Named one of the Best Books of 2012 by

The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle

 In True Believers, Kurt Andersen—the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Heyday and Turn of the Century—delivers his most powerful and moving novel yet. Dazzling in its wit and effervescent insight, this kaleidoscopic tour de force of cultural observation and seductive storytelling alternates between the present and the 1960s—and indelibly captures the enduring impact of that time on the ways we live now.


"A great American Novel."

Vanity Fair



“This is an ambitious and remarkable novel, wonderfully voiced, about memory, secrets, guilt, and the dangers of certitude. Moreover, it asks essential questions about what it means to be an American and, in a sense, what it means to be America.”

Booklist (starred review)



“Funny, fiendishly smart.”

San Francisco Chronicle



“Exhilarating…accessible and often funny…an absorbing, well-told tale. It’s also the best reverie on the 1960s and their legacy that I’ve seen."




“Kurt Andersen’s best yet. The man is operating on some far-out level that bends time and space to his will. True Believers hits all the right notes and reads like a goddamn dream."

—Gary Shteyngart



“Intelligent and insightful...Think

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and

Atonement, a ’60s-era female Holden Caulfield... Andersen is an agile storyteller...[There are] witty, occasionally even profound observations about the ’60s and today.”

USA Today



"A diverting political mystery, which also serves as a vehicle for keen cultural observation."

The New Yorker



“An unmitigated success [the] plot is nigh-on perfect…the shifts back and forth in time are seamless."

The Winnipeg Free Press



“This witty, imaginative novel is one part bildungsroman, one part political thriller and one part contemplation on age — and in all aspects wonderful reading."

—Scott Turow


 Karen Hollander is a celebrated attorney who recently removed herself from consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her reasons have their roots in 1968—an episode she’s managed to keep secret for more than forty years. Now, with the imminent publication of her memoir, she’s about to let the world in on that shocking secret—as soon as she can track down the answers to a few crucial last questions.

As junior-high-school kids back in the early sixties, Karen and her two best friends, Chuck and Alex, roamed suburban Chicago on their bikes looking for intrigue and excitement. Inspired by the exotic romance of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, they acted out elaborate spy missions pitting themselves against imaginary Cold War villains. As friendship carries them through childhood and on to college—in a polarized late-sixties America riven by war and race as well as sex, drugs, and rock and roll—the bad guys cease to be the creatures of make-believe. Caught up in the fervor of that extraordinary and uncanny time, they find themselves swept into a dangerous new game with the highest possible stakes.

Today, only a handful of people are left who know what happened. As Karen reconstructs the past and reconciles the girl she was then with the woman she is now, finally sharing pieces of her secret past with her national-security-cowboy boyfriend and activist granddaughter, the power of memory and history and luck become clear. A resonant coming-of-age story and a thrilling political mystery, True Believers is Kurt Andersen’s most ambitious novel to date, introducing a brilliant, funny, and irresistible new heroine to contemporary fiction.

Watch a short trailer for the book below:


Here’s a piece Kurt wrote for the Wall Street Journal about writing a novel in the first person for the first time.

© 2019 Kurt Andersen. All rights reserved. Site design by Lucy Andersen.