The best books on North Dakota

7 authors have picked their favorite books about North Dakota and why they recommend each book.

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Dirt to Soil

By Gabe Brown,

Book cover of Dirt to Soil: One Family's Journey Into Regenerative Agriculture

Gabe Brown didn’t set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown in desperate financial straits. He decided to quit the industrial model of food production and began experimenting with regenerative agriculture instead. He stopped using herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers. He no-tilled diverse crops into his fields and changed his grazing practices. By doing so, Brown transformed a degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life. Brown has grown several inches of new topsoil in only twenty years and turned the farm into a diverse, profitable enterprise. This book is a great introduction for all readers.

Dirt to Soil

By Gabe Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dirt to Soil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Dirt to Soil is the [regenerative farming] movements's holy text' The Observer

Author and farmer Gabe Brown, featured in the Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground

'A regenerative no-till pioneer' NBC News

'Dirt to Soil confirms my belief that animals are part of the natural land. We need to reintegrate livestock and crops on our farms and ranches, and Gabe Brown shows us how to do it well.' Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation

Soil health pioneer Gabe Brown did not set out to write a book on no-till, regenerative agriculture but that was the end product of his research…


Who am I?

I am an author and former environmental activist who dropped out of the ‘conflict industry’ in 1997 to start the Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a radical center among ranchers, environmentalists, scientists, and others around practices that improve resilience in working landscapes. For two decades, I worked on the front lines of collaborative conservation and regenerative agriculture, sharing innovative, land-based solutions to food, water, and climate challenges. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


I wrote...

Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country

By Courtney White,

Book cover of Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country

What is my book about?

Through my work, I learned we can potentially remove a significant amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through regenerative farming and ranching practices. These include no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, restoring degraded land, and producing nutritious food. By re-carbonizing soils via photosynthesis and biology, regenerative agriculture can sequester atmospheric carbon underground, making it a low-cost “shovel-ready” solution to climate change. Grass, Soil, Hope takes readers on an entertaining journey on how all these practical strategies can be bundled together.

Regenerative agriculture is both an attitude and a suite of practices that restore and maintain soil health. It creates the conditions for life above and below ground by taking its cues from nature, which has a very long track record of growing things. It has multiple co-benefits, including the production of healthy, nutritious food. Each of the books listed below explore a different aspect of regenerative agriculture, all written by authors with ‘dirt under their fingernails.’

Love Medicine

By Louise Erdrich,

Book cover of Love Medicine

My parents were anthropologists who took me as a pre-teen to visit the pueblos of the southwest. There we attended ritual dances, and I was deeply impressed by their devotion, beauty, and power. I incorporated those impressions into the modern dance I was studying and would continue to practice as my first career. Now as a writer I continue my interest in indigenous cultures, and I admire the way the Plains Ojibwe, as portrayed by Erdrich, expand the meaning of “medicine” beyond scientific facts. “Medicine” comes to mean love, the healing force that overcomes envy and anger in communities from the plains to the pueblos to families around the world, including my own.

Love Medicine

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love Medicine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The beauty of Love Medicine saves us from being completely devastated by its power.” — Toni Morrison

Set on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, Love Medicine—the first novel from master storyteller and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich—is an epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines.

With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter of this stunning novel draws on a range of voices to limn its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses…


Who am I?

Widowed at age fifty and now eighty-four, I know first hand the search for love in late life. I have three adult children and can't avoid bringing baggage to any new relationship, whether with humans or the cats I adore. Coming to writing seriously only after my husband’s death, I remain fascinated by questions of craft, how the story is told (as my recommendations show), and I’ve published several essays on aspects of that subject. My first career in dance, my conversion to Catholicism, and my psychoanalytic therapy have been major parts of my life and play significant roles in my memoir, my novel, and my more recent novella and stories.


I wrote...

Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories

By Maggie Kast,

Book cover of Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories

What is my book about?

In these linked stories Maggie Kast asks, “Can new love be found in old age?” Greta, her narrator, has been wrenched from a long and tightly-circled marriage to Manfred, an Austrian Holocaust survivor. With different backgrounds, they sometimes abrade each other, but the friction strikes sparks, and the marriage remains vital. This book will open your heart to love that endures, transcends fear, dissolves old ideas of desire, and invites new desiring.

Says Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanliness and What Belongs to You, “Maggie Kast has a gift for illuminating her characters’ inner lives, and these beautiful stories, as they shuttle gracefully between past and present, Europe and America, strike a profound and satisfying balance between intimacy and mystery...a wise and powerful book.”

The Night Watchman

By Louise Erdrich,

Book cover of The Night Watchman

The Night Watchman is another feat of world-building and story, based on the life and community of the author’s extraordinary Chippewa-Cree grandfather, (called Thomas Wazhushk in the book), who led the fight against genocidal government legislation that would have destroyed his tribe. The motley cast of characters–not least Thomas’ young niece Patrice–will both steal and break your heart, with each one living and breathing their powerful heritage in a unique, yet unified way.

The Night Watchman

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Night Watchman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE IN FICTION 2021

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'emancipation' bill; but it isn't about freedom - it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal?

Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie…


Who am I?

I am an award-winning author and illustrator who works in a variety of genres, including Historical Fiction. When historical fiction is well done it conveys times and events as they were lived and breathed by real people. Historical fiction by diverse women tells the stories of those consistently left out of the “historical record.” Human life is rich and diverse, and the stories belong to all of us, not just those who have historically had the power to control the cultural narratives. As a writer and student of history, it has been my pleasure to explore characters that are not often represented, characters that are ordinary for their times, and extraordinary as well. 


I wrote...

Boy, Falling: The Sequel to House of Rougeaux

By Jenny Jaeckel,

Book cover of Boy, Falling: The Sequel to House of Rougeaux

What is my book about?

Harboring a grave secret, Gerard pursues a dream that leads him from New York City to Jazz Age-Paris, only to be drawn back by the family he has left behind. Continuing the family epic begun in House of Rougeaux, Boy, Falling spins together human yearning and what it means to be part of the fabric of life.

LaRose

By Louise Erdrich,

Book cover of LaRose: A Novel

In her fifteenth novel, Erdrich, a member of the Ojibwe tribe, attempts to answer the question, “Can a person do the worst possible thing and still be loved?” by showing readers how native American parents living on a reservation cope when the father, Landreaux, accidentally kills his best friend’s five-year-old son in a hunting accident. Landreaux is distraught, wracked with horror, guilt, and grief. After consultation and attending a sweat, guided by an old native custom, he gives La Rose, his and his wife’s youngest child–whose best friend was the deceased–to the bereaved parents and siblings in a version of justice. It’s a twist on an eye for an eye, intended to equalize the suffering and prevent the escalation and further death that can occur when acts of grief-fueled revenge begin. Now both families are suffering unbearable loss, and so is LaRose, a five-year-old boy.

I don’t know if there’s…

LaRose

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked LaRose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Late summer in North Dakota, 1999: Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence but only when he staggers closer does he realise he has killed his neighbour's son.

Dusty Ravich, the deceased boy, was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have been close for years and their children played together despite going to different schools. Landreaux is horrified at what he's done; fighting off his longstanding alcoholism, he ensconces himself in a sweat lodge and prays for guidance. And there he discovers an old…


Who am I?

All my work--as a novelist and a licensed clinical therapist--deals with what happens in families, which sometimes includes overwhelming grief. But now, it hasn’t been long since I lost my own son. In these novels, I recognize a piece of myself as I, like any survivor, have struggled to cope. Like few other events in our lives, death has the possibility of completely derailing us with its brutality, and often surviving family cast about blindly, searching for sense, for meaning. Sometimes we can’t find any; sometimes we do, and sometimes we create it ourselves. These novels put different approaches into story, and that, too, is a way to search out direction--and hope.


I wrote...

The Testament of Harold's Wife

By Lynne Hugo,

Book cover of The Testament of Harold's Wife

What is my book about?

After Louisa's grandson, Cody, was killed walking home from football practice, and her husband, Harold, unable to cope, died six months later, Louisa was in a fog of mourning, barely aware of her rage at the unpunished drunk driver who took Cody’s life. Now she sees two choices: either fade away on her Indiana family farm, where her companions are four aging chickens and an argumentative cat, or take up Harold’s failed quest for revenge and concoct a plan. Louisa, a retired schoolteacher who’s smart, sassy, and irreverent as ever, isn’t the fading away type.

But even the most perfect plan can go awry. The wild creatures on Louisa’s land are being killed. Is the mystery of human connection at work? When human law fails, is there any justice?

Breakfast with Buddha

By Roland Merullo,

Book cover of Breakfast with Buddha

True, it’s fiction, so not really a memoir at all. But it reads like one in part because it’s the spiritual journey of a likable doubting Thomas (named Otto Ringling) who thinks that all that New Age-y stuff is a bunch of malarkey (there’s also an actual journey from the east coast to North Dakota). If you’ve ever questioned anything “woo-woo,” you’ll be charmed by Otto’s unlikely travel companion—an enigmatic spiritual teacher named Volya Rinpoche. At the onset, Otto is a dry, snarky, judgmental guy but he learns to listen to his heart and accept others. I used to be a lot like Otto, so his path from doubter to a believer-of-sorts spoke to me personally. Merullo has also written sequelsinvolving lunch and dinner, of course.

Breakfast with Buddha

By Roland Merullo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breakfast with Buddha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger--and amuse himself--he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to…

Who am I?

Nearly 20 years ago, I awkwardly stumbled into a yoga class after a therapist informed me that I needed to do something about my anxiety issues (“Take your pick,” she said, “I’ll prescribe pills or you can try yoga.”) From the very first class, I was drawn not only to the physical practice, but to the sense that yoga could lead me deeper into my own heart and soul. I wrote a memoir about my journey—and about how yoga helped me later face and conquer breast cancer. I now teach yoga, and I love reading about how yoga changes lives—as it almost always does. 


I wrote...

Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace

By Kathryn E. Livingston,

Book cover of Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace

What is my book about?

By her fifties, Kathryn E. Livingston thought everything in her life would have clicked into place. Instead, she felt like she was falling apart. She was consumed by panic and anxiety, always expecting the worst. Until her discovery of yoga helped her find peace. This is a memoir about two transformative years in Kathryn’s life, an account of her relationship with a compassionate teacher who taught her to trust herself and the universe, even while facing the death of her parents, her children leaving home for college, and breast cancer. Yin, Yang, Yogini is a memoir about reinvention, with yoga as the backdrop for change—a blueprint for evolving in midstride, learning to let go of the past, and living with trust in the present moment.

Far Gone

By Danielle Girard,

Book cover of Far Gone

Detective Kylie Millard returns to her investigative duties in this second book in the Badlands Thriller series when she’s called to a murder scene of a young couple and a missing baby. Like the first book in the series, White Out, the writing is taut and the pacing is brisk. But what I especially love about this book is the intertwining narratives of the three female characters—Kylie, Lily, and Hannah—and how these disparate stories eventually come together. Quite the twist at the end!

Far Gone

By Danielle Girard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Far Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the USA Today bestselling author of White Out comes a story of two heroines with shattered pasts and a town with blood on its hands.

When a North Dakota couple is shot down in their home in cold blood, the sleepy town of Hagen wakes with a jolt. After all, it's usually such a peaceful place. But Detective Kylie Milliard knows better.

Despite not handling a homicide investigation in years, Kylie is on the case. A drop of blood found at the scene at first blush promises to be her best evidence. But it ultimately only proves that someone…

Who am I?

I'm the author of two police procedural mysteries, a series that features a father/daughter detective team. I write in the traditional mystery genre for the simple reason that I'm a passionate reader of this genre, and always have been. I enjoy the structure of a whodunnit—the pacing, red herrings, clues, plot twists, reveals—and love constructing a multi-layered mystery that is both engaging and suspenseful. I’m a big fan of the masters of this genre: Agatha Christie, PD James, Dick Francis, and Val McDermid. I’m also an avid watcher of police procedural television series, and I’m especially drawn to the darker investigative stories you find in programs like The Killing, Mare of Easttown, and The Wire.


I wrote...

The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon

By Marcy McCreary,

Book cover of The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon

What is my book about?

When skeletal remains are found, everyone assumes it's Trudy Solomon, a Catskills hotel waitress who disappeared forty years ago. However, it’s quickly discovered that Trudy is alive and living in an Alzheimer’s facility in Massachusetts. When Detective Susan Ford shares the news with her dad, retired Detective Will Ford (the original detective on the case), he convinces his daughter to reopen Trudy’s case.

They team up to piece together Trudy’s life and discover a related murder and blackmail scheme. All roads lead back to the Roth family—the ex-owners of the Cuttman Hotel where Trudy had worked. Each family member holds a clue to the case, but getting them to admit what they know will force Susan Ford to face a family she'd hoped never to see again.

Tracks

By Louise Erdrich,

Book cover of Tracks

Tracks was on my “Required Texts” list I had to read while earning my Masters in English (Creative Writing and Literature) and the only one I read twice because of Erdrich’s beautiful way of telling her tale of fantastic realism through her distinct first-person narration, complex characters, and profound themes. There’s a type of serenity she exudes that matches Bradbury’s, both in writing style and their public personalities. 

Tracks

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tracks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“[Erdrich] captures the passions, fears, myths, and doom of a living people, and she does so with an ease that leaves the reader breathless.”—The New Yorker

From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich comes an arresting, lyrical novel set in North Dakota at a time when Indian tribes were struggling to keep what little remained of their lands.

Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance—yet their pride and humor…


Who am I?

As a fiction writer, poet, essayist, and (now) a playwright, I am a staunch believer in applying the “Three Es” in all of my work in equal quantities: to entertain, to enlighten, and to educate. My passion to create stories has been ongoing throughout my life, courtesy of my love for the written word, cinema, and the theater, all of which have impacted and influenced my stories in amazing ways. My background and accolades as a writer and publisher are listed on my personal website, but it’s my life experiences and the books that I have recommended that helped me evolve as a storyteller. 


I wrote...

Triptych: An Omnibus of Wonder

By Peter A. Balaskas,

Book cover of Triptych: An Omnibus of Wonder

What is my book about?

Throughout my entire career as a fiction writer and playwright, I have always loved crafting stories that combine extraordinary elements of the fantastic with the sublime facets of reality. Triptych: An Omnibus of Wonder is a perfect example of that love as it contains three of my published books. The Grandmaster, a multiple award-winner, is a supernatural thriller that takes place during the Holocaust. The Chameleon’s Addiction is a gothic horror tale set in New Orleans. And the Pushcart Prize nominated In Our House: Tantalizing Tales of Terror is an anthology whose influences include Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, and Rod Serling. Triptych: An Omnibus of Wonder is a must for all lovers of fiction. 

Penguin Days

By Sara Leach, Rebecca Bender (illustrator),

Book cover of Penguin Days

In the second book in this endearing series, Lauren, who has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) travels with her family so Lauren can be the flower girl in her auntie’s wedding. It takes Lauren’s family “two days, eight movies, four chapter books, and three throw-ups” to get to their destination. The book is filled with gentle humor, which helps me appreciate Lauren’s perspective while at the same time it doesn’t sugarcoat life with a child with ASD. Leach artfully balances it all: here’s the raw reality and it can be exhausting; yes, we get frazzled but we have a few strategies; and we still love our daughter. Trust me, you’ll laugh and you’ll sigh with this window into what it’s like with ASD.

Penguin Days

By Sara Leach, Rebecca Bender (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Penguin Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning creators of Slug Days

Lauren and her family drive to a farm in North Dakota to visit relatives and celebrate her Aunt Jossie's wedding. But Lauren finds to her dismay that she is expected to do more than meet adults who hug her and invade her personal space. Lauren is going to be-horror of all horrors-a flower girl.

Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and she sees the world a little differently from other kids. What makes her comfortable are her routines and her coping mechanisms for her anxiety, which can get out of control in no time.…


Who am I?

My dad was an adventure traveler, so I floated down the Amazon, rode chicken busses in rural Guatemala, and stepped on the Russian Steppes before I ever saw Big Ben. All that adventure as a kid engendered an insatiable curiosity about the amazing diversity of people and cultures in this world. Sadly, when I was growing up, most children’s books didn’t reflect this diversity. Not only should all children be able to see themselves on the pages of the books they read, it’s equally important that kids see children who aren’t just like they are. Consequently, adding cultural and ethnic diversity into kids' lit has become a passion for me. 


I wrote...

Mystery of the Thief in the Night: Mexico 1

By Janelle Diller, Adam Turner (illustrator),

Book cover of Mystery of the Thief in the Night: Mexico 1

What is my book about?

Izzy’s family sails into a quiet lagoon in Mexico and drops anchor. Izzy can’t wait to explore the pretty little village, eat yummy tacos, and practice her Spanish. When she meets nine-year-old Patti, Izzy’s thrilled. Now she can do all that and have a new friend to play with too. Life is perfect. At least it’s perfect until they realize there’s a midnight thief on the loose!

This award-winning early chapter book series takes young readers around the world. They tour haunted castles in Austria, catch thieves in Mexico, save dolphins and turtles in Brazil, search for lost golden temples in Thailand, and chase aliens in Australia. Ultimately, the series inspires readers to embrace adventure and triggers curiosity about the larger world.

The Plague of Doves

By Louise Erdrich,

Book cover of The Plague of Doves

I can never decide which of Erdrich’s books is my favorite, but The Plague of Doves is definitely a major contender. Erdrich’s novelistic style is more like a chorus than a solo: she presents various stories involving different characters in different times, but the stories are in orbit around the central conflict, in this case, a pair of horrific crimes committed long ago. Yet even when the content is dark, her writing is so beautiful that my primary feeling reading it is joy. For me, the title of this book perfectly captures that contradictory experience. 

The Plague of Doves

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Plague of Doves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautiful, compelling, utterly original new novel from one of the most important American writers of our time, and winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, 2012

Pluto, North Dakota, is a town on the verge of extinction. Here, everybody is connected - by love or friendship, by blood, and, most importantly, by the burden of a shared history.

Growing up on the reservation is Evelina Harp, witty and ambitious, and prone to falling hopelessly in love. Listening to her grandfather's tales, she learns of a horrific crime that has marked both Ojibwe and whites. Nobody understands it better…


Who am I?

I’ve always loved “big books,” novels that are described as sagas and chronicles yet whose primary focus is on singular, nuanced characters. I like seeing the ways that lives intersect and reflect each other across decades, and I enjoy being immersed in one world and then dropped, with the turn of a page, into another equally engrossing one. I am the author of the novel Rebellion as well as numerous short stories and essays. Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, I spent several years living in China and a year as the Writer-in-Residence at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. I now live in Wisconsin, where I write and teach creative writing.


I wrote...

Rebellion

By Molly Patterson,

Book cover of Rebellion

What is my book about?

Two sisters at the end of the nineteenth century embark on very different journeys, one to China as a missionary, the other to the flat landscape of Illinois as a farmer’s wife. Six decades later, a daughter fights to maintain control of the farm in the aftermath of her husband’s untimely death. As the twentieth century turns to the twenty-first, a young woman finds her Chinese town rapidly changing, even as she feels frozen in place. Each woman, constricted by the expectations of family and society, faces a choice whose consequences reverberate through the years. A vibrant story set against a century of complicated relations between China and America, Rebellion portrays with compassion and complexity those who pursue their own thrilling fate.

The Round House

By Louise Erdrich,

Book cover of The Round House

I had not read Louise Erdrich in many years when I picked up this book, but I was especially interested as it addresses violence against Indigenous women, an all-too-common reality rarely reported in the mainstream. The author makes a fascinating choice: to tell the story from the perspective of the victim’s thirteen-year-old son. On the reservation, where intersecting law and law enforcement—federal, state, and tribal—only leads to massive injustice, the boy takes matters into his own hands, as investigator, prosecutor, and judge. Erdrich goes there for a shocking climax, and perhaps an even more riveting denouement. A visionary examination of Indian jurisprudence as dictated by the United States, and its discontents.

The Round House

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Round House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the National Book Award • Washington Post Best Book of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book

From one of the most revered novelists of our time, an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface because Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal…


Who am I?

I grew up as an African American in the Maryland Appalachian valley, a town that was ninety-five percent white. My father worked for the paper mill and would bring home reams of paper, pens, pencils. I began playing with the stuff—making up stories and stapling them into books, the raw beginnings of a future novelist. Separately, I created dialogue, using clothespins as people: a burgeoning playwright. (We were not destitute—my sister and I had toys! But those makeshift playthings worked best for my purposes.) So, given my working-class racial minority origins, it was rather inevitable that I would be drawn to stories addressing class and race. 


I wrote...

The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter

By Kia Corthron,

Book cover of The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter

What is my book about?

In 1941, the two sons of a white rural Alabama sawmill worker—one a scholarly eighth-grader, the other a deaf teenager just beginning to grasp language—come of age in the shadow of the Ku Klux Klan. Meanwhile, the two sons of a Black small-town Maryland Pullman Porter—one a precocious six-year-old, the other an adolescent starting to realize he’s gay, grow up navigating a world where their adults struggle for labor and racial dignity. The boys become men during the early civil rights movement, and each of them is eventually uprooted, their separate journeys spanning the country. Ultimately the families’ paths will cross, and the momentous ramifications of this intersection will be carried by all four brothers for the remainder of their lives. 

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