Politics+Society

Books

The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon

Spring books

These days it’s a rare novel that addresses disturbing social issues without flinching and treats religious faith as a force for good, without denying the complexity of either. That combination makes Rachel Simon’s book, newly available in paperback, a pleasure to read and a fine choice for book clubs.

Books

The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History, edited by Paul Harvey and Edward J. Blum

Spring books

There are probably few reference books that vacationers will drag down to the beach this summer. And though I make a living in academia, there aren’t many works of reference that I want to read from cover to cover. I love history because I love stories, storytelling and engrossing narratives—not because I’m taken with the facts, figures and dates that populate reference books.

Books

War Time, by Mary L. Dudziak

Spring books

One of the notable features of the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been its disavowal of the locution, if not necessarily the policies, of the “war on terror” declared by George W. Bush in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Books

American Dervish, by Ayad Akhtar

Spring books

This debut novel features ten-year-old Hayat Shah, a first-generation Pakistani American, who is attempting to find his identity as a Muslim.