The True American

The True American

Murder and Mercy in Texas

Book - 2014
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WW Norton
A 2014 New York Times Book Review Notable Book and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the YearImagine that a terrorist tried to kill you. If you could face him again, on your terms, what would you do?
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 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.

Baker & Taylor
Describes how a Bangladeshi immigrant, shot in the Dallas mini mart where he worked in the days after September 11 in a revenge crime, forgives his assailant and petitions the State of Texas to spare his attacker the death penalty. 20,000 first printing.

Book News
Author Giriharadas, a New York Times journalist, tells the intertwining stories of Mark Stroman, a drug-addled loser bent on political revenge against Islamic immigrants in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a former Bangladesh Air Force officer who worked at a market in Dallas. Mere weeks after 9/11 attacks in 2001, Stroman shot and killed two Islamic gas station attendants, then shot Bhuiyan and left him for dead. The author follows Bhuiyan as he seeks to confront and publicly forgive Stroman and to have Stroman spared from the death penalty. The plain language narrative leaves no stone unturned, with details from both men’s lives and vivid descriptions of the social, economic, and political fabric of small town Texas life. The account is based on the author’s own interviews, as well as legal documents, news reports, and video footage. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Describes how a Bangladeshi immigrant, shot in the Dallas mini mart where he worked in the days after September 11 in a revenge crime, forgave his assailant and petitioned the state of Texas to spare his attacker the death penalty.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393239508
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 G443t
Characteristics: 319 pages ; 25 cm


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Aug 21, 2014

This is a must read.
Easy but elegant style....a gripping but thoughtful real story . The irony of the two lives is not lost on the reader.Real lessons about what happens in early childhood bears later rot in adolescence and adulthood. Excellent...just get this book!

Jun 18, 2014

wonderful interview with the author on the PBS NewsHour June 16. Try to watch it!


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