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50 years of Arts and Humanities

Non-Fiction

  • The Afrocentric Idea by Molefi Kete Asante

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Temple University Press says:
    Asante's spirited engagement with culture warriors, neocons and postmodernists updates this classic.”

  • The End of Plenty by Joel K. Bourne Jr.

    Tom Basden says:
    Just finishing this very well written environmental book about where we are currently with food production and how the world needs to rethink our food production systems and manage human population growth. A must-read in my opinion.

  • The Life and Work of an American Modernist by Blanche Lazzell

    Janet Snyder says:
    The biography chapter alone is a great read, while the other essays provide great breadth of understanding of the period and the artist's work. The illustrations are extensive, and it's one of the most beautiful books produced by the WVU Press.”

  • Quiet by Susan Cain

    John Kuhlman says:
    “I read this this year and found this book to be very enjoyable and well-written.”

  • The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas G. Carr

    John Kuhlman says:
    “I read this about 2-3 years ago, but re-read it this past year. Extremely interesting, and worrisome."

  • The West and the Rest of Us by Chnweizu Ibekwe

    Noam Chomsky says:
    “It combines learning, insight and passion to provide a remarkably enlightening and often deeply moving account of the European assault on Africa. Chinweizu succeeds most impressively in placing this dramatic and devastating account in the context of world history."

  • Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Aaron Hawley says:
    “An incredibly powerful discussion of race in America. Should be required reading for Americans of all ages, races and political affiliations."

  • Fighting Words by Patricia Hill Collins

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Library Journal says:
    “Collins discusses the culture of silence in which African American women are seen but not heard, making them outsiders within their own race."

  • God of the Oppressed by James H. Cone

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Google Books summary:
    “Cone relates the gospel message to the experience of the black community. But a wider theme of the book is the role that social and historical context plays in framing the questions we address to God as well as the mode of the answers provided."

  • Martin & Malcolm & America by James H. Cone

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. The New York Times says:
    “White as well as black Americans are in the debt of James Cone, whose important book will revise and refocus the legacies of King and Malcolm X."

  • Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fall or Succeed by Jared Diamond

    Jeff Wimsatt says:
    “It effectively counters through a myriad of historical examples mankind's pervasive ignorance and our present arrogance -- to think we are so modern and advanced (e. g. that technology will rescue us), that this will keep us from inevitable environmental collapse!"

  • M. K. Gandhi by Charles R. DiSalvo

    Valona Beety says:
    “DiSalvo lays bare the spiritual and ethical growth of Gandhi as a young man advocating for the rights of Indians in South Africa. DiSalvo is the first to explore this part of Gandhi’s life and how activisim as a lawyer helped him learn to navigate the legal system to fight for legal rights, and ultimately move into community activism and spiritual solidarity."

  • Galileo's Middle Finger by Alice Dreger

    Jeff Wimsatt says:
    “This book deserves special mention for highlighting what can happen when bias, ego and greed are allowed to thrive and invade the academic community. … If the highest levels of academic administration choose inaction … this amounts to tacit collusion of the most deleterious sort, degrading the very enterprise they have attested to uphold!"

  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Google Books summary:
    “Published in 1903, this collection of DuBois essays quickly became a cornerstone for future black progressives who wished to bring about changes in American society long promised since the days of the American Civil War."

  • The Butterflies of North America... By William Henry Edwards

    Margaret Mattson says:
    “This is a book that I have not read, but I would love to see, in real life. Arguably possessing the most exquisite illustrations of butterflies ever produced, the three-volume magnum opus is one of the most important entomological publications of the 19th century."

  • Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer

    Michael Pelosi says:
    “I have read this book during the last year, and it is a superb piece of history."

  • Liberating Visions by Robert Michael Franklin

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Lewis Baldwin of Vanderbilt University says:
    “Liberating Visions is a rich, provocative, and highly readable volume one that will be of enduring value to all who advocate and struggle for human fulfillment and the just society."

  • Animals In Translation by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson

    Karen Cox says:
    “An amazing discussion on the understanding of how the mind works and why both people and animals do the things they do. From dogs to pigs to people, we all have ingrained reactions and basic needs. Learning those needs and reactions will help us get along better, be happier, and take better care of our animals."

  • Ravensbruck by Sarah Helm

    Jeff Wimsatt says:
    “This is the mostly untold story of the only dedicated women's concentration camp in the Nazi era, largely forgotten because the women were treated as sullied if they told their stories once they were liberated. The Germans attempted a cover-up, and the Russian Army demolished the site after their invasion, leaving few reminders of what occurred."

  • The Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson

    Recommended by Jeffery Slahor. The New Yorker says:
    “The real thing, warm, humorous, poetic."

  • God's Trombones by James Weldon Johnson

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Goodreads says:
    “Inspirational sermons of African American preachers are reimagined as poetry, reverberating with the musicality and splendid eloquence of the spirituals."

  • The White Man's Burden by Winthrop D. Jordan

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Southern Humanities Review says:
    “The White Man's Burden provides a storehouse of information on the origins of racism in the United States."

  • The Hip Hop Generation by Bakari Kitwana

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Atlanta Journal-Constitution says:
    “This brilliantly provocative work is a focused, passionate, inspiring and extremely thoughtful attempt not only to examine the problems facing young blacks, but also to point to a way out."

  • The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

    Mark Brazaitis says:
    “Thoroughly and brilliantly discusses previous mass extinctions of species in the earth's history and documents the current die-off. Because of uncontrollable greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change, humans are fast eliminating 90 percent of the world's extant species. Even scarier: If we are not careful, we might become extinct ourselves."

  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

    Richard Squire says:
    “I continue to read and re-read a book that I think resonates through the arts and sciences, despite the seemingly restrictive title. Some call it a "landmark in intellectual history," popularizing the word "paradigm," which Kuhn might suggest is now poorly misused."

  • Calamity at Chancellorsville by Mathew W. Lively

    Colleen Watkins says:
    “Dr. Lively has had a lifelong interest in the Civil War, especially in Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The book combines Dr Lively’s knowledge of the known facts surrounding Gen Jackson death from the unique perspective of a physician. I would highly recommend this book."

  • How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America by Manning Marable

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Race and Class says:
    “This book has set the standard of achievement for the current generation of Afro-American scholar-activists."

  • Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. The Chicago Tribune says:
    “By going for the American literary jugular, she places her arguments at the very heart of contemporary public conversation about what it is to be authentically and originally American. Morrison boldly reimagines and remaps the possibility of America."

  • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

    Jena Martin says:
    “My inclination when I read books is to devour them, take in the story as quickly as possible. However, the prose in this book is so rich and the intertwining between literature and life so enjoyable, that I wanted to take my time and savor each word."

  • Terror and Triumph by Anthony B. Pinn

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Oxford University Press says:
    “The thesis of this provocative and well-written book is that there is something called “black religion” that is inseparable from the terror that black people experienced in the U.S. and from their culturally distinctive ways of trancending that terror."

  • Slave Religion — The "Invisible Institution  Antebellum South by Albert J. Raboteau

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Church History says:
    “With this book, no American church historian can any longer neglect the black Christian story."

  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

    Li Jin says:
    “IInspiring and touching. There is a reason for the brick walls to be there!"

  • Nature and Culture in the Illad by James M. Redfield

    Ted Vehse says:
    “Redfield explores heroic literary culture with the eye of a veritable anthropologist, drawing conclusions for questions of contemporary personal meaning from an ancient society's art and myths. A must-read for anyone who has ever asked the questions: Why do we make art? What is the meaning of life and death?"

  • Another Day At The Fron by Ishmael Reed

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Google Books summary:
    “This book is a series of fast, powerful strikes against America's long tradition of racism.”

  • The Debt by Randall Robinson

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Publishers Weekly says:
    “Having vividly outlined the pervasiveness of American racism in his previous work, “Defending the Spirit,” he now summons America to acknowledge what he casts as its financial obligation to blacks for centuries of slavery and continued subjugation."

  • How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. The Howard University Department of African Studies says:
    “From a historical materialist perspective, Rodney delivers the argument that both European power politics and European economic exploitation and oppression led to the impoverishment of African societies."

  • Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

    Valena Beety says:
    “This remarkable book captivates the reader with a subject too large for a simple biography. Cleopatra is of mythic proportions. Yet Schiff details this talented, deft and regal woman as a queen, a politician and a mother: someone all too human. Through this book, Cleopatra becomes not simply a legend, but an inspiration."

  • American Pain by John Temple

    Recommended by Geah Pressgrove. Publishers Weekly says:
    “[An] exhilarating blow-by-blow account. . . . Temple dissects the criminal operation and documents the rise and fall of American Pain with precision and authority in this highly readable true crime account."

  • They Like to Never Quit Praisin' God by Frank A. Thomas

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Google Books summary:
    “Through the lens of African American preaching, Frank Thomas sheds light on what "good" preaching is and what methods can be employed to achieve it."

  • The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Surviva by John Vaillant

    Bri Sheppard says:
    “The author details the hunt for a tiger turned man-eater—the prey become poacher. The story of the hunt is intertwined with the history, ecology, economics,] and social structure of the Primorye region on Russia’s far eastern border, as well as interjecting the reasons for the killer cat’s behavior from the tiger’s point of view."

  • Appeal by David Walker

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Google Books summary:
    “David Walker's appeal is an uncompromising African-centered discourse that attacks white injustices and advocates black self-reliance. Its publication in 1830 intensified the debate and struggle against slavery."

  • Sisters in the Wilderness by Delores S. Williams

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Modern Theology says:
    “A significant contribution ... and a courageous text that calls all to work together, survive together, in question of the liberation beyond the frontier of the wilderness."

  • Black Majority by Peter H. Wood

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Jack P. Greene says:
    “Easily the most thorough and the most penetrating case study yet written of the Afro-American population during the slave period. . . . Fascinating and instructive."