Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson (A.B. 1987, M.A. ’87)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and a finalist for several major awards, including the National Book Award, Residential College Professor Heather Ann Thompson’s comprehensive history of the Attica uprising recounts the events from the perspectives of prisoners, hostages, lawyers, judges, and law enforcement. (Thompson also teaches in the Departments of Afroamerican & African Studies and History.) Written from more than a decade of research, Thompson’s book creates an authoritative account of one of the biggest civil rights stories of the century.

(Above) Author photo by Graham MacIndoe

The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts by Tiya Miles

This novel follows the lives of three contemporary women who find themselves enmeshed in the complicated legacy of a Georgia plantation. Threading lives and time periods together, the novel is written by Mary Henrietta Graham Distinguished University Professor and Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor Tiya Miles, who teaches in the Departments of American Culture, History, Afroamerican & African Studies, and the Women's Studies and Native American Studies Programs.

(Above) Author photo by David Lewinski

The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail by Jason De León

Books about U.S. immigration policy typically don’t include its casualties. Here, Anthropology Professor Jason De León uses his training to document the suffering and tell the stories of people who attempted crossing the Mexican border through the Sonoran Desert.

(Above) Author photo by Michael Wells

Live from Cairo by Ian Bassingthwaighte (releases July 11, 2017) (M.F.A. 2015)

This debut novel from Zell Writers’ Program alumnus Ian Bassingthwaighte tells the story of an Iraqi refugee, Dalia, trapped in Egypt in the days after President Hosni Mubarak has been removed from power. A touching portrait of the city and of Dalia, Live from Cairo paints a vibrant picture of the tumult of revolution and the chaos that unspools in the wake of trauma and tragedy.

(Above) Author photo by Erica Shubin

Crescent City Girls by LaKisha Michelle Simmons (Ph.D. 2009)

What was it like to be a black girl growing up in Jim Crow New Orleans? Using material from newspapers, social work assessments, police reports, and photographs, alumna and Assistant Professor of History and Women’s Studies LaKisha Simmons tells the individual stories of girls from a range of families in the segregated south, creating a group biography that helps us understand the effects of segregation on the process of growing up. 

(Above) Author photo by Bill Giduz

Somebody with a Little Hammer by Mary Gaitskill

“At the door of every contented, happy man, somebody should stand with a little hammer,” Anton Chekhov wrote, “constantly tapping, to remind him that unhappy people exist, that however happy he may be, sooner or later life will show him its claws, some calamity will befall him—illness, poverty, loss—and nobody will hear or see, just as he doesn’t hear or see others now.” Novelist and short story master Mary Gaitskill (A.B. 1981) tackles sadness, sex, music, politics, and more in this, her first book of nonfiction.

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

In this autobiographical coming-of-age novel written by Anthropology Professor Ruth Behar, a young girl emigrates from Cuba to New York. Just as she’s starting to acclimate to her new home, she is injured in a car accident that leaves her confined to her bed while she recovers. As her body heals, her powers of empathy, observation, and gratitude grow. Appropriate for ages 10 and up. 

(Above) Author photo by Gabriel Frye-Behar

The Cosmic Cocktail by Katherine Freese

Physicists take dark matter seriously, and The Cosmic Cocktail author and LSA physicist Katherine Freese is no exception. In her recent book, Freese combines hardcore research with funny anecdotes to show what some scientists do when their academic conference shuts down for the day. Freese herself hangs out with the queen of Sweden, theorizes about the building blocks of dark matter, and remembers the poetic beauty (but freezing swimming temperatures) of British lakes. What’s dark matter made of? Well, we don’t know yet, but Freese prepares us for the discovery that everyone swears will happen in the next few short years. 

Field Theories by Samiya Bashir (M.F.A 2011)

Part of a multimedia collaboration by the same name, Field Theories is written by Zell Writers’ Program alumna Samiya Bashir (M.F.A. 2011). The book explores black experiences, quantum physics, and associative leaps of imagination, and combines details from daily life into a collection of verse equally at home in the quotidian and the cosmic.

(Above) Author photo by Kenan Banks

Stories Without Borders by Julia Sonnevend

Why do some stories of significant events become iconic while others fade from memory? Examining stories written about the fall of the Berlin Wall, Julia Sonnevend, professor of communication studies, identifies five elements that make stories last. She also observes the way such stories affect communities and cultures, and notes that when treaties, currencies, and alliances fail, stories can become the common coin that unites us.

(Above) Author photo by Roger Kriegel

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani (M.S.E. 1987, M.I.L.S. ’92)

Can machines think? The question posed a lifelong distraction for Alan Turing, a British academic whose research informed much of modern computer science. Between playing chess, working at a top-secret code-breaking facility during World War II, and placing fifth as a runner in an Olympics qualifying marathon, Turing obsessed over artificial intelligence. In a graphic novel about Turing’s life, The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded, U-M librarian and former nuclear engineer Jim Ottaviani (M.S.E. 1987, M.I.L.S. ’92) tells the story of Turing’s life, career, and tragic death.

(Above) Author photo by Susan Skarsgard