Alumni Authors

As a celebration of our alumni, each month we will highlight a new book written by one of Oxford's North American-based alumni.
For May 2019, our author is Christian D'Andrea, Magdalen (1994). 

When I met Jimmy Hatch, he was in that fabled (and secretive) Navy counter-terror unit—living life at a high frequency, experiencing hidden dimensions of Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting alongside men and dogs that he loved.  Then, after 150 counter-terror missions, he got shot trying to rescue Bergdahl.  Ejected from the life he knew, and ashamed of what he thought were his failures, he put a gun in his mouth.  And that's when his next adventure began.  

A lot of people buy the book because they want to experience the Action Man element — to see war from the POV of a guy who is happy running at bullets and who sweeps up kids in a protective embrace as he does.  But then they're surprised, because they also find themselves drawn to a different kind of courage, a new kind of courage, the courage Jimmy shows when he confesses his struggles.  And it turns out there are tools for these struggles.  They were given to Jimmy.  And now he wants to give them to the rest of us.  Because we all have battles.

One of my favorite traits of Jimmy's is his wit.  It's irrepressible.  Even in moments where you wouldn't think wit was possible.  Lying in a poppy field in Afghanistan, bleeding to death from the hole that had just been punched through his leg by an AK-47 round, Jimmy was doing something pretty reasonable, given the circumstances.  He was screaming.  His friend, who was hovering over him, trying to staunch the bleeding and save his life, was worried that the screaming would reveal their momentarily concealed position to the enemy, which was all around them, firing wildly.  So he told Jimmy to shut up.  Jimmy replied, "Hey, you can't talk to me like that. I've been shot."

My motto: America is a patchwork quilt, and stories are its stitching.  In a divided age, we need unifying stories more than ever.  In order to find those stories, I practice the lost art of Shunpiking — knowing when to “shun” the turnpike and get onto the back roads where the good stories are tucked away.  The ones that remind us of our best selves.  Here are some of them:

And here's a video that gives a glimpse of Jimmy's unique character:

This is what happens when a SEAL brings a dog to an elementary school.  

You can purchase Touching the Dragon here.


Are you an alumni author?

If you have written a book which was published within the last three years, or is due to be released soon, please email us the following information.

Your full name
Alumni number (or college/year of matriculation)
Title of book
Date of publication
Link to purchase the book online

We thank you for sharing your books with us, and will let you know if you are selected for a feature in the coming months.

To look back at previous Alumni Authors, please visit the pages below:  

Alumni Author April 2019 

Alumni Author March 2019

Alumni Author February 2019

Alumni Author January 2019

Alumni Author December 2018

Alumni Author November 2018

Alumni Author October 2018

Alumni Author September 2018

Alumni Author August 2018

Alumni Author July 2018

Alumni Author June 2018

Alumni Author May 2018

Alumni Author April 2018

Alumni Author March 2018

Alumni Author February 2018

Overhead view of Radcliffe Camera and adjacent colleges