Category Archives: Activists & Activism

Being Mortal

Being Mortal

Metropolitan Books
Hardcover
304 pages • $26.00
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9515-9

Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande

Being Mortal, Atul Gawande’s masterful exploration
of aging, death, and the medical profession’s
mishandling of both, is his best and most
personal book yet.” —The Boston Globe

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering. Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

© Tim Llewellyn

Atul Gawande is author of three bestselling books: Complications; Better; and The Checklist Manifesto. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.

Being Mortal has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

East Central University Honors Program (OK); Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science (OH); Moravian College (PA); Tufts University School of Medicine (MA); University of Massachusetts Medical School; University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill

Continue reading

In the Country We Love

In the Country We Love

St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback
272 pages • $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-13496-7 


En el país que amamos: Mi familia divida
Spanish Language Edition
Paperback
304 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-62779-833-4

My Family Divided

Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford

“[Guerrero] writes frankly and affectingly about how she made her way on her own; she also shares fond memories of her family’s life together in America.”—The Washington Post 

Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents were detained and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family. In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with bestselling author Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over.

© Stocks Photography

© Marcus Branch

Diane Guerrero is an actress on the hit shows Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. She volunteers with the nonprofit Immigrant Legal Resource Center, as well as with Mi Familia Vota, an organization that promotes civic involvement. She has been named an Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization by the White House. She lives in New York City.

Michelle Burford is a founding editor of  O, The Oprah Magazine and writer of many best-selling books including memoirs by Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, singer Toni Braxton, and Cleveland kidnap survivor Michelle Knight.

In the Country We Love has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Bethel College; Metropolitan State University of Denver

The Sixth Extinction

The Sixth Extinction

Picador
Paperback
336 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-06218-5

An Unnatural History

Elizabeth Kolbert

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Your view of the world will be fundamentally changed . . . Kolbert is an astute observer, excellent explainer, and superb synthesizer, and even manages to find humor in her subject matter.”—The Seattle Times

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamanian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. “Ms. Kolbert shows in these pages that she can write with elegiac poetry about the vanishing creatures of this planet, but the real power of her book resides in the hard science and historical context she delivers here, documenting the mounting losses that human beings are leaving in their wake.”—The New York Times

© Barry Goldstein

Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

The Sixth Extinction has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Colgate University (NY); Lafayette College (PA); Linfield College (OR); Occidental College (CA); Feather River College (CA); Millsaps College (MS); Rowan University (NJ); Saint Francis High School (CA); Stanford University (CA); Villanova University (PA); Williams College (MA); University of Vermont (VT)

Adnan’s Story

Adnan's Story

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
416 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-11984-1

The Search for Truth and Justice
After Serial

Rabia Chaudry

“Chaudry’s book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how media—particularly social media—came to play such a powerful role in this case . . . But it’s the mix of media skills and legal education that makes her book such an illuminating firsthand report from the front lines of social media change.”—The
Baltimore Sun

In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentences to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig’s investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners. But Serial did not tell the whole story. Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State’s case: a potential new suspect, forensics indicating Hae was killed and kept somewhere for almost half a day, and documentation withheld by the State that destroys cell phone evidence—among many other points—and she shows how fans of Serial joined a crowd-sourced investigation into a case riddled with errors and strange twists. Adnan’s Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.

© Ayesha Ahmed Photography

Rabia Chaudry is an attorney, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and a national security fellow at the New America Foundation. She is the co-host of Undisclosed, one of the top-ranked podcasts in the iTunes store. She is a frequent public speaker, and her writing has appeared in numerous outlets including Time, The Huffington Post, and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Continue reading

City of Thorns

City of Thorns

Picador
Paperback
400 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-11873-8

Nine Lives in the World’s Largest
Refugee Camp

Ben Rawlence

“The most absorbing book in recent memory about life in refugee camps . . . Mr. Rawlence’s major feat is stripping away the anonymity that so often is attached to the word ‘refugee’ by delving deeply into the lives of nine people in the camp.”—The Wall Street Journal

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, in the midst of an inhospitable northern Kenyan desert landscape largely characterized by thorn bushes, is Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp. Founded in 1992 as a temporary camp for 30,000 refugees fleeing violence and unrest in Sudan, it has since metastasized into a permanent home to some 500,000 people. A city like no other, its half a million residents barter their meager food rations, create homes for themselves from plastic sheets and sticks, and use open sewers. Due to its inaccessible location and the extremely high risk of kidnapping, very few western journalists have visited Dadaab, let alone spent any length of time there. Dadaab and the surrounding region are now largely controlled by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s Somalian cell, and the camp and its desperate residents have become a hotbed for recruiters. Despite these dangers, Ben Rawlence has spent large periods of the last three years in the camp and has followed the lives of six people: Guled, the conscripted child-soldier who flees to the camp across Somalia; Nisho, as old as Dadaab itself, born in the camp twenty five years ago; and Muna, whose marriage to a Christian Lost Boy from Sudan sparks uproar and sectarian violence. Ben’s sensitive portraits of the camp’s inhabitants invite readers to imagine how they might behave should they, like so many millions of people around the world, find themselves imprisoned in such a camp with little hope and with the world’s eyes firmly askance.

© Jonny Donovan

© Jonny Donovan

Ben Rawlence is a former researcher for Human Rights Watch in the horn of Africa. He is the author of Radio Congo and has written for a wide range of publications, including The Guardian, the London Review of Books, and Prospect. He lives in the Black Mountains in Wales with his wife and daughter.

City of Thorns has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Michigan State University and the City of East Lansing (MI)

Continue reading

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

Flatiron Books
Hardcover
288 pages • $25.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-10599-8

One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

Melissa Fleming

“I think Melissa Fleming is one of the most important people in the world. As the world’s foremost advocate for refugees, she has worked tirelessly to put a human face on the greatest crisis of our time. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea provides a portrait of the refugee crisis that cannot be matched by any amount of cable news coverage.”—Brandon Stanton, author of Humans of New York: Stories 

Melissa Fleming shares the harrowing journey of Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian refugee in search of a better life. Doaa and her family leave war-torn Syria for Egypt where the climate is becoming politically unstable and increasingly dangerous. She meets and falls in love with Bassem, a former Free Syrian Army fighter and together they decide to leave behind the hardship and harassment they face in Egypt to flee for Europe, joining the ranks of the thousands of refugees who make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean on overcrowded and run-down ships to seek asylum overseas and begin a new life. After four days at sea, their boat is sunk by another boat filled with angry men shouting threats and insults. With no land in sight and surrounded by bloated, floating corpses, Doaa is adrift with a child’s inflatable water ring around her waist, while two little girls cling to her neck. Doaa must stay alive for them. She must not lose strength. She must not lose hope.

© Alessandra Thomsen

Melissa Fleming is Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the United High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and one of the world’s experts on refugees. She is a frequent contributor for The New York TimesThe Washington Post, CNN, and NPR. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea is her first book.

Humans of New York: Stories

Humans of New York: Stories

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
432 pages • $29.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Brandon Stanton

Humans of New York: Stories is the perfect book for a digital age . . . Through each photo and quote, Brandon Stanton has captured the highs, lows, and in-betweens that comprise what it’s like to be a human in New York, which is to say, what it’s like to be a human, period.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories. The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called “Humans of New York,” in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes. The blog has steadily grown, now boasting millions of devoted followers; and in the summer of 2014, the UN chose Brandon to travel around the world on a goodwill mission that had followers meeting people from Iraq to the Ukraine to Mexico City via the photos he took. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he’s had with them has increasingly become as in-depth and moving as the photo themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of humans, complete with stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor.

Stanton, BrandonBrandon Stanton is the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Humans of New York as well as the children’s book, Little Humans. His photography and storytelling blog, also called Humans of New York is followed by over fifteen million people on several social media platforms. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and lives in New York City.

Humans of New York: Stories has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

St. John’s University (NY); Texas Tech University Honors College (TX)