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Mother Land
Paul Theroux ’63
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

To those in her Cape Cod town, Mother is an exemplar of piety, frugality, and hard work. To her husband and seven children, she is the selfish, petty tyrant of Mother Land. Mother Land is a piercing portrait of how a parent’s narcissism impacts a family, an engrossing, heartbreaking, and often funny saga of a vast family that bickers, colludes, connives, and ultimately overcomes the painful ties that bind them.



Hand, Horse, and Motor: The Development of the Lawn Mower Industry in the United States
James B. Ricci ’71
North Farms Press

Ricci’s interest in lawn mowers began while he was growing up on a 25-acre farm in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the 1950s. His book features nearly 200 individuals or corporations that manufactured lawn mowers in this country and offers a snapshot on the patents, products, and historical contributions each brought to the industry. It also offers anecdotes, photographs, and ephemera from the author’s extensive collection.



Ed Meek ’73
Tailwinds Press

A young bartender finds himself complicit in the breakdown of his housemate’s relationship with his girlfriend; a married, middle-aged professor of composition abjectly crumbles under the stress of his affair with a beautiful student. In his debut fiction collection, poet Ed Meek vividly reimagines a gritty, freewheeling 1970s Boston where the cynical, impulsive inhabitants negotiate the blurry boundaries of personal responsibility.



Understanding Cuba as a Nation: From European Settlement to Global Revolutionary Mission
Rafael Tarragó ’74

A detailed yet accessibly written exploration of the history of Cuba since the Spanish conquest of 1511 that illustrates the development of the Cuban nation and summarizes the accomplishments of Cubans since the 16th century in the arts, literature, and science.



Before You
Rebecca Doughty ’79
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

With playful rhyming metaphors and simple yet lively text and whimsical illustrations, this picture book celebrates how the love of another change’s one life for the better.



Sailing towards Poland with Joseph Conrad
Jean M. Szczypien ’81PhD
Peter Lang Publishing

Famed author Joseph Conrad ingeniously buried images from Polish literature and culture into his works. Once recognized, these references alter the accepted meanings of the texts. Yet, the Polish sources deeply rooted in Conrad’s works have been scantily acknowledged and hardly explored. Szcyypien unearths the cache of Polish references in some of Conrad’s works.



Mr. Clark's Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears, and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room
Meredith O'Brien ’91
Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

When 12-year-old Eric Green, a middle school student in Southborough, Massachusetts, dies in his sleep from an undiagnosed heart ailment, his small town is plunged into mourning. The 33 members of the Trottier jazz band, where Eric was a trumpet player, are shaken to their core. From the throes of his own grief, the band’s director, Jamison Clark, becomes the children’s guide and catalyst for healing.



Lilli de Jong
Janet Benton ’92G
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can’t accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive. Read the full review.



Man of the Year: A Memoir
Lou Cove ’93
Flatiron Books

In 1978, 12-year-old Lou Cove is uprooted from Manhattan to Salem, Massachusetts. Lou figures he should just resign himself to a tedious teenage purgatory—until an old friend of Lou’s father enlists him to run his campaign to become Playgirl’s Man of the Year. Man of the Year is the improbable true story of Lou’s thirteenth year



Objects of Devotion: Religion in Early America
Peter Manseau ’96
Smithsonian Books

The companion volume to a Smithsonian National Museum of American History exhibition, this book explores the wide range of religious traditions vying for adherents, acceptance, and a prominent place in the public square from the 1630s to the 1840s.



Noah's Raven: A Novel of Early 20th Century America (Volume 3 of The Trolley Days Series)
Robert T. McMaster ’97PhD
Unquomonk Press

September, 1917. The nation has entered the Great War. While young Americans by the hundreds of thousands march into battle in Europe, back home the nation’s social fabric is torn asunder by patriotic fervor and xenophobia. When two German-American classmates are taunted in the schoolyard, 14-year-old Claire Bernard rushes to their defense.



Krakatoa Picnic
James Heflin ’00G
Hedgerow Books

“The unlikeliest thing keeps on happening so often you think it's normal.” So states a line from the title poem of James Heflin’s original, searching, and wide-reaching debut volume of poetry. Heflin’s world is bizarre yet recognizably our own, with dark and humorous underpinnings.



Agrarian Crossings: Reformers and the Remaking of the U.S. and Mexican Countryside
Tore C. Olsson ’04
Princeton University Press

In the 1930s and 1940s, rural reformers in the United States and Mexico waged unprecedented campaigns to remake their countrysides in the name of agrarian justice and agricultural productivity. Describing how Roosevelt’s New Deal drew on Mexican revolutionary agrarianism to shape its program for the rural South, the author also looks at how the South served as the domestic laboratory for the Rockefeller Foundation’s “green revolution” in Mexico—which would become the most important Third World development campaign of the 20th century.




Readiness Realities: Struggles and Successes during the Transition to College
Pamela Hollander ’05
Sense Publishers

For higher education scholars and practitioners, and those generally interested in the future of college, this book helps tell a novel story about the transition to college, from the perspective of an experienced college professor.



The Function of Evil Across Disciplinary Contexts
Brian Johnson ’10PhD, coeditor
Lexington Press

This book explores two important questions about the age-old theme of evil: is there any use in using the concept of evil in cultural, psychological, or other secular evaluations of the world and its productions? Most importantly, if there is, what might these functions be? By looking across disciplines and analyzing evil, this work demonstrates the varying ways that we interact with the ethical dilemma as academics, as citizens, and as people.



The Nazi Card: Nazi Comparisons at the Beginning of the Cold War
Brian Johnson ’10PhD, coeditor
Lexington Press

As images of Nazi atrocities became part of American culture’s common store, the evil of their old enemy, beyond the Nazis as a wartime opponent, became increasingly important. The Nazi Card is an invaluable look at the way comparisons to Nazis are used in American culture, the history of those comparisons, and the repercussions of establishing a political definition of evil.



To the New Owners: A Martha's Vineyard Memoir
Madeleine Blais, faculty
Grove Atlantic

The professor of journalism and Pulitzer Prize-winner writes a memoir of her family's vacation home on Martha's Vineyard. This elegy to a special place will resonate with all those who have spent time on the island and all those who dream about it.



Digital Justice: Technology and the Internet of Disputes
Ethan Katsh, faculty, coauthor
Oxford University Press

Improving access to justice has been an ongoing process, and on-demand justice should be a natural part of our increasingly on-demand society. Digital Justice introduces the reader to new technological tools to resolve and prevent disputes.



More Words to the Wise: Further Reflections on Polish Language, Literature, and Folklore
Robert A. Rothstein, faculty
Slavica Pub

This volume is a continuation of Rothstein’s first collection, Two Words to the Wise. This edited collection of 75 of his columns in the Boston-based biweekly Biały Orzeł/White Eagle deals with topics ranging from pierogi to paczki, from butterflies to ladybugs (and why the ladybug rejected a marriage proposal from a beetle), from the origins of the polka to the role of pineapples in Polish literature.



UMass Student Trustees: A Dissertation
Raul Fernandez

An interesting dissertation on UMass Student Trustees,, containing a trove of stories, including: how Governor Francis Sargent, in the midst of violent student protest, pushed to create the Student Trustee position; how student trustees pushed the board in a more progressive direction—adopting co-ed dormitories, providing greater due process in conduct matters, and asserting that students have primary responsibility over student policies; and how UMass leaders came to characterize student trustee contributions as helpful, valuable, and significant.