American Society

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A Deadly Wandering
A Mystery, A Landmark Investigation, and the Astonishing Science of Attention in the Digital Age
Matt Richtel

Digging deeper into his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on the issue of distracted driving, Matt Richtel examines the impact of technology on our lives through the lens of Reggie Shaw, a college student, who, while texting and driving, killed two rocket scientists in 2006. Students will follow Reggie through the tragedy of the crash, the police investigation, his prosecution, and the role he plays today as an important advocate against distracted driving. Along the way, Richtel gives students cutting-edge scientific findings about human attention and technology that will help them envision how to manage this crisis both individually and on a societal level.

“Matt Richtel’s riveting book is narrative nonfiction at its finest. A well-written true life account of tragedy, redemption and the public policy challenges of keeping pace with the march of technology. This book should be placed in every school and legislative chamber in the country.”—Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah

Freshman Common Read: Boise State University, University of Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina University, University of Vermont, California State University Chico

William Morrow: 416 pp.
2015: 978-0-06-228407-5 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

Teaching materials available here

About the Author

Matt Richtel
Matt Richtel reports for the New York Times, covering a range of issues, including the impact of 
technology on our lives. In 2010 he won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series of articles that exposed the pervasive risks of distracted driving and its root causes, prompting widespread reform. He is the author of three novels, including, mostly recently, The Cloud. He is based in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife, Meredith Barad, a neurologist, and their two children.

 

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Something Must Be Done 
About Prince Edward County
A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle
Kristen Green

Combining hard-hitting investigative journalism and a sweeping family narrative, this provocative true story reveals a little-known chapter of American history: the period after the Brown v. Board of Education decision when one Virginia school system refused to integrate and closed its public schools. The community’s white leaders quickly established the private Prince Edward Academy, commandeering supplies from the shuttered public schools to use for their all-white classrooms, while black parents scrambled to find alternative education for their children for five years.

Kristen Green attended Prince Edward Academy without knowledge of its shameful past. As she peels back the layers of this haunting period, her own family’s role—no less complex and painful—comes to light, producing a dramatic chronicle that explores our troubled racial past and its reverberations today, and a timeless story about compassion, forgiveness, and the meaning of home.

“A gift to a new generation of readers.”Washington Post

Freshman Common Read: Mary Washington University

Harper: 336 pp.

2016: 978-0-06-226868-6 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in an e-book edition.

Discussion questions available here.

Sample Common Read programming available here.

About the Author

Kristen Green
Kristen Green has worked as a reporter for the Boston Globe, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She holds a master's degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. This is her first book. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Spectacle
The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga
Pamela Newkirk

Award-winning journalist Pamela Newkirk reveals a little-known and shameful episode in early 20th-century American history: an African man was used as a human zoo exhibit—a shocking story of racial prejudice, science, and tragedy in the tradition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksand Medical Apartheid. Using this event as a lens, the author charts the evolution of science and race relations in America during the early 20th century—a racially fraught era for African-Americans who continued to be subjected to political disenfranchisement and social scorn long after the end of the Civil War. Newkirk’s masterful work of social history raises difficult questions about racial prejudice and discrimination that continue to haunt us today.

“Here is a gripping and painstaking narrative that breaks new ground. Now, after a century, Benga has finally been heard.”—New York Times Book Review

Amistad: 336 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-220102-7 • pb • $13.99 ($17.50/CAN)

Available in an e-book edition.

About the Author

Pamela Newkirk
Pamela Newkirk is an award-winning journalist and a professor of journalism at New York University. She is the author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media, which won the National Press Club Award for media criticism, and the editor of Letters from Black America. She lives in New York City.

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How to Be Black
Baratunde Thurston

For those who want to add a dose of humor as well as autobiography to their class discussions about race in America, The Onion’s Baratunde Thurston shares his 30+ years of expertise in being black with helpful essays such as “How to Be the Black Friend,” and “How to Speak for All Black People.” How to Be Black will connect with black students who might share the same experience of being one of the only black people at work, in a group of friends or in a class—and  it will jumpstart class discussions on the portrayal of minorities in media and the prevalence of discrimination.

“Part autobiography, part stand-up routine, part contemporary political analysis, and astute all over, How to Be Black might do more to expose and explore the shifting dynamics of race in Amerca than all the Pew data of the past decade. . . . Thurston has given us a hysterical, irreverent exploration of one of American’s most painful and enduring issues.”—Melissa Harris-Perry, contributing analyst for MSNBC and columnist for The Nation

Harper Paperbacks: 272 pp.
2012 • 978-0-06-200322-5 • pb • $14.99 ($16.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

Teaching materials available here

About the Author
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Baratunde Thurston
Baratunde Thurston is a comedian, author, and vigilante pundit.  Baratunde is the co-founder of the political blog Jack & Jill Politics and performs regularly in New York City, where he works as web & politics editor for The Onion. He hosts Popular Science’s Future Of on the Science Channel, resides in Brooklyn and lives in The Internet.

High Price
A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society
Carl Hart

As a youth, Carl Hart didn't see the value of school, studying just enough to stay on the basketball team. At the same time, he was immersed in street life. Today, he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist—Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences—whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction. In this eye-opening memoir, he recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies. Interweaving past and present, Hart examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs and explain why current policies are failing.

“His account of the ways in which scientific evidence has been ignored in the war on drugs is as alarming as it is fascinating.”—Boston Globe

Freshman Common Read: Albion College, University of Central Florida

Harper: 352 pp.
2014 • 978-0-06-201589-1• pb • $15.99 ($18.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

About the Author
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Carl Hart
Dr. Carl Hart is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. He is also a Research Scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. 

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Etched in Sand
A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island
Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra is a successful lawyer, New York State official, and activist. Her early life, however, was quite different. Regina and her four siblings survived an abusive and painful childhood only to find themselves faced with the challenges of the foster-care system and intermittent homelessness. Despite her difficult circumstances, she remained committed to her education, and eventually put herself through college. Etched in Sand is a reminder for students that regardless of social status, the American Dream is still within reach for those who have the desire and the determination to succeed.

Regina is on the board of You Gotta Believe—an organization whose aim is to find adoptive parents for teens and pre-teens before they age out of the foster care system and run the extremely high risk of becoming homeless. Visit yougottabelieve.org for more information.

“Riveting reading from start to finish.”—Kirkus Reviews

William Morrow Paperbacks: 320 pp.
2013 • 978-0-06-221883-4 • pb • $15.99 ($17.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

The Wild Truth
Carine McCandless
Foreword by Jon Krakauer

The success of Into the Wild brought Chris McCandless’s story to millions of readers and movie-goers, but left them asking, “What set the stage for Chris’s willingness to embrace the dangers of Alaska’s wilderness?”

Carine McCandless, Chris’s sister and closest friend, witnessed firsthand the complex and abusive relationship Chris had with his father that formed his worldview. Never before having shared this story, Carine has spent more than 20 years seeking the same understanding, reconciliation, and absolution she believes Chris finally found in an abandoned school bus in Alaska. In this touching and deeply personal memoir, she reveals how she has learned that real redemption can only come from speaking the truth.

HarperOne: 304 pp.
2015: 978-0-06-232515-0 • pb • $16.99 ($21.00/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.


Teaching materials available here.


Carine McCandless's TEDx talk: "Your DNA Does Not Define You".

About the Author

Carine McCandless
Carine McCandless is the sister of Chris McCandless, and consulted closely with Jon Krakauer on his bestselling book Into the Wild. She speaks dozens of times per year to audiences as large as 1,000. She is the executive director for Promise Places, a non-profit organization committed to providing appropriate housing, job opportunities, and life skills to those with special needs.

Ashley's War
The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield 
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

In 2010, the Army created Cultural Support Teams, a secret pilot program to insert women alongside Special Operations soldiers battling in Afghanistan to assist on raids and gather crucial information from Afghani women. In Ashley’s War, reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the tale of one of these secret units and the remarkable hero at its heart: Ashley White, a beloved and effective soldier who gave her life serving her country in a role for which she will never officially receive credit. Ashley’s War is a gripping combat narrative and a moving story of friendship—a book that will change the way students think about war and the meaning of service.

“An unforgettable story of female soldiers breaking the brass ceiling. The women who answered America’s call to serve show that our military is stronger when it engages both halves of the population. This book will inspire you and remind you of the power that comes with defying limits.”—Sheryl Sandberg

Harper: 336 pp.
2016: 978-0-06-233382-7 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

See the Ashley's War book trailer here.

And you can find Lemmon's TED Talk on women soldiers here

About the Author

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a Fellow and Deputy Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2004 she left ABC News to earn her MBA at Harvard, where she began writing about women entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Rwanda. Her reporting on entrepreneurs in these countries has been published by the New York Times, theFinancial Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, and the Daily Beast.

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About the Author

Aspen Matis
After being raped on her second night at college, Aspen Matis dropped out of school to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Trekking off into the wilderness with no experience, Aspen left her once sheltered life behind in hopes of finding a way to heal. She has published much-lauded essays in There & Back Magazine and The New York Times’ Modern Love column. She now lives in Greenwich Village, where she continues to tell her story.

Girl in the Woods
A Memoir
Aspen Matis

On her second night of college, amidst the excitement of new friends, new classes, and a new campus, Aspen Matis was raped by a fellow freshman. She stumbled through her first semester until she finally decided to run. The only road in sight: the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail leading from Mexico to Canada. 

Now, in this grippingly honest and inspiring memoir of adventure, Aspen recounts her journey from shattered girl to self-reliant woman, as she discovered herself in the wilderness of the American West. Along the way, she learns to trust others again, but more importantly she learns to trust herself. A poignant testament to the transformative power of self-reliance, Girl In The Woods is a story of survival, self-discovery, and liberation, but most of all, it is a story of finding hope and healing in nature. 

William Morrow: 400 pp.
2016: 978-0-06-229107-3 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston
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Bad Feminist
Essays
Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

Roxane Gay—one of the most-watched and original young cultural observers of her generation—takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

“Pre-order it, put it on the library hold list, whatever. Just get ready to read it and quote it and share it and be challenged by it.”—Book Riot

Freshman Common Read: UCLA, Virginia Wesleyan College, Salem State University

Harper Perennial: 256 pp.
2014 • 978-0-06-228271-2 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition. 

Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay is the author of the novel An Untamed State and the story collection Ayiti. Her work has also appeared in GlamourBest American Short Stories, and the New York Times Book Review.


The Prince of Los Cocuyos
A Miami Childhood
Richard Blanco

A powerful and inspiring memoir from Richard Blanco, the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants, and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.Blanco’s poignant, often hilarious memoir brilliantly illuminates the experience of “becoming” in America—a singular and yet universal story that all your students will relate to in some way.

The Prince of Los Cucuyos had me laughing time and again with its warm, sweetly self-deprecating portrait of an immigrant family attempting to straddle Cuban traditions and American trends.  Richard Blanco describes episodes of cultural mistranslation as funny as "I Love Lucy" reruns.  He has sustained a child’s bullseye ability to recognize people's underlying nature, a kind of innocence that most of us lose as we grow up—except those who, like Blanco, grow up to become poets.”—Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree

Freshman Common Read: Florida International University, Quinsigamond Community College

Ecco: 272 pp.

2015: 978-0-06-231377-5 

• $14.99 ($18.50/CAN)

Available in an e-book edition.



Richard Blanco
Richard Blanco immigrated to the United States as an infant with his Cuban-exile family. He is the author of City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, Looking for the Gulf Motel, One Today, Boston Strong, and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s JourneyIn 2013, Blanco was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States.

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About the Author
About the Author
DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston
DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston
DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston
DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston
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DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston
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DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston
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The Boys in the Bunkhouse
Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland
Dan Barry

In a literary tour de force, prize-winning author Dan Barry chronicles the lives of 32 mentally disabled men who labored for decades in a turkey-processing plant in small-town Iowa, and the extraordinary advocates who worked tirelessly to free them.

“I am excited to explore themes of human dignity and respect for creation in this year’s All Bonaventure Reads selection. When discussing themes of social justice, the topic of ability is often forgotten. The Boys in the Bunkhouse reminds us of significant shortfalls in attaining equitable treatment of persons with disabilities.” —Chris Brown, director of St. Bonaventure University’s First-Year Experience (FYE) program

 “Dan Barry gives dignity even to the darkest corners of the American experience. He is the closest thing we have to a contemporary Steinbeck.” — Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

Freshman Common Read: St. Bonaventure University

Harper: 352 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-237213-0 • hc • $26.99 ($31.99/CAN)

Paperback available in May 2017:
978-0-06-237214-7 • pb • $15.99 ($18.50/CAN)

Available in e-book and digital audio editions.

About the Author
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Dan Barry
Dan Barry is a writer and columnist for the New York Times. In 1994, he was part of an investigative team for the Providence Journal that won the Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles on Rhode Island’s court system. He is the author of a memoir, a collection of his About New York columns, and Bottom of the 33rd, for which he won the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.

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Carry On
A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family
Lisa Fenn

When award-winning ESPN producer Lisa Fenn returned to her hometown for a story about two wrestlers at one of Cleveland’s toughest public high schools, she had no idea that the trip would change her life. Both young men were disadvantaged students with significant physical disabilities. Dartanyon is legally blind. Leroy lost his legs in an accident when he was eleven. Brought together by wrestling, they had developed a brother-like bond.

After forming a profound connect with Dartanyon and Leroy, Fenn realized she couldn’t just walk away when the filming ended. Instead, she dedicated herself to ensuring their success—forming an unlikely family.

Carry On is a surprising book, not only due to the tremendous hearts within these two young men, but because the failures and triumphs in their stories don’t align with typical narrative rhythms. They arise suddenly, jaggedly, too often shatteringly, as occurs in real life. And as in real life, the moments of understanding, of healing, of unbounded joy will astonish you with the scope of their power.”—Jeff Hobbs, author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

Harper Wave: 320 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-242783-0 • hc • $25.99 ($31.99/CAN)

Paperback available in August 2017:
978-0-06-242784-7 • pb • $15.99 ($18.50/CAN)

Available in e-book and digital audio editions.

About the Author
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Lisa Fenn
An Edward R. Murrow and six-time Emmy Award-winning feature producer, Lisa Fenn reported on major league sports for 13 years with ESPN, interviewing every big name in the game. Now a sought-after presenter, Fenn speaks with warmth and candor about her experiences with Leroy, Dartanyon, poverty, and transracial adoption, in addition to her Christian faith and its relevancy in both her media career and daily life. A graduate of Cornell University, she continues to produce sports stories and write about the redemptive power of love. Lisa resides in Massachusetts with her husband and two young children.

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Hidden Figures
The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Margot Lee Shetterly

Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, Hidden Figures is the never-before-told story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Freshman Common Read: University of Mary Washington, MIT, Cedar Crest College, University of Houston, SUNY Oneonta, University of West Virginia

William Morrow: 384 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-236359-6 • hc • $27.99 ($34.99/CAN)

Paperback available in December 2016:
978-0-06-236360-2 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in e-book and digital audio editions.

About the Author
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Margot Lee Shetterly
Margot Lee Shetterly is an independent scholar and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award recipient, currently at work on The Human Computer Project, a digital archive of the stories of NASA’s female Human Computers.
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Midnight in Broad Daylight
A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds
Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

After their father's death, Harry, Frank, and Pierce Fukuhara—all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest—moved to Hiroshima, their mother's ancestral home. Eager to go back to America, Harry returned in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor.

This story of a Japanese-American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II is an epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, redemption, U.S.-Japan relations, and the Japanese experience in America.

“Deeply reported and researched. . . . Midnight in Broad Daylight not only tells one family’s remarkable story but also makes an important contribution to our knowledge of the Japanese-American experience in World War II, on both sides of the ocean and the hyphen.”—New York Times Book Review

Harper: 464 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-235193-7 • hc • $29.99 ($36.99/CAN)

Paperback available in January 2017:
978-0-06-235194-4 • pb • $16.99 ($21.00/CAN)

Available in e-book edition.

About the Author
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Pamela Rotner Sakamoto
Pamela Rotner Sakamoto is an American historian of United States-Japan relations. Fluent in Japanese, she lived in Kyoto and Tokyo for seventeen years. She works offsite as an expert consultant on Japan-related projects for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and has taught in the University of Hawaii System. She teaches history at Punahou School in Honolulu.

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Girl Unbroken
A Sister’s Harrowing Story of Survival from the Streets of Long Island to the Farms of Idaho
Regina Calcaterra

The author of Etched in Sand chronicles the journey of her youngest sister Rosie after their abusive and alcoholic mother removed her from a foster home in New York and dragged her all the way to Idaho—far away from her older sisters who had watched over her.

William Morrow Paperbacks: 416 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-231258-4 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in e-book and digital audio editions.

Reading Group Guide

About the Author
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Regina Calcaterra
While growing up in Suffolk County, New York with her four siblings, Regina Calcaterra lived in numerous foster homes, homeless shelters, and on the streets. Beating the odds, Regina graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1988, and in 1996 she obtained her juris doctorate while attending law school in the evenings at Seton Hall University School of Law. From 2006 to 2011 Regina was a board member of You Gotta Believe, an adoption agency for older foster children. Today, she serves as Chief Deputy County Executive to Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone. 

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Olive Witch
A Memoir
Abeer Y. Hoque

Abeer Hoque is a Bangladeshi girl growing up in a small sunlit town in the 1970s, where the red clay earth, corporal punishment and running games are facts of life. At thirteen she moves with her family to suburban Pittsburgh and finds herself surrounded by clouded skies and high schoolers who speak in movie quotes and pop culture slang. Finding her place as a young woman in America proves more difficult than she can imagine. Disassociated from her parents and laid low by academic pressure and spiralling depression, she is committed to a psychiatric ward in Philadelphia. When she moves to Bangladesh on her own, it proves to be yet another beginning for someone who is only just getting used to being an outsider - wherever she is.

Arresting and beautifully written, with poems and weather conditions framing each chapter, Olive Witch is an intimate memoir about taking the long way home.

Fourth Estate: 254 pp.
2016 • 978-9-35-177700-7 • pb • $15.99
About the Author

Abeer Y. Hogue
Abeer Y. Hoque is a Bangladeshi-American writer and photographer based in New York City. Her first book of fiction, The Lovers and the Leavers, was published by HarperCollins to critical acclaim. She also has a book of travel photographs and poems, The Long Way Home. She lives in New York City. Find her on Twitter @olivewitch and Facebook: abeerhoque.

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Hillbilly Elegy
A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
J. D. Vance

Former marine and Yale Law School graduate, J. D. Vance has written a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class, a demographic of our country that has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside.

“Vance compellingly describes the terrible toll that alcoholism, drug abuse, and an unrelenting code of honor took on his family, neither excusing the behavior nor condemning it. . . . The portrait that emerges is a complex one…Unerringly forthright, remarkably insightful, and refreshingly focused, Hillbilly Elegy is the cry of a community in crisis.” —Booklist

“[Vance’s] description of the culture he grew up in is essential reading for this moment in history.”—David Brooks, New York Times

Freshman Common Read: Middle Tennessee State University, Flagler College, Augustana College, University of Denver

Harper: 272 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-230054-6 • hc • $27.99 ($34.99/CAN)

Paperback available in June 2017:
978-0-06-230055-3 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in e-book edition.

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Hillbilly Elegy
About the Author
JD Vance
J. D. Vance
J. D. Vance is a former Marine and a graduate of Yale Law School. He is a regular contributor to the National Review.

Twitter: @JDVance1

Scratch Beginnings
Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream
Adam Shepard

After graduating from college, Adam Shepard felt disillusioned by the apathy around him and set out to prove that it was possible to make something out of nothing and achieve the American Dream.  With a sleeping bag, the clothes on his back, and $25 in cash, and restricted from using his contacts or college education, he headed out for Charleston, South Carolina, a randomly selected city, with one objective: to work his way out of homelessness and to have, after one year, $2,500 in savings, a working automobile, and a furnished apartment.

Scratch Beginnings is the earnest and passionate account of Shepard's struggle to overcome the pressures placed on the homeless.  His journey is sure to inspire students and will remind them that America is still one of the most hopeful countries in the world.

Freshman Common Read: Methodist University, North Carolina Central University, Lewis University (Illinois), St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and Voorhees Collegeamong others

Learn more about American Dream, the documentary based on Scratch Beginnings.

Harper Perennial: 240 pp.
2010: 978-0-06-171427-6 • pb • $14.99 ($18.50/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

About the Author

Adam Shepard
Adam Shepard is a 2006 graduate of Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. Scratch Beginnings is his first book. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Scratch Beginnings
Adam Shepard
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First Year Catalog 2016-2017