Prize-winning author Clint Smith working on book that will 'expand monolithic narrative' of WWII

NEW YORK (AP) — Prize-winning author Clint Smith has a three-book deal with Random House, starting with an exploration of the impact of World War II upon everyone from a survivor of a Japanese internment camp in the U.S. to a Jewish activist in Nazi Germany.

Smith's “Just Beneath the Soil” will be his first nonfiction book since “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America” came out in 2021. “How the Word is Passed” was a bestseller that won the National Book Critics Circle Award and Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was praised by former President Barack Obama among others.

In “Just Beneath the Soil,” according to Random House, Smith “will expand the monolithic narrative Americans have created” about World War II and focus on people whose stories are less known.

“After publishing ‘How the Word Is Passed’ — in which I explored how different historical sites across the country reckon with or fail to reckon with their relationships to the history of slavery — I became increasingly interested in what the landscape of public memory looked like in other countries around the world," Smith said in a statement released Tuesday by Random House.

The release date for “Just Beneath the Soil” has not been determined. The 34-year-old Smith, a staff writer for The Atlantic, has also published the poetry collections “Counting Descent” and “Above Ground,” which Little, Brown and Company published in March.


This story has been corrected to show that Smith has published one book, “Above Ground,” since "How the Word is Passed."