Inspired by the extraordinary events of Dr. May Chinn's life, Kuwana Halsey's "Angel of Harlem" (One World paperback, $13.95) is an affecting story of love and transcendence. Weaving scenes from the battlefields of the Civil War — during which May's father escaped from slavery — with the Harlem living rooms and kitchen tables where May is sometimes forced to operate on her patients, this fascinating novel lays bare the heart of a woman who changed the face of medicine.
Fifty years ago, as Europe's colonial powers withdrew, Africa moved with enormous hope and fervor toward democracy and economic independence.
Dozens of new states were launched amid much jubilation and the world's applause. African leaders, popularly elected, stepped forward to tackle the problems of development and nation-building. In the Cold War era, the new states excited the attention of the superpowers. Africa was considered too valuable a prize to lose.
In "700 Sundays" (Warner, $21.95), Billy Crystal, one of America's most beloved entertainers, takes us home. Crystal opens the front door to a time in his life when he shared joy, love, music and laughter with an eccentric family headed by the hardworking father who left them all too soon.
In "Coretta: The Story of Coretta Scott King" (Fortress Press, $17), the first biography of Coretta Scott King, written by her friend Octavia Vivian, the reader meets a determined young girl who grew up in Alabama and worked her way through Antioch College only to discover that she was not allowed to teach in the White schools in Ohio.
Bill Garrett was the Jackie Robinson of college basketball. In 1947, the same year Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball, Garrett integrated big-time college basketball. By joining the basketball program at Indiana University, he broke the gentleman's agreement that had barred Black players from the Big Ten, college basketball's most important conference.