Book-of-the-Month Club Has O'Toole on the List

Book-of-the-Month Club Has O'Toole on the List

Prof. James O'Toole's (History) recent book, Passing for White: Race, Religion and the Healy Family, 1820-1920, has been chosen as May's non-fiction selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club.

Prof. James O'Toole (History).
Passing for White is the first book by a Boston College faculty member to be chosen for Book-of-the-Month Club distribution since Prof. Emeritus John McAleer's (English) Rex Stout: A Biography was selected for the honor 25 years ago.

O'Toole said that the book originally drew interest from the smaller History Book-of-the-Month Club, but publishers thought the subject would appeal to an even wider audience.

Passing for White chronicles the lives of the children of a multi-racial couple from Georgia who were sent to the north in the hopes of concealing their racial identity and affording them a chance for a better life.

Three of the family's sons became priests: James, who went on to become the bishop of Portland, Maine; Patrick, who entered the Society of Jesus and later became president of Georgetown University; and Alexander, who was appointed rector of Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Writing in this month's selection pamphlet, Book-of-the-Month Club Acquisitions Editor Victoria Skurnick calls Passing for White an "eye-opening, fascinating, revelatory" read.

The book was originally published by the University of Massachusetts Press. The initial press run of 2,000 copies has sold out and another printing has been scheduled, O'Toole said. The Book-of-the-Month Club generally requires an additional 2,000 copies.

The book will also be published in a paperback edition in the fall, according to O'Toole.

-Reid Oslin


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