Sunday, March 29, 2009

What is Nicholas Syrett reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Nicholas L. Syrett, an assistant professor of history at the University of Northern Colorado and author of the newly released The Company He Keeps: A History of White College Fraternities.

One book mentioned in the entry:
David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines a fictionalized memoir of Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young’s infamous nineteenth wife (who herself wrote such a memoir called Wife #19) with the story of a gay teenager expelled from his polygamous Mormon off-shoot community who finds out that his mother (herself a nineteenth wife) is accused of murdering his father. I started out being more intrigued by the contemporary plot line and ended up switching my preference. Regardless, I read all 500 pages in 48 hours. It was addictive. Ebershoff is adept at moving back and forth between the nineteenth and the twenty-first centuries; his research on women, gender, marriage, and Mormons is great; and he writes about faith and Mormonism in ways that are sympathetic, questioning, but never condemning. I’ve already leant it two people, given it to one, and recommended it to many others.[read on]
Learn more about Nicholas Syrett's teaching and scholarship at his faculty webpage.

Among the praise for The Company He Keeps:
"Long shrouded in baroque mystery, the collegiate fraternity has never before been the subject of such a clear, sensible, and grounded historical study. Nicholas Syrett's meticulous research draws back the curtain on these bastions of white male privilege, without solely celebrating their camaraderie nor condemning the cold cruelties on which it has historically rested."
--Michael Kimmel, author of Manhood in America: A Cultural History
Read more about The Company He Keeps.

Writers Read: Nicholas L. Syrett.

--Marshal Zeringue