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Welcome to Authors of Union, highlighting our many published authors who are transforming lives and communities.

Fields of Poison

By Michael Halperin (Ph.D. ’93)

Fields of Poison recounts the odyssey of Antonio Velasco from a village in rural Mexico to a life of backbreaking labor as an eleven-year old migrant farm worker in America. With determination, foresight, and overwhelming intellect he rose to the heights of the scientific and medical professions. Major corporations fought Dr. Velasco’s determination to investigate and prevent life-threatening pesticide poisoning. Against enormous odds, he developed diagnostic protocols and treatment of toxic pesticides that have a long-term impact on public health. Dr. Velasco’s story represents the American ideal that the nation benefits from generations of immigrants. (Source: Amazon)

Dr. Halperin is an author, playwright, screen and television writer. He has served as the Executive Story Consultant, 20th Century-Fox; Story Editor, Universal Television, and Writer-Producer at MCA Television. His publications include My Name is David: Search for Identity, Floricanto Press; Black Wheels, National Education Assn. 100 Best African American Books List; best-selling Jacob’s Rescue, Random House, American Booksellers Association Best Book; Writing Great Characters, Lone Eagle; Writing the Second Act, MWP; Writing the Killer Treatment, MWP, are all staple textbooks for cinema-television departments at numerous universities. Learn more about Dr. Halperin’s work.

n Search of Appalachia

 By Nancy Brown Diggs (Ph.D. ’94)

Alumna Nancy Brown Diggs is a scholar, author, lecturer, and world traveler. She has visited every continent, lived in France, participated in language immersion/homestay programs in Japan and Mexico, and volunteered in Ecuador, Romania, and Haiti.

After writing extensively about different cultures, she chose to focus on a culture closer to her own, the Appalachian, and was surprised to learn that it is her own—and quite different from the image conveyed by the media. In her fifth book, In Search of Appalachia, she shares a study of Appalachians today and explores what they are truly like, and why, concluding that is a culture to be celebrated, not denigrated and quite different from the image conveyed by the media. (Source: Roman & Littlefield). Learn more about Nancy’s work.


Hope Interrupted

By Jennifer Mooney and Byron McCauley (Jennifer Mooney, M.A. ’05)

In Hope Interrupted, Mooney, a Jewish woman who grew up in the North, and McCauley, a Black man who grew up in the South, combine their disparate childhoods to explore what it means to be an American and what the future holds for their offspring and the next generation. It reflects upon what their own ancestors may have envisioned decades earlier. This includes reflections and introspection of their own lives aligned with a world experiencing a full-blown crisis.

Written during six months of COVID, a failing economy, Black Lives Matter and political unrest, their narrative concluded on November 3, 2020 (USA Election Day). They revisited their premise and the state of the nation again three months later. Their sense of optimism, hope and perseverance speaks truth to individuals with family challenges, aging parents and a battle cry that calls out to anyone who has questioned the fragility of life.

Mooney describes Hope Interrupted as a cautionary tale of hope, fear, optimism, existential dread and living told with humor, realism and raw candor. Learn more about their work.


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