Author of GVSU common read will give presentations in Holland, Allendale

Anand Giridharadas

By Michele Coffill

Grand Valley State University


The author of the Community Reading Project selection at Grand Valley State University will give presentations in Holland and on campus next week.


Journalist Anand Giridharadas will discuss The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas March 22 at the Herrick District Library in Holland and March 23 at the Kirkhof Center. Each event is free and open to the public, details are below.

March 22, 7-9 p.m., Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave. in Holland.

March 23, 7-9 p.m., Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room, doors open at 6 p.m.


The book is the true 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.” Stroman is arrested and placed on death row in Texas.


Jennifer Jameslyn, director of Integrative Learning and Advising and coordinator of the CRP committee, said the book is very relevant as it delves into immigration, white nationalism and Islamophobia.


Justin Pettibone, affiliate faculty of liberal studies, used The True American in his LIB 100 and 201 classes. He said the material connects easily with discussions of ethical reasoning.


“We have been using the book as a way to gain insight into what makes an action right/wrong,” Pettibone said. “To do this we’ll be discussing issues related to empathy, respect for difference, and responding rationally to situations we face, as practices of ethical thinking.”


Giridharadas is a New York Times columnist who appears regularly on CNN, MSNBC and NPR. He wrote an article in February for the Atlantic about the murder of an Indian immigrant in Kansas, click here.


More information about Giridharadas’ visits or The True American is online at