Censorship in Thatcher’s Britain

savage-thatcher“The ease with which censorship became part of the political and broadcasting culture of the United Kingdom and Ireland is a lesson in the fragility of democracy,” writes Boston College Interim Director of Irish Studies Robert Savage in the Irish Times. Savage explores how the British government, under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, attempted to control the narrative of the Northern Ireland “Troubles” through manipulation of the British and Irish media in the new book, Northern Ireland, the BBC, and Censorship in Thatcher’s Britain (Oxford University Press, 2022). Thatcher mistrusted the broadcast media, especially the BBC, believing it to be biased and hostile to her interests and policies, particularly in regard to Northern Ireland. The Thatcher government was determined to shape a narrative of the Troubles, presenting it as a fight between the democratic forces of law and order and ruthless terrorists hell-bent on carnage and chaos. Programming that questioned this paradigm by challenging the decisions, policies, and tactics of politicians, civil servants, and the army provoked outrage by the government over how the conflict was presented at home and abroad. In 1988, the Thatcher Government imposed formal censorship on the British broadcast media. The “broadcasting ban” lasted six years, successfully silencing the voices of Irish republicans while tarnishing the reputation of the United Kingdom as a leading global democracy, according to Savage. A professor of the practice in BC’s History Department, Savage also is the author of The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland and A Loss of Innocence?: Television and Irish Society, 1960-72, among other works.

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Sci-fi story of survival

O'sullivan-when earthWhen Earth Shall Be No More (Secant Publishing, 2022) is a debut sci-fi thriller from husband and wife writing team Paul Awad and Kathryn O’Sullivan, a Boston College graduate. In their story, environmental scientist Constance Roy is one of 49 refugees rescued from Earth’s destruction and transported to the ark spaceship Orb by an automaton race called the Curators. But now the ship’s orbit is decaying and the refugees seem doomed to crash into Jupiter. In a parallel universe on present-day Earth, another version of Constance seeks answers to the questions that have haunted her since childhood. The two time-streams collide when the Constance on Earth discovers that Nicolas, her son, has the ability to save the Orb and its inhabitants. O’Sullivan is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and educator. Her previous novels are Foal Play, Murder on the Hoof, and Neighing with Fire.

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A theology for the pilgrim church

lennan-tillingBC School of Theology and Ministry Professor Rev. Richard Lennan explores the possibilities for a more faithful, just, and creative church—one responsive to the movement of grace—in his new book Tilling the Church: Theology for an Unfinished Project (Liturgical Press, 2022). Commonweal magazine editors write of Tilling the Church: “A farmer tills the soil when he notices that it needs to be renewed, enabling it to best bear fruit. Just the same, the Church must constantly be attentive to movements of grace so that it can be cultivated for fruitfulness. Open to the echoes of Vatican II and aligned with the mission of Pope Francis…Tilling the Church lays out an ecclesiology for today. The Church is an unfinished project, [Lennan] writes, constantly tilled by grace through the Holy Spirit—that is, made more authentic, aided in its growth, and formed truer to its mission. The Church must be self-critical and responsive in order to actualize this tilling. As times change and the Spirit moves, so too must the Church continually respond and convert.” Fr. Lennan is a priest of the diocese of Maitland-Newcastle (Australia). He served as co-editor of two publications authored by School of Theology and Ministry faculty, The Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire and Hope: Promise, Possibility, and Fulfillment.

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The Sultan of Swat

Grodzicki_Babe-Ruth-coverBoston College alumna Jenna Grodzicki introduces young readers to George Herman (Babe) Ruth, Jr. in her new book, The Story of Babe Ruth (Rockridge Press, 2021). The book takes readers back to Babe’s early years as a poor kid growing up in Baltimore and often getting into trouble. It follows his story to the baseball diamond where he has legendary career as perhaps the greatest baseball player of all time. Grodzicki, who graduated from the Lynch School of Education and Human Development in 2001, also has written a biography for young readers about Princess Diana.

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South Korea’s democratic transition

hwang-human rightsHuman Rights and Transnational Democracy in South Korea (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022), written by Assistant Professor of the Practice in International Studies Ingu Hwang, offers the first account of the historical intersection between South Korea’s democratic transition and the global human rights boom in the 1970s. Drawing on previously unused or underutilized archival sources, Human Rights and Transnational Democracy in South Korea shows how local pro-democracy activists pragmatically engaged with global advocacy groups, especially Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches, to maximize their socioeconomic and political struggles against the backdrop of South Korea’s authoritarian industrialization and U.S. hegemony in East Asia. Hwang details how local pro-democracy protesters were able to translate their sufferings and causes into international human rights claims that highlighted how U.S. Cold War geopolitics impeded democratization in South Korea. Hwang, whose expertise is on modern Korean history and politics, is also a faculty board member of the Asian Studies Program.

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Overshadowed scientist

Benedict-hidden geniusBoston College graduate Marie Benedict is known for writing novels that shine a light on the untold stories of important—and often overshadowed—women, including Hedy Lamarr, Clementine Churchill, Agatha Christie, Mileva Marić (wife of Albert Einstein), and Belle da Costa Greene (personal librarian for J.P Morgan). Benedict’s newest publication, Her Hidden Genius (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2022), tells the story of Rosalind Franklin, a chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose role in the discovery of the structure of DNA has often been overlooked. Franklin’s work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. After her death, scientists Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins would go on to share the Nobel Prize. Benedict spoke about her book with Entertainment Weekly.

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British America’s trade history

Truxes_overseas tradeHistorian Thomas M. Truxes presents a sweeping history of early American trade and the foundation of the American economy in his new book, The Overseas Trade of British America: A Narrative History (Yale University Press, 2021). Born from seeds planted in Tudor England in the 16th century, Atlantic trade allowed the initial survival, economic expansion, and later prosperity of British America, and brought vastly different geographical regions, each with a distinctive identity and economic structure, into a single fabric. Truxes, a 1963 graduate of the Carroll School of Management, shows how colonial American prosperity was only possible because of the labor of enslaved Africans, how the colonial economy became dependent on free and open markets, and how the young United States owed its survival in the struggle of the American Revolution to Atlantic trade. Truxes is a clinical professor of Irish studies and history at New York University. He is the author of Irish-American Trade, 1660–1783 and Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York, among other books.

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Pope Benedict and German Enlightenment

light of reasonThe lifelong engagement of Josef Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) with the German Enlightenment and its contemporary manifestations and heirs is the subject of a new book written by Fr. Maurice Ashley Agbaw-Ebai, who recently earned a doctorate in philosophy from Boston College. Contemporary European disdain for organized religion and the rise in secularism has deep roots in the German Enlightenment. In Light of Reason, Light of Faith: Joseph Ratzinger and the German Enlightenment (St. Augustine Press, 2021), Fr. Agbaw-Ebai demonstrates how Ratzinger’s extraordinary and sympathetic understanding of the sources of contemporary secularism equipped him to appreciate the gains of the Enlightenment, while still being a fierce critic of the losses humanity has suffered when reason falsely excludes faith. A native of Cameroon, Fr. Agbaw-Ebai is also a graduate of Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry.

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Undercover in the underworld

wedge-riding with evilFormer federal law enforcement agent Ken Croke tells the story of the two years he spent undercover infiltrating the infamous Pagan Motorcycle Club, a white supremacist biker gang, in the new book Riding with Evil: Taking Down the Notorious Pagan Motorcycle Gang (William Morrow/Harper Collins, 2022). Written with bestselling writer Dave Wedge, a Boston College alumnus, Riding with Evil delivers a nail-biting account of the secretive and brutal biker underworld—the unspeakable violence, extremism, drugs, and disgusting rituals. At great personal risk, Croke built a case that would eventually bring down the top members of the gang in a large-scale federal prosecution. Wedge’s other publications include Hunting Whitey: The Inside Story of the Capture & Killing of America’s Most Wanted Crime Boss; The Last Days of John Lennon; and Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy.

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Helping companies create social value

googins sustainabilityTo address the problems facing society, companies must shift their corporate mindset from sustainability (do no harm) to creating social value (do more good), according to leadership and social innovation experts Philip Mirvis and Bradley K. Googins, authors of the new book Sustainability to Social Change: Lead Your Company from Managing Risks to Creating Social Value (Kogan Page, 2022). Their book outlines the strategies and practices that leaders can use to address the five biggest problems facing companies and society today: purpose, prosperity, products, planet and people. Filled with real life examples, hands-on guidelines, and self-assessments to rate your company’s performance, Sustainability to Social Change can help business leaders pivot their company’s mindset and practices in order to enhance society and the environment, and fuel their own success. Bradley Googins is a retired Boston College professor who served as executive director BC’s Center for Corporate Citizenship.

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