Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (Penguin Random House) by Kathleen DuVal, professor of history. DuVal offers a significant new global perspective on the Revolutionary War with the story of the conflict as seen through the eyes of the outsiders of colonial society. She recounts an untold story as rich and significant as that of the Founding Fathers: the history of the Revolutionary Era as experienced by slaves, American Indians, women and British loyalists living on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The New York Times Book Review writes “[An] astonishing story . . . Paint yourself a mental picture of the American War of Independence. If all you see are British redcoats battling minutemen and Continentals, Kathleen DuVal’s Independence Lost will knock your socks off.”
Little Rivers and Waterway Tales: A Carolinian’s Eastern Streams (UNC Press) by Bland Simpson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing. Simpson regales readers with new tales of coastal North Carolina’s “water-loving land,” revealing how its creeks, streams and rivers shape the region’s geography as well as its culture. Whether rhapsodizing about learning to sail on the Pasquotank River or eating oysters on Ocracoke, Simpson features the people and communities along the watery web of myriad “little rivers” that define the state’s sound country as it meets the Atlantic.
Soon: Stories (The University of South Carolina Press) by Pam Durban, Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. Durban’s new collection of stories explores the myriad ways people lose, find and hold on to one another. When all else fails her characters, the powerful act of storytelling itself keeps their broken lives together and fosters hope. Each story in this rewarding and multifaceted collection introduces people who yearn for better lives and find themselves entangled in the hopes and dreams that heal and bind us all.
Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century (Princeton University Press) by Konrad Jarausch, the Lurcy Professor of European Civilization. A sweeping history of 20th century Europe, Out of Ashes tells the story of an era of unparalleled violence and barbarity yet also of humanity, prosperity and promise. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, writing “[Out of Ashes] should be on the shelf of everyone seeking a panoramic, narrative guide to history’s most violent century. This comprehensive history of 20th-century Europe is bound to become the standard work on its subject: a bold, major achievement.” Read The New York Times Book Review.
The Wilmington Ten: Violence, Injustice and the Rise of Black Politics in the 1970s (UNC Press, January 2016) by Kenneth Janken, professor of African, African American and Diaspora Studies and director of UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South. Janken narrates the dramatic story of the Wilmington Ten, connecting their story to a larger arc of black power and the transformation of post-Civil Rights era political organizing. Grounded in extensive interviews, newly declassified government documents and archival research, the book thoroughly examines the 1971 events and the subsequent movement for justice that strongly influenced the wider African-American freedom struggle.
Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go (Harry N. Abrams, publisher) by Laura Wagner (anthropology M.A. ’08, Ph.D. ’14). Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go follows the vivid story of two teenage cousins, raised as sisters, who survive the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. After losing the woman who raised them in the tragedy, Magdalie and Nadine must fend for themselves in the aftermath of the quake. The girls are inseparable, making the best of their new circumstances in a refugee camp with an affectionate, lively camaraderie, until Nadine, whose father lives in Miami, sends for her but not Magdalie. As she leaves, Nadine makes a promise she cannot keep: to bring Magdalie to Miami, too. Read more in The New York Times Book Review.
Say We are Nations: Documents of Politics and Protest in Indigenous America Since 1887 (UNC Press) edited by Daniel Cobb, associate professor of American studies. In this wide-ranging and carefully crafted anthology, Cobb presents the words of Indigenous people who have shaped Native American rights movements from the late 19th century through the present day. Presenting essays, letters, interviews, speeches, government documents and other testimony, Cobb shows how tribal leaders, intellectuals and activists deployed a variety of protest methods over more than a century to demand Indigenous sovereignty.
The Map of Heaven: How Science, Religion and Ordinary People are Proving the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster) by Eben Alexander III, M.D. (B.A. chemistry ’76) with Ptolemy Tompkins. The author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller Proof of Heaven teams up with the sages of times past, modern scientists and with ordinary people who have had profound spiritual experiences in this new book. “Relying on his own near death experience and those of others who have written to him, Eben takes us from the wisdom of the Greek philosophers through to modern medical researchers to give us an overview of that mysterious place known as the afterlife,” writes Raymond A. Moody, Jr., author of Life After Life.
The Structure of Cuban History: Meanings and Purpose of the Past (UNC Press, new in paperback) by Louis Pérez, J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History. In this capstone book, an expansive and contemplative history of Cuba, Pérez discerns in the Cuban past the promise that decisively shaped the character of Cuban nationality. International Affairs calls the book “The work of a master historian … [and] essential reading for those seeking to understand the nature of Cuban history.”
Barefoot to Avalon (Atlantic Monthly Press) by David Payne (English ’77). In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, Payne watched from his rearview mirror as his younger brother, George A., driving behind him in a two-man convoy of rental trucks, lost control of his vehicle, fishtailed and flipped over in the road. Payne’s life hit a downward spiral. His latest book is a memoir of brotherhood, of sibling rivalries and sibling love, and of the torments a family can hold silent and carry across generations. Author Lee Smith writes: “A major achievement and a whole new standard for memoir — Barefoot to Avalon is brave and brilliant, deep and true. Payne has tried to get the whole universe on the head of a pin, and done a fine job of it.”
The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform (Oxford University Press) by Andrew Reynolds, associate professor of political science, with Jason Brownlee and Tarek Masoud. Over the last decade, Reynolds has crisscrossed the tumultuous nations of the Middle East and North Africa to advise on new constitutions and elections. From Lebanon to Libya, Egypt to Jordan, Yemen to Syria, he has worked with constitutional drafters, opposition movements and civil society leaders. Now he and his co-authors have woven these on-the-ground experiences into a book which is being hailed by multiple sources as “the best book on the Arab Spring.”
Taken from the Paradise Isle: The Hoshida Family Story (University Press of Colorado), edited by Heidi Kim, assistant professor of English and comparative literature. Crafted from George Hoshida’s diary and memoir, as well as letters faithfully exchanged with his wife Tamae, Taken from the Paradise Isle is an intimate account of the anger, resignation, philosophy, optimism and love with which the Hoshida family endured their separation and incarceration during World War II. Kim’s historical contextualization provides a new and important perspective on the tragedy of the incarceration as it affected Japanese American families in Hawaii.
The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures (Little, Brown and Company) by William deBuys (English ’72). In 1992, in a remote mountain range, a team of scientists discovered the remains of an unusual animal with exquisite long horns. It turned out to be a living species new to Western science — a saola, the first large land mammal discovered in 50 years. Rare then and rarer now, a live saola had never been glimpsed by a Westerner in the wild when Pulitzer Prize finalist and nature writer deBuys and conservation biologist William Robichaud set off to search for it in central Laos. The Last Unicorn chronicles deBuys’ journey deep into one of the world’s most remote places. It’s a story rich with the joys and sorrows of an expedition into undiscovered country, pursuing a species as rare and elusive as the fabled unicorn.
Research to Revenue: A Practical Guide to University Start-Ups (UNC Press, January 2016) by Don Rose (Ph.D. chemistry ’88) and Cam Patterson. (Rose is the director of Carolina KickStart). University start-ups are unique in the world of business and entrepreneurship, translating research conducted at and owned by universities into market-ready products — a complex process that requires a combination of scientific, technical, legal, business and financial skills to be successful. In this guide, the authors give a thorough, process-oriented and practical set of guidelines that cover not only best practices but also common — and avoidable —mistakes.
Does She Have a Name? (NYQ Books) by George Witte (M.A. English ’84). Dramatic and intimate, the poems in Does She Have a Name? trace the journeys of two women — one middle-aged, the other her infant granddaughter — through near-mortal encounters with medical crises. Both survive their trials, passing from life to death and back again; both face wrenching, unpredictable challenges; both emerge from years of therapy, changed by their experiences in apparent and invisible ways.
Check out a recipe and learn more about alumna Nancie McDermott’s book Southern Soups & Stews: More Than 75 Recipes from Burgoo and Gumbo to Etouffée and Fricassee (Chronicle Books, September 2015).
Faculty and alumni sometimes hold readings at the Bull’s Head bookstore in UNC Student Stores. Check out the calendar here.