Skip to main content

Books to Read in Spring 2022

Our professors talk about the books they’re enjoying this year.

book cover

Revolusi: Indonesia and the Birth of the Modern World

“I have started reading David Van Reybrouck’s Revolusi: Indonesia and the Birth of the Modern World. The author is a historian and writer who might be best known in the U.S. for his award-winning history of Congo, which was translated into English in 2014. This earlier work made me want to read Revolusi as well, and so far the book has not disappointed. Its main topic is the anti-colonial revolution that brought about an independent Indonesia, and the author makes a compelling case for why people who aren’t Indonesia experts should also care about the country’s history and bloody war of independence.”

Joris Mercelis

Joris Mercelis
Assistant Professor
History of Science and Technology

book cover

Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health

“During the pandemic I have been reading books that portray what it was like to be at the center of important events in public health. In Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health, Leana Wen describes how her pro-choice advocacy in medical school evolved into public service as Baltimore City’s health commissioner. Wen takes us deep into Baltimore’s opioid epidemic, and ultimately into her current role as a public voice against COVID-19 disinformation. She conveys the joy of making a difference in the world, and this book would make inspiring reading for students aspiring to careers in health.” 

Emily Agree
Research Professor

book cover

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

“I recently returned to Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush because of conversations I’ve had about ‘managed retreat’—the idea that we need to relocate communities now, in recognition of current and anticipated climate hazards. That’s a logical concept in the abstract, but it’s painfully difficult to implement. Rush writes about this dilemma, and much more, through the experiences of people living through environmental change. It is a subjective and beautiful effort to understand how personal values, vulnerability, and loss play out in the context of inexorable global trends. There are no easy answers, but there is human possibility.” 

Benjamin Zaitchik
Earth and Planetary Sciences