In The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism From Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin (Oxford University Press), COREY ROBIN ’89 traces conservatism’s intellectual lineage and argues that the right always has been grounded in a defense of power and privilege. This collection of essays sparked controversy — including criticism from Mark Lilla in The New York Review of Books, followed by commentary and counter-reviews on academic blogs from scholars and admirers of Robin’s work. Robin teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

DAVID L. HOLMES *71, a professor of religious studies at the College of William and Mary, examines the role of religion in the lives of the 12 presidents who have served since the end of World War II in The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama (The University of Georgia Press). He explores the beliefs held by each president and how their faith influenced policy decisions.

The main character in RICHARD CUMMINGS ’59’s novel Prayers of an Igbo Rabbi (Africana Homestead Legacy Publishers) is Roger Westerfield, a New York lawyer who travels to St. Simons Island, Ga., to write a novel. After deciding to buy a house, he is accused of murdering its owner and is pursued by ghosts of the Igbo slaves who committed suicide by drowning at a place known as Ibo Landing. Cummings also is the author of The Pied Piper.

ROBERT KLITZMAN ’80 interviewed 64 people who have a ­family history of Huntington’s disease, breast and ovarian cancers, or the lung condition Alpha-1 antitrypsin defi­ciency for Am I My Genes? Con­front­ing Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing (Oxford University Press). He describes how these individuals struggled with whether to be tested genetically for these illnesses, whether to reveal their genetic risks to family members and employers, and whether to have children, among other issues. Klitzman is a psychiatrist and director of the master’s in bioethics program at Columbia University.

Through the stories of African-American civil-rights lawyers in the segregation era, KENNETH W. MACK *05 examines what it means for African-American professionals to be expected to represent both their race and their white-dominated profession in Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer (Harvard Uni­versity Press). Mack is a law professor at Harvard Law School.