Random House to Publish 3 Books with Clint Smith, New York Times Bestselling Writer & Poet


Clint Smith. Photograph by Carletta Girma.

Random House is honored to announce the acquisition of three new books by acclaimed writer and poet Clint Smith, New York Times bestselling author and winner of both the National Book Critics Circle for Nonfiction and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

In the first of these books, JUST BENEATH THE SOIL, Smith will visit World War II sites around the world alongside survivors, descendants, and residents who have a particular relationship to each place. The book will largely focus on the experiences of groups of people whose stories often sit at the peripheries of the conflict’s dominant narrative, giving an intimate account of their lived experience during the war. North American rights for the books were acquired by Hilary Redmon, VP Executive Editor, Random House.

While his first work of nonfiction, the #1 New York Times bestseller  HOW THE WORD IS PASSED, examined the way Americans have reckoned with the legacy of slavery, JUST BENEATH THE SOIL will expand the monolithic narrative Americans have created around World War II. Smith has chosen several subjects around the world to tell the stories that have, until now, fallen outside that war’s central mythology including a Japanese-American woman born in a Japanese Internment camp, the oldest living Navajo code talker, a Korean woman who was forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military, a Jewish activist in Germany, and his great uncle who fought for the US but returned to face Jim Crow. Using these stories and others, Smith will make this global history personal and give us new eyes to see this transformative conflict.

Smith notes: “I am thrilled to be joining Random House, an imprint that has long published some of my favorite authors across a range of genres. Hilary Redmon is a phenomenal editor with a remarkable track record, and I look forward to partnering with her and the entire Random House team on these next book projects.”

Redmon adds, “Smith is a major literary voice, one of the most important and transformative of our era. He has shown us a new way for history to be written—at once rigorous and accessible, empathetic and clear-eyed–and we are thrilled to make a long-term home for him here at Random House.”

HOW THE WORD IS PASSED,  published in June of 2021, was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller and the winner of numerous prizes, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Hillman Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Stowe Prize. President Barack Obama chose it as one of his favorite books of the year, as did the New York Times, and two dozen other publications. It has been chosen as a Common Read/First Year Experience book by nearly a dozen colleges and optioned for a television series. Smith’s most recent book of poetry, ABOVE GROUND, was also an instant New York Times Bestseller.

Posted: May 19, 2023