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Amherst College > News & Events > Amherst Magazine > Archives > Spring 2004 > Amherst Creates
Amherst Creates.

Reviews | Short Takes | What They Are Reading


Short Takes

The American Civil War through British Eyes: Dispatches from British Diplomats, Volume 1, November 1860-April 1862. Edited by James J. Barnes ’54 and Patience P. Barnes. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2003. 336 pp. $50 cloth.

The dispatches in this volume cover a period that witnessed the election of Abraham Lincoln, the secession crisis, the formation of the Confederacy and the first military confrontations of the war—events that raised a host of problems for Great Britain’s relationships with both the Union and the Confederacy. Barnes was a Rhodes and Fulbright Scholar, and is currently professor of history at Wabash College.

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen, annotated and edited by David M. Shapard ’84. Delmar, N.Y.: Pheasant Books, 2004. 768 pp. $29.95 hardcover.

Shapard, a scholar of 18th-century literature, has produced the first annotated version of Austen’s classic novel. The book contains more than 2,300 annotations, which provide historical background on society and customs, point out
connections between the book’s incidents and Austen’s own life, analyze the author’s techniques and themes, and define the many words in the novel that have become archaic or have shifted their meaning.

Another Thursday. By H.R. Coursen ’54. Dresden, Maine: Mathom Bookshop, 2002. 128 pp. $9.95 paperback.

This activist, teacher and prolific author presents his latest collection of new and selected poems. Coursen’s subjects span wide arenas of experience and knowledge: one poem might find inspiration in G.M. Hopkins and W.B. Yeats, while another, titled “Have You Had Food Poisoning?” contains the brave line, “the burger too burned / that kept you up barfing at night?” Other poems are more somber, including elegies and Coursen’s musings on political events.

Behavioral Trading. By Woody Dorsey ’82. New York: Thomson Texere, 2004. 320 pp. $69.95 hardcover.

For the first time, stock market contrarian Woody Dorsey gives readers insight into his unique and highly successful market-diagnosis technique. Dorsey’s approach, which is often described as market-expectations theory, behavioral finance or, most commonly, contrary-opinion analysis, has long been popular with major investors and the financial media because it gives them a macroeconomic perspective that is more than six months ahead of the crowd. Dorsey’s book now makes behavioral economics practical and understandable for the general public.

Blues in the Day. By H.R. Coursen ’54. Dresden, Maine: Mathom Bookshop, 2003. 45 pp. $8.95 paperback.

This slim volume collects a number of assertively rhyming odes to creative personalities: “Blues for Gene Austin,” “Blues for Robert Frost,” “Blues for Artie Shaw.” Coursen intersperses his “Blues” with poems about the Maine landscape.

Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830. By John Wood Sweet ’88. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. 504 pp. $49.95 hardcover.

In the aftermath of the American Revolution, the North emerged as a region of universal freedom—and racial inequality. In this book, historian John Wood Sweet argues that the coming together of American Indians, Europeans and Africans profoundly shaped the character of colonial New England, the meaning of the American Revolution and the founding of American democracy. Sweet’s work is informed by an array of original sources, including newspapers, illustrations and correspondence, which show how American citizenship was defined as much in taverns and bedrooms as it was in courthouses and on battlefields.

Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield. By Kevin Sweeney, professor of history and American studies, and Evan Haefeli. Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003. 408 pp.
$29.95 cloth.

On Feb. 29, 1704, a party of French and Indian raiders descended on the Massachusetts village of Deerfield, killing 50 residents and capturing more than 100 others. In this work of historical reconstruction, Sweeney and Haefeli show how the attack grew out of the aspirations of New England family farmers, the ambitions of Canadian colonists, the calculations of French officials, the fears of Abenaki warriors and the grief of Mohawk women as they all struggled to survive the confrontation of empires and cultures.

Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time. By John Buell ’67. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 2004. 168 pp. $16.95 paperback.

In this sequel to his critically acclaimed and controversial The End of Homework, John Buell extends his case against homework. Arguing that it robs children—and parents—of unstructured time for play and intellectual and emotional development, Buell offers a convincing case for why homework is an outgrowth of broader cultural anxieties about
the sanctity of work itself. Buell is a columnist for the Bangor Daily News.

The Discipline of Law Schools: The Making of Modern Lawyers. By Philip C. Kissam ’63. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2003. 296 pp. $30 paperback.

Kissam, a professor at the University of Kansas School of Law, takes a comprehensive look at the basic practices, ideas and habits in American law schools. Kissam says that current legal education is guilty of an excessive focus on limited technical skills that is detrimental to acquiring the more complex skills of legal interpretation, argument and judgment. Drawing on contemporary political theory and philosophy, Kissam has developed an original ethical basis for evaluating and possibly altering the discipline of law schools in ways that could promote more effective, more democratic and more humane legal education.

Escape from Amerika. By H.R. Coursen ’54. Dresden, Maine: Mathom Bookshop, 2003. 181 pp. $8.95 paperback.

Disk-jockey Jack Parker is the author of a “subversive letter” that puts the Homeland Security Police on his tail. In his attempts to elude his thuggish pursuers, Parker teams up with a mysterious woman, Malena Devereaux, who is also on the run. Together, they travel through Florida, Spain and the Caribbean.

Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research: Readings and Commentary. Edited by Ezekiel J. Emanuel ’79, et al. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. 528 pp. $39.95 paperback.

This is the first textbook designed to help train National Institutes of Health investigators in the ethics of clinical research. Beginning with the history of human-subjects research and guidelines instituted since World War II, Emanuel and his fellow editors cover various components of the clinical-trial process, including designing the trial, recruiting participants and ensuring informed consent. The closing chapters address conflicts of interest and scientific misconduct.

Euripides. By H.R. Coursen ’54. Dresden, Maine: Mathom Bookshop, 2003. 464 pp. $10.95 paperback.

In this “adaptation of 14 plays (plus one),” Coursen condenses many of Euripides’ best-known plays—Electra and Medea, for instance—and provides editorial notes that emphasize the scripts’ relevance in the new millennium. Euripides, Coursen says, is “very modern—or post-modern,” “the poet of aftermath,” a universal author for our “age of destruction.”

The Horror Readers’ Advisory: The Librarian’s Guide to Vampires, Killer Tomatoes and Haunted Houses. By Becky Siegel Spratford ’97 and Tammy Hennigh Clausen. Chicago: American Library Association, 2004. 176 pp. $36 paperback.

Spratford, an “expert horror maven,” has, with fellow librarian Clausen, penned a must-have guide to the horror genre. Readers’ advisors and reference librarians will appreciate the key tools provided to expand upon this genre, including listings of top books, authors and award winners within 11 horror subgenres—like mummies, biomedical, monsters and splatterpunk. Clear descriptions of characteristics within subgenres are provided throughout.

Inflation Targeting in the World Economy. By Edwin M. Truman ’63. Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics. 288 pp. $25 paperback.

Truman, a prominent international economist who has worked with the Federal Reserve and Federal Open Market Committee, addresses the challenges and opportunities associated with inflation targeting as a monetary-policy framework. His study focuses on the global policy implications of G3 central banks’ adopting inflation targeting, and asks whether the framework is a viable option for emerging-market economies. It also explores the possible ramifications of inflation targeting for IMF-supported stabilization programs.

Lines from Quiet Hours: Collected Poems 1960-2003. By Richard Farwell ’42. Portland, Ore.: Franklin Street Books, 2003. 128 pp. $12.95 paperback.

The lyrical poems in this slim collection reflect on nature, close attachments and the feel of life. Richard Farwell, a Chicago businessman, wrote them in “quiet hours” over a period of 40 years as a stay against the confusion of work and as a creative response to the poets he most admires: Frost, Hopkins and Heaney.

Operating Systems, 3/E. By Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel and David R. Choffnes ’02. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2004. 1,272 pp. $100 hardcover.

This textbook goes beyond the standard coverage in operating systems courses, with key chapters on multiprocessing, networking, distributed systems, performance and security. The text features extensive, up-to-the-minute case studies
on the latest versions of Linux (2.6) and Microsoft Windows XP. Charts, diagrams, illustrations and exercises (both with and without solutions) are included.

The Papacy and the Art of Reform in 16th-Century Rome: Gregory XIII’s Tower of the Winds in the Vatican. By Nicola Courtwright, assistant professor of fine arts. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 344 pp. $85 hardcover.

From his election in 1572 to his death in 1585, Pope Gregory XIII spent a great deal of money building and restoring Rome’s streets, churches and public monuments. One major monument, the three-story apartment rising from the Vatican Palace called the Tower of the Winds, was built to celebrate the most famous achievement of Gregory’s papacy, calendar reform. Courtwright, a scholar of Baroque art, explores the tower’s innovations in architecture and decoration and its wider religious and political purposes.

Riverwest: A Community History. By Tom Tolan ’71. Milwaukee, Wis.: Past Press, 2003. 210 pp. $10 paperback.

Filled with black-and-white photographs of past and present neighborhood residents and thoughtful, extensively researched text about the changing community, this book explores the history of a Milwaukee neighborhood from 1830 to the present. Tolan examines the efforts of a succession of ethnic and social groups—German aristocrats, Polish immigrants, African Americans, Puerto Ricans and other Latinos, the 1960s counterculture—to create communities in the Riverwest neighborhood. While the book is a documentation of neighborhood life, it also addresses the larger themes of modern America: immigration, racial integration and the life cycle of urban decay and renewal.

Small Claims: My Little Trials in Life. By David E. Morine ’66. Camden, Maine: Down East Books, 2003.
224 pp. $15.95 paperback.

A renowned conservationist and storyteller, Morine’s wry humor flavors each vignette in his unpredictable, offbeat memoir. In one chapter, he leaves a coworker’s prized Kermit the Frog doll at a house of ill repute in Mississippi. In another, he accidentally poaches the quail that belongs to one of the Nature Conservancy’s largest Georgia donors. Among Morine’s other books are Vacationland: A Half Century Summering in Maine and The Class Choregus; his articles have appeared in such magazines as Down East, Sports Illustrated and Reader’s Digest.

Tales from the Easel. By Charles C. Eldredge ’66. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 2004. 224 pp. $29.95 paperback.

Tales from the Easel, a companion volume to the eponymous touring exhibit, features 70 full-color reproductions that convey the expressive, allusive powers of narrative painting. The book contains paintings from such artists as Homer, Benton, Lawrence and Wyeth. In a featured essay, Eldredge, director emeritus of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and curator of the exhibit, discusses the rich and varied sources of American narrative painting, from literature and history to childhood and domestic life.

T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide. By David E. Chinitz ’84. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003. 264 pp. $35 hardcover.

Although T.S. Eliot often is perceived as an “implacable opponent of popular culture,” Chinitz, an associate professor of English at Loyola University, argues that Eliot was productively engaged with some form of popular culture—detective fiction, vaudeville, jazz—at every stage in his career. This book casts Eliot as a writer who liked a good show, a good thriller, a good tune—as well as a great poem.

Two Worlds Apart: An American’s Intimate Account of Growing up in the Arab World of 1902-1923. By Daniel Bliss ’20. Monmouth, Maine: The Monmouth Press, 2003. 488 pp. $16 paperback.

Published posthumously by his children, Molly and Howard, Bliss’ autobiography recounts an adventure-filled boyhood spent in Beirut, Lebanon, where his father served as president of the Syrian Protestant College, now Amer­ican University of Beirut. Among his most noteworthy escapades were a 500-mile round-trip journey on horseback from Beirut to Jerusalem, surviving a Houdini water stunt gone wrong and witnessing the 1923 earthquake in Yoko­hama, Japan.

—Compiled by Charlene Dy ’03

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