Tayler Lord and Anna Weir are publicists at UNP who share a cubicle currently filled with paper coffee cups. Today they also share their thoughts about a few upcoming titles they’re particularly excited about as readers. The books in this discussion will be published in April.
Anna Weir: Nearly half of the books UNP is releasing this month have something to do with baseball, so it seems right to start there. Urban Shocker: Silent Hero of Baseball’s Golden Age is a traditional biography of an arresting and little known figure. As author Steve Steinberg states in the preface, “it is time for Urban Shocker’s story to be told. He has been waiting for almost ninety years.” With his name and age reported inconsistently throughout his life, and nearly overshadowed by larger-than-life figures like Babe Ruth, few people remember the amazing season Urban pitched for the New York Yankees in 1927. Fewer people realize he pitched that season while battling a serious heart disease.
I’ve always enjoyed stories of big events—like the 1927 Yankees season—as told from characters just to the right of the spotlight. But this book isn’t only told from an interesting angle, but from a heartfelt narrative. This book was a labor of love, and it’s clear the author feels a deep connection to the life of Urban Shocker. It makes for an engaging, thoughtful read.
What’s up on your list, Tayler?
Tayler Lord: My first pick is also about baseball! Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey is the story of Ila Borders, a female player who achieved a number of firsts for women in baseball: first woman awarded a baseball scholarship, first woman to pitch and win a complete men’s collegiate game, and the first woman in the modern era to win a professional baseball game. So many firsts! This is a memoir and I’ve been lucky to work closely with Ila and her co-author Jean Ardell. I was a little nervous to work with someone who has accomplished so much but Ila has been enthusiastic and encouraging about all of our publicity efforts thus far.
Actually, all of my baseball authors are enthusiastic and fun to work with! The baseball community is so tight-knit, especially people from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and authors are able to offer cool publicity ideas centered around Spring Training and other baseball events.
What else are you excited about this month?
AW: My picks seem to have an “untold story” theme this month. Holocaust scholar Mordecai Paldiel, who has written and worked extensively to recognize the non-Jewish people who helped Jews escape the Holocaust, now sets out to recognize the Jews who put their lives at risk to save other Jews. Saving One’s Own: Jewish Rescuers during the Holocaust seeks to prove the Jewish people were not passive or ignorant of what was happening—they resisted. They are a powerful reminder to stand up for what is right, especially in our current political climate.
TL: My second pick kind of scares me. The first sentence of the cover copy for Nanoweapons: A Growing Threat to Humanity reads, “Nanoweapons just might render humanity extinct in the near future—a notion that is frightening and shocking but potentially true.” Author Louis A. Del Monte traces the history of nanotechnology and offers some advice on how to regulate the world’s ever-increasing amount of nanoweapons and avoiding wiping out the entire human race.
As nervous as this book makes me, I think it’s an exciting addition to the Potomac Books list. Del Monte covers this new subject to the list while touching on technology, military affairs, and politics.
Tune in next month for more great titles from your friendly neighborhood publicists!