Book covers of The Berserkers, Troubling the Water, The Double Life of Katharine Clark, Sissy Insurgencies, and A Scientific Revolution

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

The Berserkers

By Vic Peterson, AM’90; Hawkwood Books, 2022

The protagonist in The Berserkers, Grammaticus Kolbitter, is a precinct records clerk by day and a keyboardist in a Viking heavy-metal band by night. When a woman from the fictional Nordic town of Fulaflugahål is found stabbed in nearby Lake Munch—dressed only in the corset and wings of a Norse Valkyrie—he is reluctantly pulled into the investigation. Vic Peterson’s novel blends dark comedy, drama, and the wild world of Scandinavian policing.

Troubling the Water: A Dying Lake and a Vanishing World in Cambodia

By Abby Seiff, AB’06; Potomac Books, 2022

The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s Tonle Sap is a bounteous inland fishery fed by the Mekong River. Millions of people rely on the lake for their food and livelihoods, but disruptive dams, illegal fishing, and persistent droughts threaten its existence. Journalist Abby Seiff combines painstaking research with more than a decade of reporting in the region to tell the stories of ordinary Cambodians coping with the fallout.

The Double Life of Katharine Clark: The Untold Story of the Fearless Journalist Who Risked Her Life for Truth and Justice

By Katharine Gregorio, MBA’10; Sourcebooks, 2022

Writer Katharine Gregorio tells the tale of her great-aunt, a risk-taking foreign correspondent in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. In 1955 journalist Katharine Clark befriended Milovan Djilas, a high-ranking Communist Party official and dissident critic of the Yugoslav government, and helped him publish his writings in the West. Set against Gregorio’s vivid descriptions of 1950s Belgrade, Budapest, and Warsaw, it’s a biography that reads like a thriller.

Sissy Insurgencies: A Racial Anatomy of Unfit Manliness

By Marlon B. Ross, AM’79, PhD’83; Duke University Press, 2022

“Once we begin to look for them, we see sissies everywhere.” So begins this historical and literary analysis by Marlon B. Ross, a University of Virginia English professor who defines sissiness as nonconforming gender conduct assumed to result from a failure of manly drive. Reconsidering figures from James Baldwin to Little Richard, Ross draws a distinction between sissy and gay, upending stereotypes and long-held ideas about masculinity in America—particularly in Black culture.

A Scientific Revolution: Ten Men and Women Who Reinvented American Medicine

By Ralph H. Hruban, LAB’77, AB’81, and Will Linder, MBA’77, MLA’07, CER’20; Pegasus Books, 2022

How did US medicine evolve from a rough-and-ready trade to a science? In these profiles of 10 women and men from the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School, Hopkins professor of pathology and oncology Ralph Hruban and writer Will Linder find the answer. The innovators include John Shaw Billings, who influenced modern hospital design, and Vivien Thomas, an African American researcher who pioneered new procedures in heart surgery. The book celebrates their accomplishments as it illuminates the sexism and racism that created barriers to medical advances.

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