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His Name is George Floyd by Robert Samuels & Toluse Olorunnipa

Written with unparalleled access to his family and friends, this is the biography of the man who became a global symbol.

“An intimate, riveting portrait of an ordinary man whose fatal encounter with police officers in 2020 sparked an international movement for social change, but whose humanity and complicated personal story were unknown,” said the judges of the Pulitzer Prize on this award-winning non-fiction book.

This book’s specialness lies in its ability to transform George Floyd from a widely recognised name into a human being – a son, father, brother, partner, friend, employee and community member. While most people are familiar with his name and the circumstances of his death, this biography goes beyond the headlines and public perceptions.

In 2020, the tragic killing of George Floyd ignited unrest and global activism. People marched under the banner of Black Lives Matter, calling for an end to racial injustice. His death has since led to important conversations about addiction, mental health, privilege, racism and the need for reform in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

Drawn from the extensive investigative reporting and award-winning series on George Floyd by The Washington Post, His Name is George Floyd offers a definitive biography that delves deep in to the structural racism that moulded both Floyd’s life and tragic death.

Co-authors, Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa of The Washington Post present a compelling exploration of institutional racism and the intense public reckoning. However, primarily they provide a revealing account of George Floyd’s life, based on over 400 interviews with Floyd’s family and those closest to him. During these exclusive interviews, they heard intimate details about his ambitions, triumphs, trials and failures. Floyd’s family and friends were candid in sharing his struggles and in describing their own challenges, including addiction, poverty and criminal activity in the interest of the most accurate portrayal of his story. “While the process of re-creating conversations that took place years ago can be complex, as journalists we worked to obtain a comprehensive and truthful account of the scenes depicted in this book. We used the exact words relayed to us by people who were directly involved in the conversations.”

Where possible, they conducted separate interviews with others who were present to confirm details, quotes and scenes. They also verified dates and contextual information using public records. They also had access to his personal records including diary entries, rap lyrics, poems, medical records, mobile phone videos, text messages, photographs, job applications, love letters and more.

Robert Samuels is a national political enterprise reporter at The Washington Post. His co-author Toluse Olorunnipa is a political enterprise reporter for The Washington Post and a CNN analyst.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Penguin Random House

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