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The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down

If the latest of the Johnny Depp sequels elicited more Zzzz’s than Arrrr’s, this rollicking history of the real pirates of the Caribbean will shiver your timbers. The so-called golden age of piracy lasted only 10 years, from 1715 to 1725, but saw the heyday of legendary pirate captains like Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and “Black Sam” Belamy, who presided over a nascent Bahamian democracy. Composed of runaway slaves, indentured servants, and disgruntled sailors escaping dictatorial officers, New Providence (as the “pirate republic” was known) was an egalitarian society that elected captains by popular vote, made important decisions in an open council, and provided disability benefits. The swashbucklers’ utopia lived on in the democratic sentiments that would ultimately fuel the American Revolution.

Why Jesus Makes Me Nervous: Ten Alarming Words of Faith

Paraclete Press
Brushing aside the soft-focus Christ of Sunday school flannel boards, these meditations on Christian concepts like resurrection, wisdom, and peace attempt to show just how “difficult and disconcerting” the teachings of Jesus were. “Resurrection” is meaningless without a painful contemplation of death. “Peace” must be pursued “with a sword.” The author reflects that true wisdom “runs roughshod over résumés.”

The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives

Public Affairs
Jack O’Brien was a working-class Irish kid from Medford with a lackluster academic career. He found his bliss on the basketball court and his destiny in the lives of the down-and-out kids he coached to glory at Boston’s Charlestown High. With no family of his own, the tough-loving father figure directed course schedules, shuttled boys to college interviews, and demanded military discipline. In this dramatic work of narrative nonfiction, O’Brien’s dedication bounces off a backboard of race and class politics, altering the lives of two of his stars.

The Movable Nest: A Mother/Daughter Companion

Helicon Nine Editions
Frustrated by the limitations of the “empty-nest” metaphor when their daughters left home, the editors of this vivid anthology called upon some literary stars to craft more nuanced portraits of mother-daughter separations. Poems, stories, essays, and letters by writers such as Jamaica Kincaid, Rita Dove, Lucille Clifton, and Linda Pastan survey the undulating terrain of farewell. Invoking myths—Persephone and Demeter crop up more than once—and emotions ranging from yearning and anger to pride and cliché-busting relief, these 56 talented voices prove that letting go can be as creative an act as giving birth.

The Secret Between Us

A stressed-out physician, Deborah Monroe, and her daughter Grace are driving home one rainy night when their car hits a man. Although Grace was driving, Deborah takes the blame. Her deception reverberates through the lives of her entire family, taxing relationships with her daughter, sister, and father and plunging Grace into a guilt-ridden depression. The unconscious victim turns out to be Grace’s history teacher, who harbors secrets of his own. Delinsky’s latest page-turner was inspired by Grace Kelly’s death in an automobile accident while her daughter, Stephanie, survived: “My imaginative mind conjured a scenario [in which] Stephanie was at the wheel that fateful day.”

Photo: Patrick McNamara

Amy Wood, V86

When a Maine couple—Amy Wood, a veterinarian, and Phil Shelton, a wooden boat builder—set out to sail around the world, it was the culmination of a dream. Phil had spent 10 years designing and building Iwalani, their gaff-rigged cutter. Wood outfitted the boat as a small-animal hospital for neutering and spaying animals in areas where there were no vets, tending to injured seabirds, and treating pets on other yachts. Drawing on their widely read blog, World Voyagers: The True Story of a Veterinarian, a Renaissance Man, and Stewart the Cat (Book Orchard Press) recounts their transformative journey.

“I wanted to see animals in their native environments before those environments became totally overrun by humans. Even in the most remote atolls, we’d find evidence of humanity through trash washed up on shore. When humans are making such an impact all over the globe, we have to take responsibility for every wild animal. Don’t be afraid to love something with fur, fins, or feathers more than members of your own species.

My scariest experience was in the Indian Ocean about 200 miles south of Jakarta. One night, it was very windy, and I was cognizant of a very persistent fishing boat nearby. Eventually I saw that they had a huge grappling hook and were trying to come aboard, but the seas were high and the boat was heavy enough that they didn’t succeed. At our next destination, authorities said an Australian boat had just been sunk in that area.

Sailing around the world was not fun, but I’m glad we did it. I found out how horribly seasick I got and how incredibly boring passage-making was. Our biggest fears—dealing with countries and their officials when none of us spoke the same language—became the most enjoyable part of sailing. I love to replay the memory of our games of Pictionary and charades with customs and immigration people.

When you view America from another country, you can see the places where the paint is peeling. The attacks of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq happened while we were at sea, and that gave us a new perspective. Most of the other cruisers brought their little American bubbles with them. They traveled en masse, and in Muslim areas, they’d ignore local customs and go ashore in tank tops and shorts. We learned that we are not Americans—that is just something stamped on our passports. This world is home to all of us, and it’s really, really, small.

ALSO OF NOTEPeace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press), edited by SALEEM H. ALI, A94, looks at the role of multijurisdictional conservation areas—such as the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Corridor in Africa—in resolving political and territorial conflicts. ZAIN DEANE, A96, leads an informative tour through Puerto Rico’s capital region in San Juan, Vieques & Culebra: Great Destinations (Countryman Press). Morning Gothic (Signal Editions), a collection of poems old and new by GEORGE ELLENBOGEN, G69, treats dark subjects such as divorce and the Holocaust with a bold yet light touch. In The Wolf Who Cried Boy (Sheridan Books), MARY JEAN HUGHES, BSOT86, tells of her relentless quest to secure help for her son who was struggling in school. The gray kitty in the children’s book Jack the Healing the Cat (Tellico Books) by MARILYN KALLET, J68, helps his young owner recover from an illness. The second edition of War and Public Health (Oxford University Press), coedited by BARRY S. LEVY, adjunct professor of public health at Tufts, updates the original with chapters on the Iraq War, mental health, detainees and torture, and establishing a culture of peace. STEPHEN M. MILLER, A87, examines Victorian Britain’s imperial culture through the lens of Boer War soldiers in Volunteers on the Veld (University of Oklahoma Press). Dreidels, latkes, and reminiscences both tender and hilarious converge in How to Spell Chanukah … and Other Holiday Dilemmas (Algonquin), an anthology featuring a chapter set at Tufts by the graphic novelist ERIC ORNER, A85. Stones Stand, Waters Flow (Xlibris) is GEORGE PERKINS’, A53, memoir of the family farm that shaped his imagination and sheltered John Hancock and Samuel Adams in their 1775 flight from Lexington. Lovable Trini, an English springer spaniel, searches for a new home after the death of her owner in Forever Home (Cleveland Clinic Press), the latest children’s book by SANDRA J. PHILIPSON, G72. In Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia (Cornell University Press), RICHARD J. SAMUELS, G74, argues that Japan will forge a security policy that involves shedding some of its dependence on the United States.

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