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New books by Swarthmore graduates


Teresa Nicholas ’76

University Press of Mississippi

In this sensitively drawn, impeccably researched bio, fellow Mississippian Nicholas reclaims the legacy of writer’s writer and Southern icon Willie Morris. Rising to national fame as the youngest-ever helmer of Harper’s Magazine in 1967, the brilliant, demon-battling Morris wrote 23 books (including My Dog Skip) and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. “For me, personally, he was a key figure,” Nicholas says. “He encouraged me to ‘get a good liberal arts education’ before embarking on any writing career. It’s because of Willie that I applied to Swarthmore.”


Carl Abbott ’66

Imagined Frontiers
University of Oklahoma Press


Exploring the intersection of Western history, urban planning, and science fiction, Abbott digs into American artists’ long fascination with life on the edge, whether that’s the suburban New Jersey of Tony Soprano or the sagebrush-and-outer-space aesthetic of Serenity. Cutting across genres to blend history, social science, and art, Abbott analyzes how “frontiers, finally, are places of possibility for the invention of new institutions or the reinventions of self”—in other words: the ways Americans think about and define themselves, their world, and their future. 


John Potash ’87

Drugs as Weapons Against Us
Trine Day


Subtitling his book “The CIA’s Murderous Targeting of SDS, Panthers, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain, Tupac, and Other Activists,” Potash argues that government-sanctioned drug-trafficking oligarchs promote their product—and ultimately silence dissent—by hooking musicians and leftist leaders. A longtime addictions counselor who drew on more than two decades of research to write Drugs as Weapons Against Us, Potash says his rhetoric is provocative in the name of activism. “I’m hoping my sources create a healthier debate over these issues,”

he writes.


Lauren Belfer ’75

And After the Fire


What if a lost cantata—dizzyingly beautiful, dauntingly inflammatory—by Johann Sebastian Bach bound two women across time? Epic yet intimate, And After the Fire connects the thoughts and actions, loves and hates, of 18th-century Enlightenment Berlin to modern-day New York City. What originally seemed like two stories, best-selling author Belfer discovered, was actually one: “urgently relevant to today’s concerns, told through the prism of a problematic artistic masterpiece and the individuals who must try to grasp its history, and their own.”