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Grant Park Hardcover – October 13, 2015
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"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 thrillsgasping, 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 NecessaryMalcolm 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
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The book opens with a riveting scene featuring Dr. Martin Luther King at the Lorraine hotel and his infamous assassination. Pitts, with his masterful descriptive writing, pulls me in and doesn’t let me go. I soak up every word and my mind is flooded with images of King on that fateful day. Then I’m introduced to the protagonist—Malcolm Toussaint who when the story shifts to the present day, I learn is a sixty-year-old columnist. But at this moment in time he’s a young man who wants to tell Dr. King that he’s returning to the “white school” he had left in a huff, full of anger and disgust with the system and the state of the nation. But before he has a chance to do so, Dr. King is shot by a gunman that Malcolm actually sees but fails to say anything. That failure to act haunts him his entire life.
The book then shifts to present day where Malcolm is now a 60-year-old disgruntled columnist for a Chicago newspaper. Not unlike his younger self—he’s tired of the system and the injustices faced by people of color. He writes a scathing column that the powers that be at the paper refuse to publish. However, Malcolm surreptitiously gets access to his boss’ computer and approves the column that runs in the paper the next day resulting in him and his boss being fired. What Malcolm doesn’t plan on is his subsequent kidnapping by two bumbling racists. From there the book takes off with the speed and force of a fighter jet.
I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough wondering what was going to happen to Malcolm. The story beautifully woven moves from the sixties to 2008 and back seamlessly. Malcolm is joined by several other pivotal characters, including his boss Bob who was fired from the paper and young reporter named Amy and Bob’s college sweetheart, Janeka.
Grant not only tells a story that’s engaging and enlightening, but he brilliantly uses his characters to shed a klieg light on race relations through their dialogues and self-reflection and analysis. As a reader you actually come away from the book with a better understanding about why African-American’s feel that they have been the victims of injustice and why whites feel they shouldn’t be blamed. Basically, you get both sides of the coin.
If you’re looking for a suspenseful, action-packed, superbly written novel that will stimulate you intellectually and emotionally, you must get a copy of Grant Park.
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!
Like Frederick Douglas said, Without struggle there is no progress.