Notre Dame vs. The Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan, Todd Tucker’90 (Loyola Press). During two days of riots in May 1924, Notre Dame students took on the Indiana KKK. The KKK wasn’t reacting to the students’ race but to their religion—Catholicism. “Look around: they are already taking over the schools, flaunting our laws, changing the very nature of the United States, a Protestant country at its birth,” a KKK leader asserted at a state rally in the early 1920s. Here the author details how and why the two institutions came to loggerheads at the height of anti-Catholicism in America. The book continues through the aftermath of the three-day confrontation in downtown South Bend, including the football team’s winning Rose Bowl appearance and the Indiana KKK’s eventual implosion.
A Sinner of Memory, Melita Schaum ’78, ’84Ph.D. (Michigan State University Press). “Through telling and reflecting, we have a chance to revisit emotional truths, to reclaim the subtleties of experience,” the author writes. In this memoir, she revisits her relationships with family, friends and lovers; her travels to Paris, Venice and Australia; her surgery for breast cancer; life in an arts colony; the emotions of aging; the importance attached to things by those who have suffered loss. Her lyrical prose surveys the unexpected joys and complications of midlife, the surprises of the journey. Praised for the poignancy and grace of her work, Schaum has received numerous awards for creative nonfiction.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-earth, Bradley J. Birzer ’90 (ISI Books). Tolkien himself called The Lord of the Rings “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work.” Birzer explores the Catholicism intrinsic to Tolkien’s popular trilogy, looking in particular at the symbolism inherent in the characters, setting and plot of the novels. He includes such primary source materials at Tolkens’ letters, unpublished notes and manuscripts, as well as a short discussion of a chapter about Samwise that Tolkien elected to omit. Tolkien’s sometimes contentious relationship with another religious writer of note, C.S. Lewis, is explored, as is his place in the pantheon of Christian humanist writers of the 20th century.
Resistance, Barry Lopez ’66, ’68M.A., with monotypes by Alan Magee (Knopf). The winner of the National Book Award for Arctic Dreams turns back to fiction here, with nine interrelated first-person accounts by characters who have drawn the attention of their oppressive, unnamed government. With these taut tales, Lopez has said he is taking on “the human impulse toward political strong-arming and empire building.” As a cabinet maker, architect, physician, translator, historian and other “persons of interest” share the paths they took to resistance, their testimonials highlight such topical concerns as the degradation of the environment, the culture of materialism, and the rush to war. The individual narrators live in different parts of the world, but they see and fear the greed, intolerance and self-righteousness that tyrannizes people today.
Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Anthony Walton ’82 (Broadway). The all-black battalion that served on the front lines in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II finally gets its due in this military history that surveys both the battles and the racism the men fought.
The School of Dying Graces, Dr. Richard Felix ’74Ph.D. with Rob Wilkins (SaltRiver). When his wife, Vivian, died of cancer, the author gathered her journal entries and put them together with his own recollections. Their spiritual journeys—hers to prepare for dying, his to recover faith in the face of loss—offer a view of grace and hope.
Elder Voices: Southeast Asian Families in the United States, Daniel F. Detzner ’67 (AltaMira). The long-term difficulties and successes of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and Hmong immigrants as they try to adapt to their new home are studied. “If the river bends,” a Cambodian man says, “you must bend with it.”
Blessed are the Music Makers: Warm-ups for the Musician’s Spirit, Alan J. Hommerding ’90M.A. (World Library Publications). A resource for music ministers, including texts and music for liturgically based prayers.
Shattered Voices: Language, Violence, And the Work of Truth Commissions, Teresa Godwin Phelps ’73, ’75M.A., ’80Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania Press). The ND law professor studies how truth commissions in countries moving from oppression to democracy can best give voice to the victims of torture and violence.
In and Oz, Steve Tomasula (Nightshade). A novel of ideas, as five strangers are drawn together in their search to transcend the here and now. The author is a Notre Dame professor of English.
The Tallest Tower: Eiffel and the Belle Epoque, Joseph Harriss ’58 (Unlimited Publishing LLC). A revised and updated issue of this critically acclaimed history of the Eiffel Tower and its designer. Abundant photographs and illustrations complement the text, which includes a discussion of security concerns.
Bushed! An Illustrated History of What Passionate Conservatives Have Done to America and the World, Walter C. Clemens Jr. ’55, illustrated by Jim Morin (Outland Books). With cartoons from Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist Morin, the author provides his humorous take on the current Bush presidency.
The Politics of Cultural Differences: Social Changes and Voter Mobilization Strategies in the Post-New Deal Period, edited by David C. Leege, Kenneth D. Wald, Brian S. Krueger ’02Ph.D. and Paul D. Mueller ’00M.A. (Princeton University Press). The national campaign strategies from 1960 to ‘96, the authors argue, emphasized cultural conflict regarding patriotism, race, gender and religion. Leege is an ND emeritus professor of political science.
The Gandhi of the Nagas, Tom Farrell ’58 (AuthorHouse). The plight of the Naga nationalists in northeast India provides the backdrop for this novel of adventure and cultural differences.
The Art of Winning Commitment: 10 Ways Leaders Can Engage Minds, Hearts, and Spirits, Dick Richards (AMACOM). Along with the political and intellectual aspects of leadership, emotional and spiritual components also are needed, the author says. Monsignor Dale Fushek ’84M.A., founder of Life Teen, a Catholic youth ministry program, is among those highlighted.
Soldiers of Peace: Civil War Pacifism and the Postwar Radical Peace Movement, Thomas F. Curran ’86M.A., ’93Ph.D. (Fordham University Press). An account of the “perfectionist pacifists,” northerners who created the radical Universal Peace Union in the late 19th century.
County Longford Residents Prior to the Famine, Guy A. Rymsza ’89 (Dome Shadow Press). For genealogists who are trying to trace famine-era (1845-50) Irish ancestors, this book presents a full name index, tithe-payer records and civil parish maps.
Surrogate Wars: A Real Look at Wars, Rev. William Crumley, CSC, ’59 (AuthorHouse). Wars are driven by money, the author argues, as he examines the economics of global decisions and their attendant conflicts.
My Daily Constitutional: A Natural Law Perspective, Richard J. Rolwing ’64M.A. (Xlibris). This multivolume set of short essays focuses on the U.S. Constitution’s philosophical and historical implications.