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Grant Park Hardcover – October 13, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Advance Praise for Leonard Pitts, Jr.'s novel GRANT PARK:

"Grant Park is layered, insightful, and passionate. Pitts's subtly explosive language grips readers with the delicate subject matter and earnestly implores them to understand that '[race] has always meant something and it always will.' The scars will remain, but stunningly powerful examinations like Grant Park can be the salve that helps heal open wounds." —Shelf-Awareness, starred review

"Leonard Pitts has written a taut thriller that weaves together a stark look at America's tortured racial past with a fast-paced tale of terrorist conspiracy and love rekindled." —Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun Times

“. . . these ideas [are] perennially salient, and doubly so today, given a growing litany of American sorrows, from Ferguson to Charleston and beyond. . . . lays bare the extent to which Americans, black and white, still struggle to articulate the basic elements of our shared past." — Vinson Cunningham, New York Times Book Review

"The book is a page-turner, but also one that commands deep reflection on history, racism, and personal choices." —Blanca Torres, The Seattle Times

"A novel as significant as it is engrossing." —Booklist, starred review

"Pitts masterfully revisits [election night on November 4, 2008] and four decades of the civil rights struggle to create one of the most suspenseful and spectacular fictitious moments you'll experience this fall." —Patrik Henry Bass, Essence

"Pitts does a skillful job of building tension in the novel's historical sections as well as on Election Day. . . . He also does something not every political thriller writer does: builds believable, complex characters." — Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

"[A] high-stakes, hard-charging political thriller. . . . The sharply etched characters, careful attention to detail, and rich newspaper lore propel Pitts's socially relevant novel." —Publishers Weekly

"And then there are those thrills—gasping, mouth-gaping page-turners that author Leonard Pitts Jr. weaves through another realism: truthful, brutal plot-lines about racial issues of the last five decades, mulling over exactly how far we’ve really come. That makes this will-they-live-or-won't-they nail-biter into something that also made me think, and I absolutely loved it." —Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez

"An important book, one that honestly examines the current, tumultuous racial divide in our country and demands we not turn away from its harsh realities." —Amy Canfield, Miami Herald

"Grant Park is a book that’s both socially relevant and a lot of fun." —NewCity

"In the aftermath of this summer's racially motivated mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina, by an avowed white supremacist, there's near-eerie prescience in Pitts' historical novel. . .[Grant Park], with urgency and passion, makes readers aware that the mistakes of the past are neglected at the future's peril." —Kirkus Reviews

"Grant Park is a monumental work, so all-encompassing in scope that reviewers will be hard-pressed to do it justice. Pitts’s passion for a solution holds strong to the end of his novel even as his central character seems to give up. Readers will find Grant Park is real." —Bookpleasures.com

"Grant Park is a thriller, and readers will find themselves turning pages accordingly, although the interior stories of Bob and Malcolm regarding their younger selves may be the real action." —Brian Burnes, The Kansas City Star

Praise for Leonard Pitts, Jr.'s previous novel FREEMAN:

"A uniquely American epic. . . by a knowledgeable, compassionate and relentlessly truthful writer." —Howard Frank Mosher, Washington Post

"A pretty powerful love story." —Audie Cornish, All Things Considered

"Gorgeously written; a searing, wrenching read. Fans of Cold Mountain and Cormac McCarthy will love this story." —Jennifer Weiner, author of The Next Best Thing

"Leonard Pitts has a passion for history and a gift for storytelling. Both shine in this story of love and redemption." —Gwen Ifill, PBS, author of The Breakthrough

"Freeman is a myth of what’s humanly possible, a needed story about little-known heroism, and a shadow thrown forward to the struggles of American families in the 21st century." —John Timpane, Philadelphia Inquirer

"A wonderful, moving, riveting novel." —Gabrielle Union, actress

"Post-Civil War America is fertile ground for novelists, but few have tilled it with such grace and majesty as Leonard Pitts." —Herb Boyd, co-editor of By Any Means Necessary—Malcolm X: Real, not Reinvented

"This book is an eye-opening commentary on devotion during this tangled chapter of American history." —Wendi Thomas, Memphis Commercial Appeal

"Leonard Pitts, Jr. crafts a novel as well as the great storytellers of our time. Freeman captured my attention from the very first sentence and my heart throughout." —Sybil Wilkes, The Tom Joyner Morning Show

"Freeman reminds us of our humanity." —Nancy Olson, owner of Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, North Carolina

About the Author

Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006). Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Agate Bolden (October 13, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932841911
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932841916
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Malcolm Toussaint is a haunted man. He was in position to save Martin Luther King from assassination but failed to move fast enough get The civil rights leader out of harm’s way. Only nineteen years old on that fateful balcony in Memphis in April, 1968. The tragedy lodges in his subconscious. Its sting charges back into his awareness whenever he feels he hasn’t tried hard enough – which is most of the time. In his role as an internationally recognized Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Chicago Post, Toussaint exhausts himself trying to bring enlightenment and understanding into the racial strife rampant in the United States. Forty years of trying wear him down. Frustration finally wins out.
Grant Park by author Leonard Pitts, Jr. follows Malcolm Toussaint, a young, bright African-American, along with several of his contemporaries, through the decades beginning with the King assassination and culminating in Barack Obama’s 2008 triumph as the first African-American to be elected President.

The book begins on the eve of the election. Convinced Obama cannot win, Toussaint rips off a column that screams of his despair with white America. When his white editor, Bob Carlson, refuses to print it, Toussaint goes over his head to Lydia Barnett, the African-American Editor-in-Chief. “ Do not play more black than thou with me,” she scolds, realizing the Toussaint piece is too inflammatory. Toussaint storms off, downs a few beers and returns late at night, armed with Carlson’s password to the composition room, and plugs his column into the front page despite his editors’ rejections.

Readers, especially those whose first vote was cast for JFK, will be gripped immediately by this fast paced story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Because I, like millions of other boomers, was a teenager when Dr. King was assassinated, to the election of Barack Obama, this great novel peals back the skin of racial misunderstandings in America. How simple facts can be viewed so differently in this " great melting pot" we call America. This novel is not the emotional drama as Freeman [by Mr. Pitts] which is one of my all time favorite novels, Grant Park is so reflective of current events, social misunderstandings, human ignorance, and unbelievable behavior by some in our society you would think it was written yesterday. I could not help but think will our country ever get past racial hatred in my life time. Yet at the same time the love and care of some of the individuals that are a part of this fast paced thriller keeps you reading chapter after chapter not wanting to put it down until completed. At this time I can only say I hope Mr. Pitts has already started on his next project. Thank you for such a thought provoking novel. JSH
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"Grant Park" begins in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, where a young, angry and rebellious Malcolm Toussaint has a conversation with the most important figure of the Civil Rights Movement--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Grant Park plunges ahead to Election Day in Chicago, Illinois, 2008--Senator Barack Hussein Obama is the Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America. If elected, Obama would become the nation's first African-American President. However, Chicago's award-winning Black columnist Malcolm Toussaint refuses to believe he can win.

Leonard Pitts, Jr. weaves this tragic and poignant tale of RACE in America with his signature flip-flopping between the main character's past and his present. This flashback -to-flash forward technique has served Pitts well in all three of his novels.

The 2008 Malcolm Toussaint has written and "published" a nixed "I am tired of white folks' mess" editorial that will certainly ruin his career and take down others on this historic Election Day. Then he disappears! Voting Rights, Police Violence, Hate Crimes, Gun Control, Race Relations--Pitts makes his readers consider how little and how much has changed in this country--"indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all!
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Leonard Pitts Jr. has penned a thought provoking and timely book about race, the media and the human condition. The book is at once provacative and stirring. The antihero of Grant Park is an almost sixty year old award winning journalist who becomes exhausted... Exhausted of trying to prove his worth to white people and how he expresses his tiredness changes his life and the lives of others. Grant Park is well written and riveting. I enjoyed every word.
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Grant Park jumps between two time periods - 1968 and 2008. The main character, Malcolm Marcus Toussaint is present during two important times in American History - the election of Barack Obama and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In each event, Malcolm is called to be heroic, but he is at his wit's end with racism. Can he step up in 2008 like he couldn't in 1968?
Grant Park is an interesting read. It calls to question how much has changed racially in the 40 years since King's assassination. It is well-written, and I did not expect anything less from Pitts. It took a few chapters for the plot to pick up, though. I can't say that this is my favorite book by Pitts. However, if you are a fan of his work, then it's worth reading.
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