Arts & Culture


View full image

The Deportation of Wopper Barraza: A Novel
Maceo Montoya ’02

University of New Mexico Press, $19.95

Wopper Barraza is a 20-something California resident with a green card when a quartet of drunk-driving convictions gets him a one-way ticket to Mexico. “I came here when I was three years old! I’m American,” he pleads with the judge who orders his deportation. “What the hell am I going to do there?” Plenty, it turns out, and this memorable novel of life on both sides of the border tells Barraza’s story in painterly detail.


Afghan Post: One Soldier’s Correspondence from America’s Forgotten War
Adrian Bonenberger ’02

The Head and The Hand Press, $18

As a kid playing the usual mock-combat games, Bonenberger “developed the conviction that if there was a war and I was able to serve, I would do so.” Two years after graduation, when most of his classmates were sticking closer to home, the author enlisted in the US Army; the next year, he shipped out to Afghanistan to do battle against the Taliban. His personal and moving journal entries and letters home to friends and family reveal how “all the storm and fury had some broader, transcendent meaning.”


The Hidden Mechanics of Exercise: Molecules that Move Us
Christopher M. Gillen ’94PhD

Belknap/Harvard University Press, $28.95

Physiologist Gillen, who has participated in 100-mile races, is clearly a pretty decent runner. During his treks, he becomes “at least for the moment and at my own mind—a fluid, graceful machine.” Athleticism on any level requires “power, coordination, and control,” but all of it depends on the interplay of key chemicals that, until recently, were largely unknown. Gillen offers a graceful look at the “connections between molecules and motion.”


Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War
Mark Harris ’85

Penguin Press, $29.95

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, John Ford, respected filmmaker and a lieutenant commander in the Navy, was already preparing for war in an unusual way. Ford had assembled the Naval Volunteer Photographic Unit, and he quickly enlisted the help of famed movie directors like John Huston and William Wyler to document the conflict around the globe. Harris recounts how their now-mostly-forgotten films changed history, Hollywood, and the directors.


Civil and UnCivil Wars: Memories of a Greek Childhood, 1936–1950
Nicholas X. Rizopoulos ’58, ’64PhD

TidePool Press, $26.95

In 1950, Rizopoulos, now a distinguished historian of European diplomacy but then a 14-year-old, living in Athens, had spent his childhood amidst German occupation and a complex civil war. But that year he was, without his knowledge, presented to private schools in the United States as “the perfect candidate for a new kind of experiment in Greco-American ‘cooperation.’” Hotchkiss bought in, and in this poignant memoir, Rizopoulos looks back at the events in war-torn Greece that shaped his young life and his continuing American experience.


Resolve: Hindemith Masterworks for Clarinet
Richard Stoltzman ’67MusM

Navona Records, $9.99 online

Stoltzman tackles three multi-movement clarinet works by Paul Hindemith, including the famous Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra premiered by Benny Goodman in 1950. Backed by the fiery Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stoltzman holds back on the bluster that pops orchestras sometimes bring to the piece. His ensemble, Tashi, assembles for the Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet; and Stoltzman and Yehudi Wyner ’50, ’53MusM, perform a delicate duet in the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano.

The comment period has expired.