Over the past decade, Mexican drug traffickers trying to get their products to the U.S. have had a spiritual “protector.” Her name is Santa Muerte, and she’s a Mexican folk saint for not just drug traffickers, but prostitutes too. R. Andrew Chesnut (Virginia Commonwealth University) is the author of a new book about Santa Muerte, called Devoted to Death, in which he looks at her growing cult of followers in both Mexico and the U.S. Also featured: Africa is often thought of as a “dark continent” rife with wars, famines, wild animals, and primitive tribes. But Robert Vinson (College of William & Mary) is working on a new book that challenges those ideas. He says Zulu peoples of South Africa were active shapers of the modern Atlantic world, influencing popular culture, literature, sports, and the Civil Rights movement.

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