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The Back Door Introduction to the Bible
By John Kaltner, Rhodes’ Virginia Ballou McGehee Professor of Muslim-Christian Relations, and Steven L. McKenzie, Rhodes Professor of Religious Studies. Winona, MN: Anselm Academic. 220 pp. $22.95

The Bible’s influence on Western culture is singularly profound: From Genesis through Revelation, its stories are commonly referenced in the arts, commerce and beyond.

But the Bible itself? A product of a world very different from our own, it can be hard to read and difficult to understand. The authors recognize that it is in the explanation of the customs, social mores and expressions of the time that the reader can find other levels of understanding, where the real intent or significance of a story can be more clearly revealed. A different kind of textbook, The Back Door Introduction to the Bible can open opportunities for engaged, lively and spirited classroom dialogue.

Opening Paul’s Letters: A Reader’s Guide to Genre and Interpretation
By Patrick Gray, Rhodes Associate Professor of Religious Studies. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. 192 pp. $19.99

It is sometimes easy to forget that the books of the Bible are not really “books” at all but individual documents composed in a wide array of literary genres. This clear, concise and accessible text on the Pauline letters orients beginning students to the genre in which Paul writes. The book compares and contrasts Paul’s letters with ancient and modern letters, revealing the distinctive conventions, forms and purposes of Paul’s epistles. It focuses on the literary genre of the letter in ancient Greece and Rome, providing an overview of subjects, strategies and concerns of immediate relevance for readers who wish to understand Paul in his ancient context. Discussion questions and sidebars are included.

The Fiscal Case against Statehood: Accounting for Statehood in New Mexico and Arizona
By Stephanie D. Moussalli, Rhodes Assistant Professor of Commerce and Business. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 224 pp. $65

New Mexico and Arizona joined the Union in 1912, despite the opposition from some of their residents. The Fiscal Case against Statehood examines the concerns of the people who lost the battle over statehood in the two territories. Prof. Moussalli examines their territorial and early state governments’ fiscal behavior and reveals that while their fears of steep increases in the cost of government were well-founded, statehood also significantly improved their governments’ accountability for their use of the public purse. She concludes that fiscal officials enabled statehood’s growth in government by improving the financial reports and processes.

Prof. Moussalli examines New Mexico’s and Arizona’s financial reports before and after statehood, and compares them to the state of Nevada’s reports as a control. Through detailed, systematic analysis, she reveals the fiscal costs and accountability gains of statehood for the residents of New Mexico and Arizona.

By Lewis R. Donelson III ’38. Memphis: Rhodes College. 332 pp. $25

After 70 years of practicing law, attorney Lewis R. Donelson III, founder and shareholder of Memphis-based Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, has written a memoir.

Lewie Donelson had a golden childhood, a first-rate education, a loving family. A descendant of one of the first families of Tennessee, he recounts in the book his family history, that golden childhood, prep school at Choate, college at Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes), law school at Georgetown, marriage to his beloved Janice Ost, his wife of 65 years, his career in local and state politics and his lifelong devotion to Idlewild Presbyterian Church.

Along his career path, Donelson resurrected the Republican Party in Shelby County and the state of Tennessee, helping put GOP governors and senators in office for the first time since Reconstruction. As a member of the Memphis City Council in the 1960s, he was a peacemaker during the sanitation workers’ strike. His political career was in a day when lawmakers talked across the aisle in pursuit of the common good, and even became friends. He continues to concentrate in the areas of corporate and tax law.

All proceeds from the book will go to the Janice Ost Donelson Scholarship, which Donelson has established at Rhodes in memory of his wife.

Transformed: A White Mississippi Pastor’s Journey into Civil Rights and Beyond
By William G. McAtee ’56. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. 272 pp. $35

In May 1964, Bill McAtee became the new minister at Columbia Presbyterian Church in southern Mississippi. Soon after his arrival, three young civil rights workers were brutally murdered outside Philadelphia, MS. Activists from across the country poured into the state to try to bring an end to segregation and register black citizens to vote. Already deeply troubled by the resistance of so many of his fellow white Southerners to any change in the racial status quo, McAtee understood that he could no longer be a passive bystander. A fourth-generation Mississippian and son of a Presbyterian minister, he joined a group of local ministers—two white and four black—to assist the mayor of Columbia, Earl D. “Buddy” McLean, in building community bridges and navigating the roiling social and political waters.

Focusing on the quiet leadership of Mayor McLean and fellow ministers, McAtee shows how those religious and political leaders enacted changes that began opening access to public institutions and facilities for all citizens, black and white. In retrospect, McAtee’s involvement in those events during that intense period became a turning point in repudiating his past acquiescence to the injustices of the racist society of his birth. His personal account of this transformation underscores its meaning for him today and reminds the reader that no generation can ignore the past or rest comfortably on its progress toward tolerance, equality and justice.

By Charlaine Harris ’73. New York: Ace. 336 pp. $27.95

In book 12 of Harris’ Southern Vampire series, it’s vampire politics as usual around the town of Bon Temps, but never before have they hit so close to Sookie Stackhouse’s heart.

Growing up with telepathic abilities, Sookie realizes that some things she knows about, she’d rather not see—like Eric Northman feeding off another woman. A younger one.

There’s a thing or two she’d like to say about that, but she has to keep quiet—Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It’s the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric’s front yard—especially the body of the woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s set out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.