A selection of books, films, and recordings by UChicago alumni.

They Played the Game: Memories from 47 Major Leaguers

Norman L. Macht, PhB’47

Red Schoendienst was “smart, did things that don’t ever show up in the box scores,” as power-hitting Milwaukee Braves first baseman Joe Adcock remembers his 1950s teammate. The same goes for many of the players who figure as storytellers or subjects in this collection of oral histories from baseball historian Norman L. Macht. Gathering more than three decades’ worth of interviews, Macht’s collection covers the game from 1912 to 1981 and captures stories the records don’t tell, with Hall of Famers like Ted Williams sharing memories alongside Adcock, Harvey Haddix, and other lesser-known stars.

Art for People’s Sake: Artists and Community in Black Chicago, 1965–1975

Rebecca Zorach, AM’94, PhD’99

Extensively illustrated with artworks, archival photographs, and other documents, this book chronicles the achievements of visual artists associated with the Black Arts Movement in Chicago. Northwestern University art historian Rebecca Zorach highlights painter Jeff Donaldson, printmaker Barbara Jones-Hogu, and filmmaker DeWitt Beall, along with such groups as the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AFRICOBRA), and Art & Soul, examining their vision of a black community united across class divisions by art.

The Rationing: A Novel

Charles Wheelan, PhD’98

The US government was prepared for an epidemic. Then a biomedical contractor’s cost-saving schemes decimated the national stockpile of Dormigen, a cure-all drug. To avoid rationing the available supply, can the government rely on cooperation among a variety of actors—congressional lawmakers, diplomats, the National Institutes of Health—for an effective course of action? Set in the near future, this political satire by Dartmouth College public policy senior lecturer Charles Wheelan gives control of the narrative to a fictional NIH scientist with a dual PhD in microbiology and public health from the University of Chicago.


Eve L. Ewing, AB’08

This second full-length poetry collection by Eve L. Ewing, assistant professor in the School of Social Service Administration, examines the 1919 Chicago race riot, which began with the killing of a black teenager named Eugene Williams. Inspired by a 1922 state government–commissioned report, Ewing’s poems embrace the idea that understanding the riot means comprehending everyday life for the era’s black Chicagoans. Built to be “what-if machines” and “time-traveling devices,” according to Ewing, the poems shift scale and perspective by shifting among forms—dramatic monologues, biblical adaptations, even a jump-rope rhyme—as they probe the human reality of events before, during, and after the riot. For more about Ewing, see the UChicagoan.

Ensemble-Made Chicago: A Guide to Devised Theater

Chloe Johnston, AB’99

An ensemble-made, or devised, theatrical production can be ephemeral: it starts with a group’s improvised performance, not with a playwright’s script. So when it’s over, is there anything left for readers? Yes, Lake Forest College associate professor of theater Chloe Johnston and her coauthor show. Pairing short histories of 15 Chicago-based theater companies with examples of their improvisation exercises, this book documents the origins of Second City, Free Street Theater, and other ensembles (many with UChicago ties) and creates a record of how they perform.

Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges

Con Chapman, AB’73

“He was the Calvin Coolidge of the jazz world of his day, never saying three words when two would do,” writes novelist, playwright, and humorist Con Chapman of saxophonist Johnny Hodges (1907–70). Because of the musician’s reticence, mystery has shrouded much of his life and legacy. Filling gaps and dispelling myths, Chapman’s account is the first full-length biography of the Massachusetts-born sax soloist and Duke Ellington collaborator. Chapman explores the reputation Hodges held as the greatest jazz altoist until Charlie Parker upended swing with bebop.

Speaking of Summer: A Novel

Kalisha Buckhanon, AB’99, AM’07

Her twin sister, Summer, disappeared from their Harlem apartment, but Autumn Spencer can’t count on authorities to pursue her missing person claim. Searching on her own, Autumn contacts detectives in their Illinois hometown, trawls for news about killings of Harlem women, and spirals into vexed family memories. Centered on the sister who vanishes and the sister left alone to grapple with the mystery, Kalisha Buckhanon’s fourth novel is a literary thriller about women whose suffering is ignored by society.

For additional alumni releases, use the link to the Magazine’s Goodreads bookshelf at