The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election (Princeton University Press) by John Sides (political science ’96) and Lynn Vavreck. The book uses a “Moneyball” approach to tell the story of the 2012 election, drawing on data about the economy, public opinion, news coverage and political advertising to determine the factors that really made a difference. The authors also talked to voters about what mattered most.
The Kings and Queens of Roam (Touchstone) by Daniel Wallace, J. Ross Macdonald Distinguished Professor of English. From the celebrated author of Big Fish comes a tale of two sisters who live in a town called Roam: Helen, older, bitter and conniving; and Rachel, beautiful, naïve — and blind. Rachel relies on Helen for everything, but makes a surprising choice that turns both their worlds upside down.
The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists (UNC Press) by William Ferris, Joel Williamson Eminent Professor of History. Drawn from folklorist Ferris’ documentary records, the book includes interviews with artists and thinkers from Eudora Welty, Pete Seeger and Alice Walker to William Eggleston, Bobby Rush and C. Vann Woodward. This new volume includes a companion CD of original interviews and a DVD of original film.
Good Busy: Productivity, Procrastination and the Endless Pursuit of Balance (RCWMS Press) by Julia Scatliff O’Grady (doctoral candidate in communication studies). As a young college graduate, O’Grady traveled to campuses throughout the United States, recruiting volunteers who would become the catalysts for AmeriCorps. She heard as much enthusiasm as she heard this: “I’m not sure I have the time.” Now the graduate student and mother of two is on a quest to discover the source of our busyness and understand what it might mean to be “good busy.”
Sounds of War: Music in the United States during World War II (Oxford University Press) by Annegret Fauser, professor of music. Fauser provides the first in-depth study of American concert music during the war. While Duke Ellington and the Andrews Sisters entertained civilians at home and GIs abroad with swing and boogie-woogie, Fauser shows it was classical music that truly distinguished musical life in the wartime United States, receiving both financial and ideological support from the U.S. government.
The Dynamic Decade: Creating the Sustainable Campus for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001-2011 (UNC Press) by David R. Godschalk and Jonathan B. Howes. The story of the sweeping makeover of the 200-year-old Chapel Hill campus is told, with 6 million square feet of buildings constructed and a million square feet of historic buildings renovated during one vibrant decade. Illustrated with 37 color photographs and 28 maps. Godschalk is Stephen Baxter Professor Emeritus of city and regional planning, and Howes is a former director of the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies.
Love 2.0: How our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become (Hudson Street Press) by Barbara Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology. We know love matters, but in her groundbreaking new book Fredrickson shows us how much. Using research from her UNC Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab, she demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love daily in diverse ways can improve our health and longevity. Check out this video story on the book.
The Moon and More (Viking Juvenile) by Sarah Dessen ’93. Luke is the perfect boyfriend; he and Emaline have been together all through high school in the beach town of Colby. Then Theo comes to town, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. And Theo thinks Emaline should dream of a bigger life. Dessen is the author of 10 previous novels.
Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement (University of Georgia Press) by Minrose Gwin. In a compelling study, the Kenan Eminent Professor of English examines the powerful body of work that has emerged in response to the Civil Rights leader’s life and death — including news, fiction, poetry, memoir, drama and songs from James Baldwin, Margaret Walker, Eudora Welty, Lucille Clifton, Bob Dylan and Willie Morris. Listen to an interview with Minrose Gwin about the book on NPR’s “The State of Things.”
Democracy and the Left: Social Policy and Inequality in Latin America (University of Chicago Press) by Evelyne Huber and John Stephens. Although inequality in Latin America ranks among the worst in the world, it has declined over the last decade, offset by improvements in health care and education, enhanced programs for social assistance and increases in the minimum wage. UNC political scientists Huber and Stephens argue that the resurgence of democracy in the region is key to this change.
A Short Time to Stay Here (Ingalls Publishing Group) by Terry Roberts (Ph.D. English ’91). North Carolina native Roberts’ first novel highlights a little-known chapter in the state’s history: the detention of German prisoners of war during World War I. The novel is set at the Hot Springs, N.C., Mountain Park Hotel which served as the internment site for more than 2,000 German nationals.
Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Philip F. Gura. This has been called perhaps the first comprehensive study of the early American novel since Richard Chase’s 1957 classic, The American Novel and its Tradition. Gura, the William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture, opens with the first truly homegrown genre of fiction: religious tracts, short Christian parables. He then turns to city novels of the 1830s and concludes with fresh interpretations of the novels that appeared before the Civil War, such as those by Hawthorne and Melville.
Brave Dragons: A Chinese basketball team, an American coach and two cultures clashing. (Knopf) (paperback) by Jim Yardley (history ’86). This is the story of the Shanxi Brave Dragons, one of China’s worst professional basketball teams, and the resulting culture clash when the team hires former NBA coach Bob Weiss to turn things around. Readers will follow the team on a fascinating road trip through modern China. Yardley is the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Beijing bureau chief of The New York Times.
Leaving Tuscaloosa (Fuze Publishing) by Walter Bennett (MA English ’69). Set in the deep South in 1962, this novel by a former Civil Rights attorney, judge and law professor focuses on the converging stories of two estranged childhood friends, one black and one white. For Richeboux Branscomb, the journey begins one Alabama night when a raw egg is hurled at a revered leader of the black community. For Acee Waites, it begins with a missing brother and a sheriff’s ruthless search for him. Through 36 hours of racial turmoil, two young men’s lives collide in a riveting climax. The book was a finalist for the Bellwether Prize for Fiction.
The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (Simon & Schuster) by Taylor Branch (political science, history ’68). This compact volume by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author brings to life 18 pivotal dramas, beginning with the impromptu speech that turned an untested, 26-year-old Martin Luther King forever into a public figure on the first night of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Five years later, minority students filled the jails in a 1960 sit-in movement, and, in 1961, the Freedom Riders seized national attention.
Doc: The Story of A Birmingham Jazz Man (University of Alabama Press) by Dr. Frank Adams and Burgin Mathews, who studied folklore at UNC. This autobiography of jazz elder statesman Frank “Doc” Adams features, among other things, his time touring with Sun Ra and Duke Ellington. It highlights Adams’ role in Birmingham, Ala.’s historic jazz scene and traces his personal adventure that parallels, in many ways, the story and spirit of jazz itself.
Until I Say Goodbye: My Year of Living with Joy (HarperCollins) by Susan Spencer-Wendel (international studies ’88), with Bret Witter. When long-time Palm Beach Post reporter Spencer-Wendel was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) in summer 2011, she decided to focus the next year on living with joy, and creating special memories — tracking down family roots in Cyprus, visiting the Yukon with her best friend, swimming with dolphins at the request of her youngest son. As her body begin to weaken, she used her only working thumb — her right one — to tap out a book manuscript on her iPhone. The book is on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. Watch a “Today Show” interview. More at http://www.susanspencerwendel.com and http://www.facebook.com/UntilISayGoodbye.
Published in the Spring 2013 issue | Chapter & Verse