What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era, Carlos Lozada ’93 (Simon & Schuster). A book of books: Lozada, the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction book critic of The Washington Post, surveys the proliferation of literary attempts to make sense of President Donald Trump’s America — covering 150 books in all. Whether they’re Trump’s staunchest supporters or harshest critics, Lozada finds, the authors tend to suffer from the same blind spots and prejudices that polarize the country’s political discourse. What Were We Thinking concludes with a dozen titles the critic applauds for their incisive examination of Trump’s rise and this moment in American history.
The Color of Compromise, Jemar Tisby ’02 (Amazon Prime Video). Through this “video study” of his 2019 book, the Christian writer and historian examines the connections between American Christianity and racial discrimination from the colonial period to the current era of the Black Lives Matter movement. The 12-episode video series outlines the actions Tisby believes will be needed “to forge a future of equality and justice.”
A Dog-Friendly Town, Josephine Cameron ’00MFA (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Middle school looms for Epic McDade, who would rather not leave his elementary school. Better yet, he’d just keep helping out at his family’s dog-friendly bed and breakfast. It’s not just the B&B; Epic’s whole town is voted the country’s No. 1 canine destination, prompting a weeklong celebration, the disappearance of a jeweled collar and an adventure to sniff out whodunit.
Presidential Spirits, Dan Coonan ’84 (Goose River Press). In the America of this debut novel, the 45th president of the United States is Danny McFadden, a moderate who struggles to govern a polarized nation. Then he finds a saloon with 44 regulars who commiserate with his plight — all his predecessors, living and dead. To a man, McFadden discovers, they want only what’s best for the country, inspiring the current occupant of the Oval Office to wonder how he can bring their collective wisdom to bear in uniting the public.
Departure, Joseph Reid ’00J.D. (Thomas & Mercer). Suspected of being a lone-wolf terrorist, a brilliant engineer goes missing, and air marshal Seth Walker is asked to investigate. Following leads to the San Francisco airport, Walker must find his man before the vice president, the assassin’s purported target, arrives. Kirkus Reviews calls the third installment in Reid’s popular series “a by-the-minute thriller, with roller-coaster action.”
King of the Yellow Jackets and Other Stories, John Pesta ’65. The author’s varied career — professor of English literature, publisher of a small-town newspaper — has long provided fodder for his novels and short stories. The latter, some of which have appeared in literary journals, others published here for the first time, make up Pesta’s latest collection with tales spanning the 1950s to a “slightly twisted” near future, featuring a boy who believes he can speak with bees, a man haunted by a childhood secret and a married couple at odds over an obsession with pin-up models.