Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick ’78 (Viking).
In this vivid history, Philbrick (In The Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, The Last Stand) details the confusing and tumultuous months following the Boston Tea Party and leading up to the battle of Bunker Hill. This is not just the story of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock; it’s a messy saga with a vast cast and plenty of unsung heroes, among them Dr. Joseph Warren, who died in the battle’s last minutes.
Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett ’78, ’81 AM (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s).
Fame, it seems, can arrive when you least expect it. Amy Gallup (The Writing Class) is an unlikely heroine, a weary writing instructor who hasn’t written a book in three decades. But Amy slips in the yard and bangs her head on the birdbath. A concussion ensues, followed by a loopy, unremembered interview with a reporter, which leads to a burst of Internet notoriety and a fresh chance at literary glory. A hilarious and hopeful novel.
Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here by Karima Bennoune ’88 (Norton). An Algerian-born human rights lawyer and law professor at UC Davis, the agnostic Bennoune interviewed nearly 300 antifundamentalist “people of Muslim heritage” around the globe for this collection of resistance stories. She speaks with journalists, doctors, dancers, comics, grandmothers, teachers, and former prisoners—many of them nonobservant Muslims who are deeply concerned about the rise of fundamentalism. “Fundamentalism had pushed me away from Islam,” Bennoune writes, “but these antifundamentalists gave my own version of that heritage back to me in all its beauty and contradiction.”