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winter 2018
  • Great Reads Hipp
  • Great Reads Lane
  • Great Reads Pierce

Great Reads

Check out the new books by Thomas Pierce '06, Van Hipp '82, James Scott '97 and John Lane '77

Van Hipp ’82 makes stop at Wofford during national book tour

Van Hipp ’82, chairman of American Defense International Inc. in Washington, D.C., visited Wofford in March as part of the South Carolina book tour for his latest book, “The New Terrorism: How to Fight It and Defeat It.” Hipp also met with students, spoke to a crowd in Leonard Auditorium and signed books.

Hipp has been immersed in defense and security matters since 1990 when he was appointed deputy assistant secretary of the Army for reserve forces and mobilization. He was named by then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney to be the principal deputy general counsel of the Navy. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Hipp served on active duty in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Restore Democracy. He is a frequent writer and speaker on defense and international policy issues.

Hipp also sponsors the Hipp Lecture Series on International Affairs and National Security at Wofford, the first installation of which was the 2011 Republican Presidential Candidates Debate held at the college. The series also has brought former New York governor George Pataki and astronaut Buzz Aldrin to campus in the past year.

James Scott’s latest novel, “Target Tokyo,” just released by W.W. Norton & Co.

In December 1941, as American forces rallied the dead at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt gathered with his senior military counselors to plan an ambitious counterstrike against the heart of the Japanese Empire: Tokyo. Four months later, on April 18, 1942, 16 U.S. Army bombers, under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle, lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel the enemy’s factories, refineries and dockyards and then escape to free China. Most of the bombers ran out of fuel and crashed. Others were captured and tortured in Japanese POW camps. Others faced a harrowing escape across China.

Not since Laura Hllenbrand’s “Unbroken” has there been such a riveting and powerful story of American airmen overcoming the impossible. Impeccably researched, “Target Tokyo,” the newest novel by James M. Scott ’97, gives a gripping narrative of combat and survival from the multiple perspectives of the American, Japanese and Chinese people whose lives were irrevocably changed by the raid and its aftermath. The result is a tale of bravery and sacrifice that forces readers to confront the human costs of heroism.

A former Neiman Fellow at Harvard, Scott is the author of “The War Below” and “The Attack on the Liberty,” which won the Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison Award. He lives in Mount Pleasant, S.C., with his wife and two children.

John Lane ’77 pens critically acclaimed first novel

“Fate Moreland’s Widow,” the haunting first novel from award-winning poet, environmentalist and storyteller John Lane ’77 (right), delves into historically inspired events of life, livelihood, death and destiny against a rural Southern backdrop on the cusp of modernity. As Lane’s nuanced characters contend with overarching questions of loyalty and responsibility, he leaves little doubt that these vexing dilemmas of the past resonate still today.

Lane, professor of Environmental Studies and director of the Goodall Environmental Studies Center at Wofford, is a 2014 inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors.

Returning to Wofford with a novel and N.Y. Times rave reviews

The New York Times recently called author Thomas Pierce’s short story collection “Hall of Small Mammals” “beautifully built” and said Pierce “has an especially deft way of finding just the right final flourish.”

The 2006 Wofford College graduate’s “originality, inventiveness, questing spiritual intelligence and animal fixation aren’t easy to do justice to in the limited space here,” wrote Books of the Times reviewer Janet Maslin in the review published in January. “But they’re irrefutably good reasons to discover him for yourself.”

Pierce returned to Wofford’s campus in February as part of the Wofford Writer’s Series.

“When I was here I think I took every creative writing class that the college offered—Deno Trakas’s novella class, John Lane’s poetry class, Mark Ferguson’s playwriting class. My last year at Wofford was Mike Curtis’s first. He’s the metric I still use. Mike Curtis is the voice in my head when I read my work and ask myself if it’s good enough,” says Pierce. “We meet still. It’s hard to imagine me being where I am without him.”

Curtis, who continues to work as the fiction editor for The Atlantic, although he’s retiring from the college this spring, chose one of Pierce’s stories for the magazine. Pierce’s stories also have found readers in The New Yorker, The Oxford American and Subtropics, among others. “Hall of Small Mammals” is part of a two-book contract with Riverhead Books. Pierce is working on the second book now and teases: “Without giving too much away, it’s about a family and sound art and messages to space.”

Now a full-time writer, Pierce has reported for National Geographic and for NPR programs, including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” He earned his M.F.A. from the University of Virginia as a Poe/Faulkner Fellow.

Pierce lives in Charlottesville, Va., with his wife, Catherine, and daughter, Eleanor (18 mos.).