Friday, July 19, 2013

New titles from Carolinas authors

New books out in July from Carolinas authors include, on the fiction side, a military thriller and a collection of stories populated by monsters. There’s nonfiction, too: a literature professor’s Civil War history and a history of the African American struggle for equal education in North Carolina.

Action in the novel “Shadow of the Corps” (Pegasus Crime; $24.95) grows from a Marine captain’s court martial following an Afghan village bombing. In this debut novel, Charlotte’s James M. DuPont writes of a world he knows. DuPont, now an airline pilot and Marine Corps reserve major, is a former Marine aviator and legal officer.

“North American Lake Monsters” (Small Beer Press; $16), a debut story collection from Asheville’s Nathan Ballingrud, offers readers dark, quirky stories that often include a monster or two. Ballingrud, a single dad, has worked as a cook on oil rigs, a bouncer at a strip club and a bartender in New Orleans. He’s now a waiter at Biltmore Estates.

Ballingrud won a Shirley Jackson award for one story in the collection, “The Monsters of Heaven,” a tale of a couple who are reeling from the disappearance of their young son when they find an otherworldly creature who seems like an angel. The award honors literature of psychological suspense, horror and dark fantasy.

In “America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March Toward Civil War” (Overlook Press; $28.95), Joseph Kelly recounts the Union’s nearly two-year siege on Charleston’s harbor. Kelly, a College of Charleston literature professor, places the siege in the larger context of the city’s promulgation of slavery. A Publishers Weekly review lauds this book as a valuable addition to Civil War literature.

“Playing the Union’s two-year siege of the city’s harbor against what the author deems to be a far more disastrous siege – that of slavery on freedom – Kelly skillfully traces the development of the town’s views on slavery while simultaneously relating attempts to break down or bulwark the institution,” says Publishers Weekly.

Much has been written about school desegregation in North Carolina, but in a new history, Sarah Caroline Thuesen steps back to the Jim Crow years before integration. “Greater than Equal: African American Struggles for Schools and Citizenship in North Carolina: 1919-1965” (University of North Carolina Press; $45) examines a time when black citizens sought equal educational opportunity amid flourishing segregation.

Though readers may be familiar with some of her stories, such as the hostility that Dorothy Counts encounters as she integrates Charlotte’s Harding High in 1957, Thuesen, who teaches history at Guilford College, also explores an earlier time when even “separate but equal” was a radical concept.