Being Catholic Being American, Vol. 1: The Notre Dame Story, 1842-1934; Vol. 2: The Notre Dame Story, 1934-1952. Robert E. Burns, University Of Notre Dame Press. Robert Burns, emeritus professor of history, tells the story of the growth of a university and the evolving place of Catholics in America. In volume one, colorful anecdotes ranging from the ND student battle with the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1920s to the glory of the football team march alongside the inner workings of a small college that dreamed big. In volume two, Burns turns his attention to politics – both internal and external. From the isolation/intervention arguments over U.S. foreign policy in the 1930s, when Catholics were viewed with suspicion because of church interests abroad that many saw as clashing with American interests, to the public relations disaster created when an outspoken professor at Notre Dame is fired for his part in those arguments, the behind-the-scenes tales provide, says the Library Journal, “a mirror of the travails and triumph of Catholics in mid-20th century America.” The Journal gave the book its “highly recommended” rating.
At Sea At Sixty, Catharine Stewart-Roache ’62MAT and Patrick J. Roache ’60, ’63M.S., ’68Ph.D., Hermosa Publisher. The Roaches discover that turning 60 is easier if you celebrate with a Semester at Sea program. Patrick, an engineer, and Catharine, an artist, provide alternating views in this mix of travelogue, cultural commentary and reflections on entering “old age.” There’s lots to relate, as the couple and their fellow students face everything from a typhoon to a dangerous snorkeling adventure.
The Book of Kills, Ralph McInerny, St. Martin’s Minotaur. Brothers Roger and Philip Knight again put their detecting skills to work in this third installment of the academic murder mysteries set on the ND campus.
The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals, edited by Patrick Hart ’66 and Jonathan Montaldo, Harper SanFrancisco. From the seven volumes of Thomas Merton’s personal journals, the editors gather material that presents the monk’s life in his own words. Here, readers can follow the author of The Seven Storey Mountain from his conversion to Catholicism to his entry into the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1941 to what were, unbeknown to him, his final days before his life would end in an accidental electrocution in 1968. Brother Patrick Hart also was editor of the seven volumes of Thomas Merton journals, which are now available in paperback.
Kerouac, The Word and the Way: Prose Artist as Spiritual Quester, Benedict Giamo, Southern Illinois University Press. Jack Kerouac, the literary icon of the Beat Generation, was recruited by Frank Leahy to play football at Notre Dame. Instead, he went on the road, writes author Ben Giamo, seeking “the ultimate meaning of existence and suffering and the celebration of joy in the meantime.” Giamo, an associate professor of American Studies, clarifies Kerouac’s various spiritual quests (he was baptized and buried Catholic but heavily influenced by Buddhism) through close examination of his exuberant novels. In the process Giamo joins Kerouac in his search for IT — “the ragged and ecstatic joy of pure being.”