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New & Noteworthy

Spring 2020

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (Grad ’05)

Book cover of Ask Again, Yes

In this New York Times bestselling novel, two suburban New York cops are neighbors, their families joined by a sudden, horrifying tragedy. Keane sets up a complex drama that plays out over decades, as the officers’ children, Peter and Kate, bond and deal with what has happened. Forgiveness and perspective are central.

Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones by Daniel Mendelsohn (Col ’82)

Book cover of Ecstasy and Terror

With 20 collected essays, the critic/scholar again invokes the classics as “models for thinking about contemporary culture.” Antigone, for example, is wise ballast for the issue of burying a Boston Marathon bomber. Personal pieces reflect literature’s salvations—the caring of Mary Renault, an intercession during a despairing Holocaust search.

The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took On the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee (Grad ’95)

Book cover of The League of Wives

Through interviews, diaries and more, Lee illuminates a group of influential wives of POW/MIA pilots of the Vietnam War. Some names are familiar—Jane Denton, Kathleen Johnson, Sybil Stockdale. Others, less so. In their approach to Washington and Hanoi, they first are constrained by protocol and inexperience; they become empowered and outspoken activists.

What’s the Point of College? Seeking Purpose in an Age of Reform by Johann N. Neem (Grad ’99, ’04)

Book cover of What’s the Point of College?

To discuss “fixing” higher ed, says this history professor, we must decide what colleges are for. A liberal education means “reading—and discussing and writing about—specific texts that happen to reshape our perspective about ourselves or the world.” Job and business skills are best taught elsewhere, he argues.