The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down, Abigail Pesta ’91 (Seal Press). The sexual abuse that U.S. Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar inflicted on young female gymnasts is among the greatest tragedies in American sports. Pesta explores how the osteopath cultivated an image as a beloved figure in his Michigan community even as he was manipulating the athletes and their families. Through interviews that reveal the experiences of many victims — from the first known survivor to the last — Pesta tells a story of betrayal and, ultimately, resilience among the abused in rebuilding their lives.
The Glory and the Burden: The American Presidency from FDR to Trump, Robert Schmuhl ’70 (University of Notre Dame Press). It’s been about 75 years since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four-term presidency, an extended run in office now prohibited by constitutional amendment. The two-term maximum is among the changes that emerged from FDR’s tenure and, Schmuhl argues, have shaped the office and its occupants ever since. The Walter H. Annenberg-Edmund P. Joyce chair emeritus in American studies and journalism also analyzes how the changing media environment has influenced the campaigning and governing of subsequent commanders-in-chief — up to the present-day “Twitter blasts” from Donald Trump.
Mercenaries and Missionaries: Capitalism and Catholicism in the Global South, Brandon Vaidyanathan ’14Ph.D. (Cornell University Press). Different types of individualism infuse corporate workplaces and Catholic congregations, Vaidyanathan finds in research he conducted in India and the United Arab Emirates. Influenced by distinct commercial and spiritual cultures, Catholics in Bangalore and Dubai balance opposing moral demands: the mercenary pursuit of status and profit in business (what he calls “apprehensive individualism”) and the missionary commitments of their faith (“therapeutic individualism”). Vaidyanathan, the sociology department chair at Catholic University, examines how people shuttle between these objectives and considers the social and political consequences of their conflicting but intertwining impulses.
When Not Yet Is Now, Samuel Hazo ’49 (Franciscan University Press). A bard of everyday life, Hazo seeks “the quiet nobility in the quotidian.” His 30th collection of poems further establishes the former Pennsylvania poet laureate and founder of Pittsburgh’s International Poetry Forum — who has also written acclaimed novels, plays, essays and memoirs — as a leading voice in American letters. An accessible one, too, as evident in Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Wilbur’s observation that Hazo’s poetry offers “a spare, sparkling flow of good talk . . . utterly engaging.”
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Faith and Science at Notre Dame: John Zahm, Evolution, and the Catholic Church, John P. Slattery ’17Ph.D. (University of Notre Dame Press). Priest and scientist John Zahm, CSC, argued for the compatibility of evolution and Catholicism, a controversial position to take in the late 19th century given his roles as Notre Dame professor and vice president. Father Zahm, whose adventurous life included a South American expedition with Theodore Roosevelt, suffered censure for his views. Slattery’s book draws on new archival information from letters and reports that deepen our understanding of the scientific, theological and philosophical forces in the Church and put Zahm’s stance and the consequences he faced in a new light.
Dogfight Over Tokyo: The Final Air Battle of the Pacific and the Last Four Men to Die in World War II, John Wukovits ’67 (Da Capo Press). Word of the official end of World War II and an order to cease offensive operations reached the USS Yorktown only after a final, fateful mission had begun. Four pilots lifted off from the Yorktown on August 15, 1945, and turned back at the news of the ceasefire only to be set upon by 20 Japanese planes. The four aviators were the last casualties of the war, killed after peace had been restored.
The Conservative Case for Class Actions, Brian T. Fitzpatrick ’97 (University of Chicago Press). Fitzpatrick reframes class-action lawsuits as a form of private law enforcement that conservatives should support, as opposed to the threat to the economy that many on the political right perceive them to be. Because markets need at least some rules to thrive, and because conservatives tend to consider private-sector corrections superior to government intervention, Fitzpatrick argues that class-action litigation provides a conservative remedy to corporate misdeeds.
Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections, Michelle Schaub ’93 (Charlesbridge). How can you share your collection during show-and-tell if you don’t collect anything? When a girl facing this dilemma asks her family and friends, she finds they’re all collectors of something. Using a variety of poetic forms to describe their collections, the girl discovers that she has a collection of her own.
The Jealous Son, Michele Chynoweth ’83 (Mantle Rock Publishing). A modern-day murder mystery based on the story of Cain and Abel, The Jealous Son tells the story of brotherly love curdled into envy, leading to unfathomable loss. How does a broken family rebuild itself? And where is God in the midst of such desperation?
The Last Leader, Joe Moody ’93 (Moody House LLC). “What if women ruled the world?” This novel asks that question through the story of a woman whose charm and wit (plus a little techno-magic) propel her to the top. When a man discovers the dark secrets behind her ascent, he confronts conflicting feelings: Should he challenge the woman after the power has gone to her head, or are they meant to be together?