Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
by Liza Mundy (Grad ’87)

Under the guise of secretarial work, thousands of American women broke enemy codes and saved lives as invaluable assets to the war effort. What’s more, they kept their secrets until code-breaking records were declassified more than 50 years later. Mundy unearths a fascinating piece of history while recognizing a few of the many unsung heroes of the war.

The Twelve-Mile Straight
by Eleanor Henderson (Grad ’05)

When two babies—one black and one white—are born to the white daughter of a sharecropper, a town in Depression-era South Georgia reels from the fallout while the family is forced to confront its own history. Henderson portrays the diverse experiences of the Jim Crow South in this tale of race and class divisions, deception and family.

Higher Calling: The Rise of Nontraditional Leaders in Academia
by Scott Beardsley (Faculty)

Beardsley was named the ninth dean of the Darden School of Business after being deemed the “nontraditional candidate” by numerous search firms because of his background at McKinsey & Co. He chronicles his own path before launching into his investigation into why universities are increasingly being drawn to leaders from off the beaten—tenure—track.

Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical’s Struggle to Remake America
by Kevin R.C. Gutzman (Grad ’94, ’99)

Based on the premise that Jefferson “was America’s most revolutionary founding father,” Gutzman’s book focuses not on the figure’s singular accomplishments but on the themes of reform, such as federalism and assimilation, that wove through his career. Without justifying the dissonance between parts of Jefferson’s life, the author argues that the complex and “radical” Jefferson should not be simplified, nor his legacy diminished.

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic
by Daniel Mendelsohn (Col ’82)

Doubling as memoir and primer on the ancient epic The Odyssey, Mendelsohn’s book invites readers to join his father and him on a joint journey of understanding that begins in a classroom at Bard College and follows Odysseus’ route around the Mediterranean Sea, wandering into family history and back home, where life for the two is both fragile and more deeply bound.

Sucking Up: A Brief Consideration of Sycophancy
by Deborah Parker (Faculty) and Mark Parker

In their examination of history, literature, movies and modern figures, the authors shed light on the origins, effects and prevalence of sycophancy. While acknowledging the sometimes comic nature of brownnosing, they argue that “to confront sycophancy—and its enablers—is to engage in a struggle over the very nature of reality.”