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Grant Park

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  558 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Grant Park is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts's gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King's final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 elec
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Agate Bolden
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Bond It's a fictional story that takes place in the context of real historic events.

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Mark Scheel
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mr. Pitts writes a nationally syndicated column based in the Miami Herald. I not infrequently disagree with his take on many contemporary domestic issues; however, I always appreciated his excellent command of craft. When his new novel Grant Park came out, I attended his lecture and signing tour here in Kansas City and procured the book from the library. I just finished reading it and must give the man very high marks. His perspective on race relations in America stretching from the early sixtie ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Works both as a political thriller and a commentary on black/white relations. I teared up several times while reading it. It also made me laugh out loud more than once. It succeeded particularly well in illuminating my understanding of different points of view related to racial issues. Truly excellent.
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book which features 3 employees of a fictional newspaper in Chicago at the end of 2008 election seems more pertinent now with the election of Donald Trump
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Donna Bijas
Literature at its best lets us step outside ourselves and see the world from another perspective. Pitts has accomplished that with Grant Park, comparing and contrasting America of 1968 and 2008 through the eyes of civil rights activists and the disenfranchised from both ends of the political spectrum. I can only wish that books like this would be more widely read by those who try to push America back to the '50's.
Alretha Thomas
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A writer friend of mine told me about Leonard Pitts’ book, Grant Park. The first thing that struck me was the title. Who is Grant Park? I’m a California girl, so I had no idea Grant Park is a place and not a who. It’s a large park in Chicago. Actually, I should have known this because it’s where President Obama held his Election Day victory speech, and in this historical novel, there’s a plot to murder President Obama if he’s elected.

The book opens with a riveting scene featuring Dr. Martin Luth
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What is a book supposed to do? Take us to a world that is not ours, entertain us, thrill us, scare us. Grant Park did all that for me. Leonard Pitts write a novel about race relations and personal relations between races in the US taking me to understanding, questioning my understanding and more questions. His novel takes place in 1968 Memphis with the trash employee strike that brought MLK to Memphis and his subsequent assassination. We skip forward to current day Chicago on the eve of Obama's ...more
Emma B
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great read. The author does a great job of incorporating flashbacks from 40 years earlier to show how the protagonist got to the point he's at today. The story takes place on election day in 2008, the day Barack Obama is elected president, when a black newspaper journalist slips a scathing editorial into the Chicago paper, and is kidnapped by two unscrupulous characters who plan to assassinate the president-elect and blow themselves up in the process. The story started off with a bang and kept m ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very thought provoking look at black and white relations in America. Flashes back and forth between 1968 Memphis sanitation strike leading up to MLK's assassination there and election day 2007 as Barack Obama is elected as President. Multiple characters, both black and white, provide insight to struggles relating to race in ways that are very relevant to today's climate in America. I think this book will stay with me for a very long time!
Mary Larrick
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Thought provoking. Leonard Pitts at his finest!
Tom N
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
GRANT PARK, by Leonard Pitts, Jr., is a fascinating story of race relations between whites and African Americans, and the white supremacy and racism that all too often goes along with it, alternating between the civil rights era of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 2008 election of Barack Obama. Malcolm Toussaint, a sixty-year-old renowned African American journalist for the Chicago Post, who lives in his prized mansion and who has won two Pulitzer Prizes, is disgusted, tired, and discouraged by y ...more
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible read! I picked this up without knowing the synopsis after I read The Last Thing You Surrender by Pitts. Grant Park takes place mostly in Chicago on the eve of the 2008 Presidential Election. Malcom Toussaint is a Black journalist whose recent editorial has landed him in hot water. In the 1960's, he had protested and marched with King. 40 years later he is tired and frustrated by the continued issues with racism. Purely as a thriller, this would be an exceptional reading experi ...more
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

Grant Park is a story about looking back and looking forward. It’s about staring into the future with the eyes of the past, and wondering if the world that you hoped for is going to be anything close to the world that you get.

It’s about hope, and it’s about change. And it’s also about fear. Not just about what you fear, but what everyone else fears about you.

Two men’s careers are at the same crossroads. Malcolm Toussaint, an opinion columnist for the fictio
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Leonard Pitts is one of my all time favorite Op Ed columnists; I frequently agree with him, but he makes me think even when I don't agree. This is the first of his fiction that I have read and it is a thought provoking and exciting read.

The protagonists are Malcolm Toussaint, an African American Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for a Chicago paper, and Bob Carlson, his white editor. The scene shifts between Memphis in 1968, the sanitation workers' strike and the King assassination, and Chicago i
Joni Daniels
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found the writing to be compelling - intelligent and conveying wide ranges of emotion. The story itself was well paced and I felt like I couldn't read fast enough, eager to turn the page and see what would happen next. It's a gripping thriller. But it's more than that. Disillusioned and outraged by the news of another black man gunned down by police, prize winning columnist Malcolm Toussaint writes a column that his paper won't print. So he hacks his boss's computer and get' ...more
Sep 30, 2015 rated it liked it
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 ass
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The subject is timely. It starts off in 1968 and quickly moves to current times, then goes back and forth. The themes of racial hatred, racial hope and redirected dreams are powerful and relevant. I did the audio version and loved every minute of it. As I listened to a subplot about how ridiculous racial hatred can get, it was countered with why love and acceptance are more powerful than hate. Lots of good stuff in this book. It was as if it was ripped from the headlines. Listening to this audio ...more
Julia Prater
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very compelling and timely read. Couldn't put it down and can't stop thinking about it. Pitts explores the raw emotion of racism and relationships in very personal stories from both sides and across four decades. I commend Columbia's One Book One Community for the selection and encourage all to read. It should foster much valuable discussion and greater understanding of each other.
Joann Amidon
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
The compelling thing about this book for me was the recounting of historical events. And, it was a timely read because I have been watching the Ken Burns series on Vietnam. Pitts worked the two time lines well, never leaving the reader confused.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Pitts has expertly woven two time periods 1968 & 2008 together to explore race relations. Race is looked at from several different view points. He has done all this is a page turning thriller based on actual historical events. Highly recommended. ...more
Sep 30, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Some hokey scenarios in Grant Park but mostly hues close to the real and Pitts leans heavily on his career as a journalist to deliver a light thriller with a historical leaning.
Carol Nelson
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book club selection for our group.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is weirdly prescient. A thriller set on the eve of Obama's nomination as president-elect, the plot thickens as a pair white nationalists try to prevent the occurrence by means of an Oklahoma City style truck bomb. Obama's victory celebration in Chicago's Grant Park is the target. The author ties the event to the murder of MLK jr. through the eyes of a disbelieving and disgruntled newspaper columnist Malcolm Marcus Toussaint. Some of the story is just as obvious as that name; yes he was ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Compulsively readable novel of three time periods. Malcolm Toussaint sneaks a blistering editorial (stating that he he is tired of white people's bullshit) onto the front page of the Chicago newspaper on the day of Obama's election. Flashback chapters look at Malcolm's youth when he met Martin Luther King, Jr. His white editor, Bob, is another point of view character. We see Bob's present day as well as his youth when he fell in love with a Black woman.

All of the time periods were equally well
Ruth Chatlien
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me, this wasn't as compelling as his other two novels I'd read (Freeman and The Last Thing You Surrender), but I still think Pitts is a must-read.
I definitely agree that this book was a fast page turner! I was highly engaged in the story and continued to flip pages one after the other trying to find out what was going to happen next. The story starts off right in the thick of things and continues to progress in adventure and suspense as the story continues. Very high energy and dramatic in the way this story was told. The back and forth in the telling of time between 1968 and 2008 was done well, and I wasn't frustrated with trying to figu ...more
Helga Cohen
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My city of Columbia, SC picked this book for our One Book, One Community selection this year. It’s an annual event encouraging residents in our community to all read the same book and this initiative brings together readers from all over our area and promotes literacy. Leonard Pitts Jr is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the Miami Herald. In this political thriller, he takes us on a historical tour spanning four decades of US race relations through the eyes of 2 journalists. This book is ...more
Bruce Snyder
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grant Park

New Genre: Recent Historical Fiction

An unavoidable fact of human existence that the thinking, feeling homosapien must consider is how we are to deal with the reality of race in the social context. I guess it is possible to run away to a hidden refuge, isolated from other people and live out one's days in seclusion, but if you are part of the human community, you have to deal with race and the tribalism that stems from it to some degree. Regardless of your own race, a dialogue about rac
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it

I loved another book by Leonard Pitts, Jr. (Before I Forget). It also dealt with relationships between fathers and sons. While in this book, Malcolm's father played a smaller part in the book, his role was pivotal to his son's understanding of black pride and manhood, a lesson Malcolm learned over time. This is a book about race, and is important to the discussion of it. However, it is also a thriller of sorts, with a plot centered on the race to prevent a tragedy. I have discovered I'm not a bi
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an incredible book. The book travels in time from the days of Martin Luther King through the day of the first election of Barack Obama. Told through the experience of a journalist, who is frustrated with the never ending issue of racism in our country. He is kidnapped by two white nationalists who want to make a statement by setting off a bomb in Grant Park, killing Obama and as many others as possible. The story goes back to the days when the journalist father was a sanitation worker i ...more
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
An engaging, topical thriller set between Memphis, TN 1968 when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was in town for the sanitation workers strike and Election Night 2008 at Grant Park in Chicago, IL.

This book was infuriating, and terrifyingly plausible.

Lost a star from me solely because I didn't like the narrative style, jumping between years and memories out of order. I like loosely chronological stories, not jumping back and forth between decades every chapter.

I don't often re-read fiction but, so muc
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Leonard Pitts Jr. was born and raised in Southern California. He is a columnist for the Miami Herald and won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He was also a finalist for the Pulitzer in 1992. In 1997, Pitts took first place for commentary in division four (newspapers with a circulation of more than 300,000) in the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors' Ninth Annual Writing Award ...more

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“He fell into a stillness then, remembering clenched fists, and sit-ins, and pot smoke wafting on the breeze. And power to the people. And the hope, the abiding expectation, that things could be better, that you could, if you wanted it bad enough, if you worked for it hard enough, force this old world to change. Where did it all go? he wondered. When did it all change? When did we all get so small? . . . It wasn't so long ago, explained Malcolm, that you and I wouldn't have been here arguing over who was the bigger victim. It wasn't so long ago that white guys just like you were putting themselves on the line, and even dying, because they knew that unless everybody was free, nobody was. I just wonder sometimes, how we got from people like that to people like you. . . . Small-minded people. Hateful, closed-minded, self-righteous, damned ignorant, and proud of it. We were not like that. And white people were not like that, when I was your age. . . . Yeah, he said, there was drugs and there was sex, but there was also vision. We had ambition, not for making money, but for making a difference.” 2 likes
“Then the ’60s had gotten angry. Those other ’60s, the later ’60s, were not about marching forward, but fighting back. Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation, humiliation, obligation to the nation, they had exploded in a ball of confusion, riot, and rage that burned halfway through the next decade. And the band played on.” 1 likes
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