Books

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. By Jose Antonio Vargas. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together.

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen | By Jose Antonio Vargas (Nonfiction)

This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can’t. This book is about constantly hiding from the government and, in the process, hiding from ourselves. This book is about what it means to not have a home.

There There - A book by Tommy Orange set in Oakland, California.

There There | By Tommy Jones (Fiction)

This book by Oakland author Tommy Jones will be released July 5, 2018. Jacquie Red Feather and her sister Opal grew up together, relying on each other during their unsettled childhood. As adults they were driven apart, but Jacquie is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. That’s why she is there. Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle's death. Edwin is looking for his true father. Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are connected by bonds they may not yet understand. (Penguin Books)

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston - a newly published work

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" | By Zora Neale Hurston (Nonfiction)

A newly published (2018) work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God. In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview 86-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the U.S. (Harper Collins).

Book Cover - Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel, the story of soldiers coming home from Baghdad as they reintegrate with their families and society.

Thank You for Your Service | By David Finkel (Nonfiction)

Finkel tells the story of the men of 2-16 Infantry Battalion as they reintegrate "as they return home from the front-lines of Baghdad and struggle to reintegrate--both into their family lives and into American society at large."

The Common Good by Robert B. Reich

The Common Good | By Robert B. Reich (Nonfiction)

With the warmth and lucidity that have made him one of our most important public voices, UC Berkeley professor Robert B. Reich makes the case for a generous, inclusive understanding of the American project, centering on the moral obligations of citizenship. Rooting his argument in everyday reality and common sense, Reich demonstrates the existence of a common good, and argues that it is this that defines a society or a nation.

So You Want to Talk About Race by  Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want to Talk About Race | By Ijeoma Oluo (Nonfiction)

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans. (Seal Press)

Book Cover - We Gon Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang.

We Gon Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation | By Jeff Chang (Nonfiction)

Jeff Chang looks at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. He explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity”, the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing.

Book Cover - Racing to Justice by john a. powell.

Racing to Justice | By john a. powell (Nonfiction)

Renowned social justice advocate john a. powell persuasively argues that we have not achieved a post-racial society and that there is much work to do to redeem the American promise of inclusive democracy. Culled from a decade of writing about social justice and spirituality, these meditations on race, identity, and social policy provide an outline for laying claim to our shared humanity and a way toward healing ourselves and securing our future.

American Hate: Survivors Speak Out by Arjun Singh Sethi

American Hate: Survivors Speak Out | by Arjun Singh Sethi (Nonfiction)

In American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, survivors tell their stories in their own words and describe how the bigoted rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration have intensified bullying, discrimination, and even violence toward them and their communities. You will hear from immigrants and refugees weighing whether to stay in this country, from parents grappling with how to explain the surge in hostility to their children, and from families mourning the loss of a loved one.

Queer Poets of Color Anthology - Nepantla

Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color | Edited by Christopher Soto

A survey of poetry by queer poets of color throughout U.S. history, including literary legends such as Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, June Jordan, Ai, and Pat Parker alongside contemporaries such as Natalie Diaz, Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, and Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

Locking Up Our Own by James Forman, Jr. James Forman, Jr. The war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why.

Locking Up Your Own | By James Forman, Jr. (Nonfiction)

In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Trans*  A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability | By Jack Halberstam (Nonfiction)

Trans* A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability | By Jack Halberstam (Nonfiction)

In the last decade, public discussions of transgender issues have increased exponentially. However, with this increased visibility has come not just power, but regulation, both in favor of and against trans people. What was once regarded as an unusual or even unfortunate disorder has become an accepted articulation of gendered embodiment as well as a new site for political activism and political recognition. In Trans*, Jack Halberstam explores these recent shifts in the meaning of the gendered body and representation, and explores the possibilities of a nongendered, gender-optional, or gender-queer future. (UC Press)

The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Train by Jason De Leon. Photographs by Michael Wells.

The Land of Open Graves | by Jason De Leon (Nonfiction)

Anthropologist Jason De León sheds light on one of the most pressing political issues of our time—the human consequences of US immigration policy. The Land of Open Graves reveals the suffering and deaths that occur daily in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona as thousands of undocumented migrants attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the United States.

Two-Countries: US Daughters & Sons of Immigrant Parents by: Tina Schumann. an anthology of flash memoir, personal essays, and poetry edited by the adult child of an immigrant born and raised in the United States.

Two Countries: US Daughters & Sons of Immigrant Parents | By Tina Schumann (Nonfiction)

An anthology of flash memoir, personal essays, and poetry edited by the adult child of an immigrant born and raised in the United States. The collection contains contributions from sixty-five writers who were either born and/or raised in the United States by one or more immigrant parent. (Red Hen Press)

Book cover - The African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz

An African American and Latinx History of the United States | By Paul Ortiz (Nonfiction)

Spanning more than two hundred years, this much-anticipated book is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the “Global South” was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations like “manifest destiny” and “Jacksonian democracy,” and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism. (Beacon Press)

Stand Up!: How to Get Involved, Speak Out, and Win in a World on Fire by Gordon Whitman

Stand Up! How to Get Involved, Speak Out, and Win in a World on Fire | By Gordon Whitman (Nonfiction)

This book is for those frustrated by what they see happening in the world but not sure what they can do about it. Veteran organizer Gordon Whitman shows that we have the power we need to create a racially and economically just society. But it won't happen if we stay on the sidelines sharing social media posts and signing online petitions. (Berrett-Koehler Publishers)

Book Cover - Whereas by Layli Long Soldier. A book of poetry that has been shortlisted for the 2017 National Book Award.

Whereas | By Layli Long Soldier (Poetry)

Finalist 2017 National Book Award. “The Whereas Statements lay bare the realities and contrasts of Long Soldier’s life and her role as an Oglala Lakota poet, mother, and daughter. There are moments of beautiful intimacy, connection, and forgiveness; there is also an awareness of separation, and acknowledgment of the difficulty (sometimes, impossibility) of repair.”—The Atlantic

Between Me and the World by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me | By Ta-Nehisi Coates (Nonfiction)

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. National Book Award Winner 2015.

Book - Citizens But Not Americans by Nilda Flores-González

Citizens But Not Americans: Race and Belonging Among Latino Millennials | By Nilda Flores-Gonzalez (Nonfiction)

examines how Latino millennials understand race, experience race, and develop notions of belonging. Based on nearly one hundred interviews, the author argues that though these young Latina/os are U.S. citizens by birth, they do not feel they are part of the “American project,” and are forever at the margins looking in. (NYU Press)

Just Mercy by Bryant Stevenson book cover.

Just Mercy | By Bryant Stevenson (Nonfiction)

From one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time comes an unforgettable true story about the redeeming potential of mercy. Bryan Stevenson was a gifted young attorney when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the furthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a notorious murder he didn't commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship - and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.-- Back cover.

Book Cover - Understanding Words That Wound by Richard Delgado and  Jean Stefancic

Words That Wound | By Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic (Nonfiction)

The book succinctly explores a host of issues presented by hate speech, including legal theories for regulating it, the harms it causes, and policy arguments pro and con suppressing it. Particular attention is devoted to hate on the Internet, talk radio, and to the role of white supremacist groups in disseminating it.

The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA - a photobook by Gabriela Herman

The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA | By Gabriela Herman (Photobook)

For the past four years, award-winning photographer Gabriela Herman, whose mother came out when Herman was in high school and was married in one of Massachusetts’s first legal same-sex unions, has been photographing and interviewing children and young adults in America with one or more parent who identifies as lesbian, gay, trans, or queer. These parents and children juggled silence and solitude with a need to defend their families on the playground, at church, and at holiday gatherings.

Book: Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigraation, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event by Trinh T. Minh-ha

Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event | Trinh T. Minh-ha (Nonfiction)

UC Berkeley Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and Rhetoric looks at travel across national borders--as a foreigner, a tourist, an immigrant, a refugee—in a pre- and post-9/11 world as she examines the cultural meaning and complexities of travel, immigration, home, and exile.

Author Audrey Lorde - On her book 'Sister Outsider'

Sister Outsider | By Audre Lorde (Nonfiction)

Selected by Professor Tina Sacks | Berkeley Social Welfare. "I am particularly drawn to Audre Lorde because she represents the kind of bravery I'm trying to cultivate in my own life and to inspire in my students.She reminds us that we have to speak up and walk boldly into our strengths, individually and collectively. And she also speaks in other essays in the book about engaging in struggle with love. This really resonates with me because so often we get angry at each other for very good reasons and forget that we are all fighting our own individual battles and that being human is hard. We can fight hard and still hold a space for love."

Cover of novel 'Exit West' by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West | By Mohsin Hamid (Fiction)

“It was as if Hamid knew what was going to happen to America and the world, and gave us a roadmap to our future… At once terrifying and … oddly hopeful.” –Ayelet Waldman, The New York Times Book Review

Sonia Sottomayor, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

My Beloved World | By Sonia Sottomayor (Autobiography)

"The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself."

The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Time of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Time of Colorblindness | By Michelle Alexander (Nonfiction)

Michelle ALexander's stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.

Book Cover - Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debbie Irving

Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race | By Debbie Irving (Nonfiction)

"My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As I unpack my own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, I reveal how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated my ill-conceived ideas about race."

Book: Not a Crime To Be Poor by Peter Edelman

Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty | By Peeter Edelman (Nonfiction)

Through money bail systems, fees and fines, strictly enforced laws and regulations against behavior including trespassing and public urination that largely affect the homeless, and the substitution of prisons and jails for the mental hospitals that have traditionally served the impoverished, in one of the richest countries on Earth we have effectively made it a crime to be poor. (The New Press)

Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life by Alberto Ledesma

Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life | By Alberto Ledesma (Nonfiction)

As a teacher and administrator at University of California, Berkeley, Ledesma doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of the undocumented immigrant. But that’s the point of this book, which is part graphic memoir and part cri de coeur. This is a powerful document of the unspoken anxieties felt by Americans like him who worry that their immigration status and history will overshadow everything else in their lives. (Publishers Weekley)

Photograph of James Baldwin.

The Fire Next Time | By James Baldwin (Nonfiction)

Suggested by Sadalia Reel | Director - Staff Diversity Initiatives. One of America’s preeminent Black intellectuals, James Baldwin wrote this classic book in part, as a letter to his nephew, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery. It was written just a few years before the Civil Rights movement emerged. “God gave Noah the rainbow sign/ No more water, the fire next time.”

Kenji Yoshino is the author of Coverings: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

Coverings : The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights | By Kenji Yoshino (Nonfiction)

"To cover is to downplay a disfavored trait so as to blend into the mainstream. Though we have come to some consensus against penalizing people for differences based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, we still routinely deny equal treatment to people who refuse to downplay differences along these lines."

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead - Awarded Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

The Underground Railroad | By Colson Whitehead (Fiction)

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.

Work Shy - cover of the book.  Poetic "assemblages" by the anonymous collective The Blunt Research Group, working with testimonies by and about people held in California's first youth prison and two "asylums”: people "at once," as the Group puts it, "deni

The Work-Shy | By the Blunt Research Group (Poetry)

Poetic "assemblages" by the anonymous collective The Blunt Research Group, working with testimonies by and about people held in California's first youth prison and two "asylums”: people "at once," as the Group puts it, "denied work and subjected to its punishing routine."

The cover of 'Redefining Realness' by Janet Mock

Redefining Realness | By Janet Mock (Autobiography)

Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population.

Book cover - Making Hispanics by Christina Mora.

Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats and Media Created a New Ameirca | By G. Christina Mora (Nonfiction)

Professor Mora (UC Berkeley, Sociology) uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media executives in the 1970s and '80s created a new identity category—and by doing so, permanently changed the racial and political landscape of the nation.

The Color of Law - A FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF HOW OUR GOVERNMENT SEGREGATED AMERICA by Richard Rothstein

The Color of Law - The Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America | By Richard Rothstein (Nonfiction)

Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods.

Free Speech by Irwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman

Free Speech | By Irwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman (Fiction)

A university chancellor and a law school dean—both constitutional scholars who teach a course in free speech to undergraduates—argue that campuses must provide supportive learning environments for an increasingly diverse student body but can never restrict the expression of ideas.

Whistling Vivaldi -  How stereotypes affect us and what we can do by Claude Steele

Whistling Vivaldi - How stereotypes affect us and what we can do | By Claude Steele (Nonfiction)

Suggested by VC Oscar Dubon. The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity, sheding new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.

Book Cover - Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin, With a New Preface by Gray Brechin

Imperial San Francisco - Urban Power, Earthly Ruin, With a New Preface by Gray Brechin (Nonfiction)

First published in 1999, this celebrated history of San Francisco traces the exploitation of both local and distant regions by prominent families—the Hearsts, de Youngs, Spreckelses, and others—who gained power through mining, ranching, water and energy, transportation, real estate, weapons, and the mass media. The story uncovered by Gray Brechin is one of greed and ambition on an epic scale.

Wild Beauty - a new book of poetry by Ntozake Shange.

Wild Beauty | by Ntozake Shange (Poetry)

From the poet, novelist, and cultural icon behind the award-winning and celebrated Broadway play, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf. With a clear, raw, and affecting voice, Shange draws from her experience as a feminist black woman in American to craft groundbreaking poetry about pain, beauty, and color.

I Love a Broad Margin to My Life by Maxine Hong Kingston

I Love a Broad Margin to My Life | by Maxine Hong Kingston (Nonfiction)

Maxine Hong Kingston is a Chinese American author and Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with a BA in English in 1962. In her singular voice—both humble and brave, touching and humorous—Kingston gives us a poignant and beautiful memoir-in-verse that captures the wisdom that comes with age. As she reflects on her sixty-five years, she circles from present to past and back, from lunch with a writer friend to the funeral of a Vietnam veteran, from her long marriage to her arrest at a peace march in Washington. (Penguin Random House Publishing)

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees | By Viet Thanh Nguyen (Nonfiction)

In The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. (Grove Atlantic)