Best Anand Giridharadas books
The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas
Best price for this book: $ 7.98
Winner of the 2015 NYPL Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.
"Remarkable…a richly detailed, affecting account…Giridharadas seeks less to uplift than illuminate…Which of these men is the '"true American'" of the title? That there is no simple answer to that question is Giridharadas's finest accomplishment." ―Ayad Akhtar, New York Times Book Review
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.
India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking
Best price for this book: $ 4.95
"[A] smart, evocative and sharply observed memoir . . . Giridharadas's narrative gusto makes the familiar fresh."―The Wall Street Journal
Anand Giridharadas sensed something was afoot as his plane from America prepared to land in Bombay. An elderly passenger looked at him and said, "We're all trying to go that way," pointing to the rear. "You, you're going this way?"Giridharadas was returning to the land of his ancestors, amid an unlikely economic boom. But he was more interested in its cultural upheaval, as a new generation has sought to reconcile old traditions and customs with new ambitions and dreams.
In India Calling, he brings to life the people and the dilemmas of India today, through the prism of his émigré family history and his childhood memories of India. He introduces us to entrepreneurs, radicals, industrialists, and religious seekers, but, most of all, to Indian families. Through their stories, and his own, he paints an intimate portrait of a country becoming modern while striving to remain itself.
The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas (2015-04-06)
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Chinese Dreams (Kindle Single)
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The airplane fell into China through what seemed like a vat of sour milk: a thick, yellow-white haze of cloud and smog that gave a preview of all the frenetic world-changing activity below. As we taxied through Pudong’s airport, on the outskirts of Shanghai, the stew of rain and smog was thick enough to obscure the identities painted on other planes’ tails. They wove around the airport as strangers in daylight.
I had been to China twice before, both times only to Shanghai and briefly. Six years had passed, spent mostly in India, writing about that nation’s own great turning. And, with India on my mind, what arrested me upon landing was the bodies. Every time I land in India, a jolt comes in seeing the bodies in the aerobridge and around the airport: the bodies of ballerinas, worn by grown men. They are bodies that were once—and perhaps still are—hungry. They sober the visitor at once; they remind one of the degradations that endure. Now, arriving in China, the seeming absence of such bodies struck me. The men in the airport—the laborers, the gate staff, the taxi coordinators—were full-bodied men. They had none of the Indian worker’s meekness....
China’s accomplishment in modern times is formidable: that much everyone knows. But it is also elusive. The Chinese scholar Steven N. S. Cheung has compared the nation to a clumsy, stumbling high jumper who, despite appearances, makes a world record jump. “The man must have done something right, more right than all jumpers before,” Cheung wrote in a book published last year. “What is it? That, in a different context, is the China question.”
I traveled to China last summer as an outsider, seeking answers to that question. My time in India had schooled me in the dangers of interpreting so vast and complicated a country through Western-built frameworks. I knew all about China’s electronics sweatshops and factory suicides and cancer villages, its unaccountable death sentences and slow-oozing chemical spills and thick corruption, its prison abuse and censorship and treatment of minorities. What I didn’t have a handle on was how Chinese themselves viewed these heady new times. I wondered how they were defining and going after their Chinese dreams.
In four different settings, I eavesdropped on a fascinating conversation among the younger generation about what China has become and is becoming....
I began these conversations open-endedly and followed them wherever they led. But a common thread presented itself before long. In ways as diverse as the country itself, my interlocutors were consumed and frustrated by the thought that China is lost, adrift. It was variously claimed that everything has moved too fast; that the capitalist present is burying the Maoist past as crudely and dangerously as the Maoists buried the past that they inherited; that anything resembling the future has been adopted without a thought to consequences...
There seemed among those I met to be a yearning to slow it all down, to chew on what China has done and will mean, to supplement growing with reflection. Again and again, I detected a feeling of wanting more than economic success—of wanting to invent, and not merely wake up in, a new China.
“When you make a certain amount of money, you ask, ‘What’s next?’” Victor Koo, the effervescent co-founder of Youku, a Chinese equivalent of YouTube, told me high above the earth in his company’s headquarters in Beijing. “We’re getting to a point where we’ve moved up a level, where the basic needs of many people are taken care of. And so the question of purpose now comes up.”
The New York Times Magazine, January 2, 2011, Meet the Twiblings (Siblings who are the same age but not technically twins) (Photograph on Front Cover by Jeff Riedel for the New York Times, 1.2.11)
John Bowe & Anand Giridharadas Various Contributors including Melanie Thernstrom
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