Dartmouth Faculty Suggest ‘Good Reads’


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Reading a good book—preferably in an Adirondack chair or under a beach umbrella—is one of summer’s sweet pleasures, and Dartmouth faculty want you to savor this nourishing indulgence. Here, 11 of them share their picks for a superb summertime read. You’ll find insightful biographies of fellow Georgians Ty Cobb and Jimmy Carter, a murder mystery set in 14th-century London, an eight-volume series of time-travel novels, a harrowing profile of a young Honduran immigrant, and more.

Professor Susan Ackerman ’80 recommends the book “Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter” by Dartmouth’s Randall Balmer. (Photo by Rob Strong ’04)

Susan Ackerman ’80, the Preston H. Kelsey Professor in Religion, recommends Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter by Dartmouth’s Randall Balmer.

“This book, by my Religion Department colleague Randall Balmer, focuses on the multiple ways in which religion played a role in the Carter presidency: both how Carter’s own commitment to a progressive strand of evangelical thought influenced many of his presidential policies and how evangelical voters first embraced Carter, in the 1976 election, but, by 1980, abandoned him.

“For those of us who take for granted today the marriage of evangelicals and conservative politics, Balmer’s account of the very different evangelical movement in the ’70s—and its transformation, by 1980, into the ‘Religious Right’—is a fascinating description of the mutability of this powerful religious community. Carter, too, can be mutable in Balmer’s account—he turns from a race-baiter in his 1970 gubernatorial campaign to a champion of civil rights—but Carter’s post-presidential work on behalf of social justice and international diplomacy is part and parcel, Balmer argues, with the progressive evangelical values that have motivated Carter for almost his entire life.”

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