Summer reads: Brandeis professors, librarians offer their picks

Images of the covers of the books listed in the article below

BrandeisNow asked university faculty and librarians for some summer reading recommendations. Here is what they had to offer:

“The Politics of Resentment: Rural consciousness in Wisconsin and the rise of Scott Walker” by Kathy Cramer

After the 2016 election, a number of friends asked me what they could read to help them understand the outcome of the presidential contest. While there is no single text that explains the election, I found this book helpful as both a political scientist and a voter. -Jill Greenlee, Associate Professor of Politics

"No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America" by Darnell L. Moore

A powerful and beautifully written memoir about growing up black and queer, and the power of love as key to individual and collective justice and liberation. - Chad Williams, Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Chair in History

“The Cold Dish” (Walt Longmire Series #1) by Craig Johnson

Thinking about a virtual summer vacation, I went looking for something different. I turned to the Midwest. Walt Longmire, sheriff of Wyoming's Absaroka County, is a well-read and world-weary elected official facing a volatile and challenging case where revenge and justice are almost one and the same -Matthew Sheehy, University Librarian

“In the Skin of a Jihadist: A Young Journalist Enters the ISIS Recruitment Network” by Anna Erelle

The book is written by a French journalist who creates an online profile for herself pretending to be a wanna-be jihadist bride. The story unfolds as the author strikes up an online romance with a French ISIS fighter, and details how she, the journalist, becomes drawn in through the online exchanges. It is light reading and suspenseful in an odd way. It details the powerful psychological mechanisms that recruiters use to groom their naive interlocutors to a point where the target of the grooming becomes ready to do things that should have been unthinkable. -Jytte Klausen, Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation

“Biogea” by Michel Serres

A beautiful book about living with the earth and engaging with the world.


“Highway Kind” by Justine Kurland

Kurland’s most recent photo book was created during, and in at least a small way capturing, the five years she crisscrossed the country with her young son. - Peter Kalb, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art on the Cynthia L. and Theodore S. Berenson Chair and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

“Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936” by Edward Sorel

This is an irresistible work of graphic, in both senses of the word, non-fiction by the great cartoonist-illustrator Edward Sorel, who affectionately chronicles one of most salacious Hollywood scandals of the 1930s—the actress Mary Astor’s clinically detailed account of her passionate affair with playwright George S. Kaufman, an illicit l’amour fou that came to tabloid light during a custody battle for her daughter. It’s great beach reading—and after curling up with Astor’s unblushing play by play, you can go into the ocean and cool off. -Thomas Doherty, Professor of American Studies

Sylvia Fuks Fried, Director of Publications at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and Executive Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, offers these three books, all published by the Brandeis University Press:

“Haifa: City of Steps” by Nili Scharf Gold

Nili Gold was born in Haifa to German-speaking parents in 1948. In this new slim volume she offers a remarkable homage to Haifa in its heyday as an international port and cultural center: from the 1920s and 30s, when Jews and Arabs lived together under British rule and public buildings were erected reflecting European, modernist, Jewish, and Arab architectural influences, through 1948 when most Arabs left, and into the 50s and 60s. Illustrated with more than thirty-five photographs and six maps, Gold’s astute observations of the changing landscape of her childhood and youth highlight literary works that portray deeply held feelings for Haifa, by such canonical Israeli writers as A. B. Yehoshua, Sami Michael, and Dahlia Ravikovitch.

“Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s” by Marc Dollinger

Marc Dollinger charts the transformation of American Jewish political culture from the Cold War liberal consensus of the early postwar years to the rise and influence of Black Power–inspired ethnic nationalism. He shows how, in a period best known for the rise of black antisemitism and the breakdown of the black-Jewish alliance, black nationalists enabled Jewish activists to devise a new Judeo-centered political agenda—including the emancipation of Soviet Jews, the rise of Jewish day schools, the revitalization of worship services with gender-inclusive liturgy, and the birth of a new form of American Zionism. Undermining widely held beliefs about the black-Jewish alliance, Dollinger describes a new political consensus, based on identity politics, that drew blacks and Jews together and altered the course of American liberalism.

“The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and History of a Cuisine” by Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman; forward by Nach Waxman

This cookbook features recipes for German-Jewish cuisine as it existed in Germany prior to World War II, and as refugees later adapted it in the United States and elsewhere. Because these dishes differ from more familiar Jewish food, they will be a discovery for many people. With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, this indispensable collection of recipes includes numerous soups, both chilled and hot; vegetable dishes; meats, poultry, and fish; fruit desserts; cakes; and the German version of challah, Berches. These elegant and mostly easy-to-make recipes range from light summery fare to hearty winter foods. The Gropmans—a mother-daughter author pair—have honored the original recipes Gabrielle learned after arriving as a baby in Washington Heights from Germany in 1939, while updating their format to reflect contemporary standards of recipe writing.

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