tell us now, especially with the heart-wrenching news from Afghanistan — about what we have allowed ourselves to become in the years since the attacks of 2001, and what other roads we may yet choose.
Stay tuned. “The True American” book club starts right here — tomorrow.