Book Talk: New Titles/CUNY Authors

Anarchists’ Odyssey

Longtime Queens College professor of Russian History and Anarchism Paul Avrich, known as a preeminent historian of American anarchism, was working at the time of his death in 2006 on a biography of Alexander “Sasha” Berkman. Avrich’s daughter Karen completed this book, Sasha and Emma: The Anarchist Odyssey of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, which carries a co-byline with her father. The highly praised volume traces the intertwined lives of Berkman and friend Emma Goldman, their impact on 20th century anarchism and their commitment to equality and justice.

Big Easy Betrayal

In Driven From New Orleans: How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization, John Arena explores the drastic transformation of public housing from public to private there in the early 1980s, exposing the social disaster visited on the city’s black urban poor long before Katrina. Arena — assistant professor of sociology, anthropology and social work at the College of Staten Island — reveals the true nature, and cost, of reforms promoted by an alliance of a neoliberal government, nonprofits, community activists and powerful real estate interests.

Starring … Dana Andrews

Working with distinguished directors and playing romantic leads alongside early screen beauties, Dana Andrews was an “actor’s actor” — personifying the “masculine ideal of steely impassivity” in 1940s classic films. In Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews, Baruch College journalism professor Carl Rollyson relates Andrews’ struggles with inner demons while enjoying accolades of contemporaries, a term as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and the love of family and friends who never deserted this poor boy from Texas who made his Hollywood dream come true.

Lyricist With A Conscience

Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist, by CCNY history professor Harriett Hyman Alonso, includes his lyrics for Oscar-winning “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz,” one of more than 600 songs for which Harburg provided lyrics over a half-century career. Alonso interweaves interviews and poems by Harburg, known as “Broadway’s social conscience.” He tells of his Lower East Side childhood, how the Great Depression opened the way to writing lyrics, his work on Broadway and in Hollywood, and his blacklisting during the McCarthy era.

The Saints Among Us

Saints as They Really Are: Voices of Holiness in Our Time is the third book in a critically acclaimed series by Michael Plekon, a professor in the Department of Sociology/ Anthropology and the program in Religion and Culture at Baruch College. In this volume Plekon, also an ordained priest in the Orthodox Church in America, traces spiritual journeys of several “saints-in-the-making,” using memoirs and other writings that show their doubts and imperfections as these ordinary Americans reflect on their search for God and their efforts to lead holy lives.