Required Reading

Seven books to keep you turning pages all summer

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
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The Heavens Might Crack

The Heavens Might Crack

The Death and Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jason Sokol, Basic Books, March 2018

Many historical accounts of Martin Luther King end on April 4, 1968 — the date on which the civil rights leader was fatally shot as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Far from the end of the story however, for Sokol, an associate professor of history whose previous books have shed new light on the civil rights movement, political history and African-American history, King’s assassination was the launching point for a major assessment of 50 years of race relations in the United States. At the time of his murder, King was a polarizing figure: scorned by many white Americans, revered by some African Americans and liberal whites and dismissed as irrelevant by many black youth. In “The Heavens Might Crack,” Sokol traces the diverse responses, both in America and beyond, to King’s death, detailing how King’s assassination and the uprisings that followed sent shock waves across the world and cast light on a dark chapter of the United States’ racial history. More than a biography of King, Sokol’s book is an account of a country coming to terms with a profound level of racial antipathy that, far from fading with time, still persists half a century after the civil rights leader’s death.

 

Networked News, Racial Divides

Networked News, Racial Divides

How Power and Privilege Shape Public Discourse in Progressive Communities

Sue Robinson ’94, Cambridge University Press, Nov. 2017

An acclaimed University of Wisconsin journalism professor, Robinson chronicles her seven-year exploration of race-related power dynamics in media and, by extension, public decision-making in search of the answer to a provocative question: Why do so-called progressive cities have so many issues with race? Robinson’s narrative hangs on the story of Madison Prep, a proposed Wisconsin charter school for black students that became the focal point of a much larger debate about race, and uses network analysis and interviews with journalists, activists and others to examine the racial divides that persist beneath the “liberal” surface of cities like Madison.

 

Gunpowder Moon

Gunpowder Moon

David Pedreira ’90, Harper Voyager, Feb. 2018

The moon smells like gunpowder: a burnt-metal scent that reminds U.S. mining operations chief Caden Dechert of his days as a Marine in the war-torn Middle East back on Earth. In first-time novelist Pedreira’s sci-fi thriller, the year is 2072, and Dechert is overseeing lunar mining activities that are powering fusion reactors critical to bringing Earth back from environmental disaster. But when a bomb kills one of Dechert’s miners, he suspects that competing for the richest prize in the history of the world has destroyed the oldest rule in space — safety for all — and must tap into his fraught military past to expose the culprit before the first murder on the moon leads to others.

 

Court Justice

Court Justice

The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA

Ed O’Bannon and Michael McCann, Diversion Publishing, Feb. 2018

Should student athletes receive compensation when the NCAA uses their names, images and likenesses on licensed products? That was the question at the heart of former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon’s groundbreaking lawsuit against the NCAA and Electronic Arts for using images of former and current student athletes for commercial purposes. Longtime Sports Illustrated legal analyst and director of UNH Law’s Sports and Entertainment Law Institute McCann teams up with O’Bannon to tell the former player’s story, shedding light on the many ways college players are exploited financially and making a case for sweeping reform in the multi-billion dollar industry of NCAA sports.

 

DIY Circus Lab

DIY Circus Lab

A family-friendly guide for juggling, balancing, clowning, and show-making

Jackie Leigh Davis ’91, Quarry Books, Feb. 2018

Ever wanted to learn how to juggle, walk on a tightrope or make your own stilts? The founder of the Hilltop Circus program at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, New Hampshire, Davis brings her long career in movement and circus arts education to bear on this engaging and interactive how-to circus guide for preteens, early teenagers — and the kid in all of us.

 

The Thorns of Freedom: An exile’s return to Latvia

Thorns of Freedom

Vaira Paegle ’67G, Branden Books, Feb. 2018

Business interests over the public’s interests, abuse of power, and the plight of refugees are among the themes of Paegle’s memoir. A Latvian exile who returned decades later to assume a seat in the country’s Parliament and became a candidate for the Latvian presidency, Paegle sets her story against a background of momentous, historic changes for Latvia and Latvians, who endured 50 years of Russian occupation and later had to adjust to the responsibilities that freedom brings.

 

The Impeachment of Chief Justice David Brock

The Impeachment of Chief Justice David Brock

David Steelman '67, '70G and John Cerullo, Lexington Books, Nov. 2017

Former regional vice president for the National Center for State Courts Steelman and UNH Manchester emeritus history professor Cerulla bring their expertise to bear on this analysis of 2000's highly visible impeachment of New Hampshire Chief Justice David Brock. The duo's book addresses the historical background for the Brock impeachment, recounts the N.H. House decision to impeach and the subsequent Senate trial, and concludes with a discussion of the aftermath of what proved to be a highly consequential ordeal that provided a needed catalyst for reforms to legislative/judicial relations in the Granite State.

 

Originally published in UNH Magazine Spring 2018 Issue

This article is part of the series:

UNH President Mark Huddleston during Homecoming parade 2017
Farewell: President Mark Huddleston ends an 11-year tenure that changed UNH for the better.