Next CRP selection studies faith, immigration issues

Anand Giridharadas' book, 'The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas,' is next year's CRP selection.
Anand Giridharadas' book, 'The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas,' is next year's CRP selection.

The Community Reading Project selection for the next academic year will challenge readers on issues of religious faith and identity, immigration and interfaith connections.

"The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas," by journalist Anand Giridharadas, is the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. After September 11, Bhuiyan is shot and nearly killed in Dallas by Mark Stroman, an avowed "American terrorist."

In his book, Giridharadas follows Bhuiyan and Stroman as they rebuild their lives: Stroman, who sits on prison's death row, and Bhuiyan, who wages a campaign to free his attacker from the death penalty after an Islamic pilgrimage.

Jennifer Jameslyn, interim coordinator for CRP, said "True American" will engage readers to think about what it means to be an American, and if the so-called American dream of hard work leading to success is a reality. 

She also hopes this book engages people in faith communities on campus and in West Michigan, as religious identity and practice is a key theme; and people in the criminal justice field, as it touches on prison reform and the death penalty.

Copies of "The True American" are available for faculty and staff members who want to preview the book for classes or small group discussions. Contact Anita Benes, at benesa@gvsu.edu, to have a copy delivered.

Giridharadas will visit campus in 2017 to give a presentation about the book. Published in 2014, it was named "Best Nonfiction of the Year" by the Boston Globe, and earned Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, and "Notable Book" by the New York Times. Giridharadas is a columnist for Times.

For more information about the CRP, visit www.gvsu.edu/read.