Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs, Beth Ann Fennelly ’93 (W.W. Norton & Company). The poet laureate of Mississippi, whose story about “Wild Women’s Weekends” with her college friends appears in this issue, blends literary forms in a hybrid collection that, she says, “strives to combine the extreme abbreviation of poetry, the narrative tension of fiction, and the truth-telling of creative nonfiction.” The compelling patchwork chronicles a life in memories and impressions ranging in length from a few pages to a single sentence.
The New Testament: A Translation, David Bentley Hart (Yale University Press). Hart, a fellow at Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study, had come to believe that English translations obscure rather than illuminate the New Testament through the “negotiated accommodations” of committees. In classroom lectures the theologian became an ad hoc translator, instructing students in what existing versions lacked. Now he’s taken on the entire text, producing a “pitilessly literal translation” that recaptures the urgency of the original voices and challenges the comfortable place Christians understand themselves to occupy in society.
The Art of Football: The Early Game in the Golden Age of Illustration, Michael Oriard ’70 (University of Nebraska Press). The author of cultural histories of football and former Notre Dame All-American takes a look at the game through the art that depicted its earliest days. Featuring over 200 images, it includes analysis from Oriard, an Oregon State distinguished professor emeritus of American literature, highlighting how artists helped shape the perception of football as not just a game, but as a test of courage and manliness.
Walt Whitman: Illuminated by the Message, Norbert Krapf ’66M.A., ’71Ph.D. (ACTA Publications). They’re “prayer starters,” selections from literary classics paired with Bible verses to inspire spiritual reflection. Krapf, author of seven volumes of verse and Indiana’s poet laureate from 2008 to 2010, compiled these selections from “Walt the spiritual seeker and explorer.” He dedicates the book to the late Notre Dame poet and professor Ernest Sandeen, who “led me into the depths of Whitman’s poetry.”
it’s not us, Umphrey’s McGee, (Nothing Too Fancy Music). Brevity is not a defining characteristic of Umphrey’s McGee. The improvisational rock group formed at Notre Dame 20 years ago — a long shelf life in the music industry. Founding members Brendan Bayliss ’98, Ryan Stasik ’99 and Joel Cummins ’98 are celebrating with an anniversary tour, but even as they acknowledge the milestone, they’re still evolving. Billboard reports that their 11th studio album features “economic songwriting — the band’s biggest hurdle yet.”
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Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party, A. James McAdams (Princeton University Press). From the drafting of the Communist Manifesto in the 1840s through the Russian Revolution a century ago to the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the Notre Dame professor of international affairs charts how a radical idea originated, evolved and collapsed. McAdams illustrates how communism grew into a global phenomenon that reverberated throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas, nourished through the cult of personality surrounding leaders like Stalin, Mao and Castro.
The New Testament: A Translation, David Bentley Hart (Yale University Press). Hart, a fellow at Notre Dame’s Institute for Advance Study, describes his project as a “foolish venture” sure to provide fodder for controversy from every direction. Yet the religious scholar had come to believe over the years that modern English translations obscure rather than illuminate the New Testament through the “negotiated accommodations” of translation committees. In classroom lectures Hart had become an ad-hoc translator, instructing students in what the existing versions lacked. Now he’s taken on the entire text, producing a “pitilessly literal translation” that recaptures the urgency of the original voices and challenges the comfortable place Christians understand themselves to occupy in society.
Creation ex nihilo: Origins, Development, Contemporary Challenges, Edited by Gary A. Anderson and Markus Bockmuehl (University of Notre Dame Press). The Christian doctrine that God created the universe from nothing dates to at least the second century. In recent years, scientific, theological and philosophical arguments have challenged the doctrine. Anderson, the Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at Notre Dame, and the University of Oxford’s Bockmuehl have assembled a collection of essays that trace the history of the notion of creation ex nihilo and challenge its modern counterpoints.
Whose Words These Are, J. Justin Dilenschneider ’82 and John J. Dilenschneider ’53 (Significance Press). When the elder Dilenschneider attended a dinner party at which accomplished professionals did not know the origins of famous lines like “the shot heard ’round the world” and “do not go gentle into that good night,” he and his son, an English professor in Japan, took the road less traveled by, together. They compiled lines from Chaucer to Dylans Thomas and Bob and added context, commentaries and background, heedless of Alexander Pope’s warning that a little learning can be a dangerous thing.
The Demise of American Democracy: Understanding the Crisis and Resisting the Threats, William R. Durland ’75M.A. (CreateSpace). In this new edition of a book first published in 2016, Durland argues that the election of President Trump and the policies his administration has sought to implement have hastened the replacement of democracy with a conservative autocracy.
Two Cities, William J. Palmer ’65, ’69Ph.D. (Anaphora Literary Press). An “ecological thriller” set in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, Two Cities follows two brothers — one a political activist, the other a celebrity lawyer — who join a massive protest march organized by an eco-rock singer. When the march turns tragic, the tension in Palmer’s ninth novel builds to “an act of brotherly heroism right out of the Dickensian precursor that this novel channels.”
Notre Dame is #1: And Other Spiritual Truths, Timothy Fort ’80, ’84M.A. The claim that God made Notre Dame No. 1 did not always go over well at the schools (Northwestern, Michigan) where Fort studied to become a business ethics professor, a position he now holds at Indiana University. He was dubious about it himself when he arrived as a non-Catholic undergraduate in the 1970s, but he’s come to believe. And, as Fort explains in Notre Dame is #1, he’s convinced that deep engagement in watching sports offers a path to the spiritual and ethical development that could allow fans of any school to make the same No. 1 claim for their own alma maters.
Light vs. Dark, Neil Carmichael ’03 (neilcarmichael.bandcamp.com). After his twin daughters, Lucy and Luna, were born prematurely and spent their first two months in the hospital, guitarist, composer and producer Carmichael felt moved to meditate on the experience through music. Light vs. Dark is his second release based on his family’s ordeal, following Into the World. The albums highlight the emotional ups and downs, as well as capturing the emerging personalities and exploring the potential futures of the girls, who are healthy and thriving.
The Rice Thieves, William Claypool ’72 (Meadow Lane Press). Claypool’s fourth novel is a thriller that turns on the theft of an experimental strain of rice from a U.S. Department of Agriculture facility, setting off an international investigation that leads to the highest levels of the Chinese government.
Behind Blue Eyes, Mark S. Miller ’86J.D. (Sheathed Quill Press). When the grind of billable hours became too much, Miller took “an adult time out.” No mere vacation, Miller convinced his bosses to grant him an extended sabbatical, which he spent on a container ship crossing the Atlantic, a journey along the east coast of Africa and more, testing his passion for the law, the profession to which he returned with a reinvented vision for how to do business.
The Hunny Bunny: A Memoir, Jack Murtha ’09J.D. (CreateSpace). Born with a congenital heart defect, Murtha’s daughter, Katie, faced a dire prognosis even if an arduous surgical course were to prove successful. Murtha writes of the heart-rending stress of caring for an infant with a life-threatening illness and of the inspiration that Katie provided in her 10 months of life.
Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Snake: The Birth of the Medical Profession, T.A. Cavanaugh ’95Ph.D. (Oxford University Press). A University of San Francisco philosophy professor and medical ethicist, Cavanaugh examines the foundational principle of the medical profession — first, do no harm. Drawing on ancient Greek language, mythology and drama, Cavanaugh illuminates the rise of the Hippocratic Oath and its relevance in modern practice.
Kinetics in Materials Science and Engineering, Dennis W. Readey ’59 (CRC Press). Designed for junior and senior undergraduates and first-year graduate students, Readey’s textbook encompasses a range of topics including metals, ceramics, polymers, electronic materials, biomaterials and composites. Readey, University Emeritus Professor of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, offers an overview of principles involved in the heat treatment of steels, the processing of silicon integrated microchips, the production of cement and the movement of drugs through the human body.
Jason Kelly is an associate editor of this magazine.