Jackson Adams and Anna Weir are publicists at UNP. Today they 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.
Jackson Adams: The spring of 2015 feels like an age ago but I’d venture most people remember the news coverage from Baltimore of that year, as activists clashed with police, seeking justice after the murder of twenty-five year-old Freddie Gray. When the Crowd Didn’t Roar: How Baseball’s Strangest Game Ever Gave a Broken City Hope takes an unconventional look at those tragic, angry days by focusing on a face off between the Orioles and the White Sox that took place in an empty Camden Yards in the middle of a city that increasingly felt like it was operating under martial law. Former Baltimore Sun writer Kevin Cowherd documents the events that led up to the game as well as the fallout, painting a portrait of a city that didn’t so much heal, as survive. It’s an essential book, increasingly relevant in a time when the intersection between activism, athletics and discussions of police brutality are at the forefront of the national conversation.
What are you excited about, Anna?
Anna Weir: Part baseball history, part love letter to a childhood favorite team, J. David Herman’s Almost Yankees: The Summer of ’81 and the Greatest Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of is a poignant and nostalgic narrative of the lives and travails of Minor League Baseball, focusing on the 1981 championship season of the New York Yankees’ Triple-A farm club, the Columbus Clippers. Featuring interviews with more than thirty former players including Steve Balboni, Dave Righetti, Buck Showalter, and Pat Tabler, Herman highlights what a group of bright-eyed ballplayers can accomplish when given the chance to shine.
Herman will be visiting Columbus, New York, and his native Seattle to discuss Almost Yankees. Find out if he’ll be at a bookstore near you in April!
What else are you looking forward to, Jackson?
JA: The specter of widespread sickness and death usually draws to mind images of the Bubonic Plague and, well, that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but author Jonathan M. Weber reminds readers of a much more recent horror much closer to our border. Death is All Around Us: Corpses, Chaos and Public Health in Porfirian Mexico City conjures up images of the corpse choked streets of a capitol city and the government’s desperate attempts to clean up one of the most unsanitary places in the western hemisphere in the late 19th Century. Weber’s book is evocative and fascinating, detailing the scientific innovations and new technologies officials used to curb disease, bury the dead and rehabilitate the reputation of a city and a nation. It’s a fascinating portrait of governmental power exercised through hygiene and death, unlike anything of its kind.
On a slightly less grim note, what else have you been reading, Anna?
AW: Steven Wingate’s novel Of Fathers and Fire is a book my mother would describe as “dark and twisty,” but there’s a bright thread of hope running throughout. A ragtag missionary group of ex-thieves rolls into Tommy Sandor’s small Colorado town and their work-hard-stay-humble mentality begins to shape the angst-y seventeen-year-old into someone learning to see the needs of others, not just his own. Meanwhile, the group’s very presence—particularly, that of their leader, Richie Thorpe—sets Tommy’s mother on edge, and we watch her shift precariously closer and closer to that edge throughout the story. It’s an arresting meditation on family relationships, faith, and giving (or, more often, withholding) the grace to change for the better.
Wingate will be right around the corner from UNP’s office on April 3 at 6:00 p.m. for a signing at Lincoln’s own Francie & Finch Bookshop. Stop by if you’re in the area!
Tune in next month for more reading suggestions from your friendly neighborhood publicists!