Old Notre Dame: Paul Fenlon, Sorin Hall & Me, Philip Hicks ’80 (Corby Books). Paul Fenlon was the last of Notre Dame’s “bachelor dons,” the professors-in-residence who elevated dorm life with their wisdom and erudition — and suffered the disturbances that come with living among college students. Hicks, a historian at Saint Mary’s College, was a Sorin Hall resident in his student days and got to know Fenlon at the end of the English professor’s life. A beloved fixture in Sorin by the time Hicks arrived, Fenlon had a “genius for friendship” that forged a bond between the two, and the elder’s stories of campus past enriched the aspiring historian’s education.
They Knew They Were Pilgrims: Plymouth Colony and the Contest for American Liberty, John G. Turner ’06Ph.D. (Yale University Press). The Church of England separatists aboard the Mayflower in 1620 understood their mission as a spiritual quest to preserve their right to worship as they wished. Accounts of their actions in New England depict their conception of liberty as narrow, resulting in the persecution of religious dissenters and the pillaging of native peoples. Turner’s analysis complicates each narrative, depicting the pilgrims as neither religious freedom fighters nor pillaging interlopers and portraying instead a complex contest between settlers and natives over liberty in America.
¡Presente! Nonviolent Politics and the Resurrection of the Dead, Kyle B.T. Lambelet ’17Ph.D. (Georgetown University Press). An annual vigil outside the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, began in the wake of the 1989 murder of six Jesuits in which graduates of the officer-training facility were involved. School of the Americas Watch, an advocacy organization, protests human rights abuses committed by the predominantly Latin American soldiers who train at what’s now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Lambelet’s extended case study of the effort to close the facility argues that the presence of the dead, which the vigils proclaim through a recitation of the names of victims of violent repression, “generates practical reasoning” rather than inspiring violence or sectarianism.
City of Bridges, David Michael Belczyk ’03 (Wipf and Stock Publishers). A story of “both myth and mystery,” Belczyk’s second novel follows the tale of a courier killed while crossing a bridge. A century later, three friends join a search for what the courier carried and find themselves drawn into the quest not only to find the item, but to solve the mystery of his death. The author of several poetry collections, Belczyk explores through writing described as “lyrical and literary” how the stories we inherit, and the uncertainties inherent in them, define our lives.