Amherst Magazine

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Reviews | Short Takes


Any Good Movies? Commentaries on Our Modern Literature.
By Phil Steele ’66. Hartford, Conn: Goodly creatures Press, 2006. 536 pp. $18 paperback.

In between teaching English and American literature, practicing law and working as a radio sportscaster, Steele has been an avid and opinionated moviegoer and film reviewer. To him, cinema is not only entertainment but also “the central marketplace of ideas today.” This volume includes his comments on more than 500 films.

Butterworths Guide to U.S./U.K. Private Wealth Tax Planning.
By Robert Williams ’65, Dawn Nicholson and Richard Layman. West Sussex, England: Tottel Publishing, 2005. 529 pp. $190 hardcover.

This detailed manual is for accountants of clients who live in the United States and the United Kingdom and are subject to the tax laws of both nations.

Captive Histories: English, French and Native Narratives of the 1704 Deerfield Raid.
Edited by Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney, professor of American studies and history. Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006. 298 pp. $22.95 paperback.

The authors use original source material to tell, from multiple angles, the story of the 1704 French and Indian attack on Deerfield, Mass. Also in the book is analysis by Marge Bruchac, a former Five College Fellow in the Program for Minority Scholars in Anthropology/Sociology.

Cut Off the Ears of Winter.
By Peter Covino ’85. Kalamazoo, Mich.: New Issues Press, 2005. 76 pp. $14 paperback.
Critics have described the poems in this collection as transgressive, confessional and minimalist. Born and raised in Italy, Covino won the Frank O’Hara Chapbook Prize in 2001 for Straight Boyfriend. He is a Ph.D. candidate in English and creative writing at the University of Utah and a founding editor of Barrow Street and Barrow Street Press.

The Double Bind.
By Chris Bohjalian ’82. New York City: Shaye Areheart Books, 2007. 384 pp. $25 hardcover.

In 2003, Bohjalian came across a collection of photographs of performers and newsmakers from the 1950s and 1960s. The photos were taken by Bob “Soupy” Campbell, who ended up living on the streets in Vermont. Inspired by the lesson that homeless people have life stories “as serious as our own,” Bohjalian wrote The Double Bind, a novel in which a college student begins a dangerous investigation into the life of a homeless former photographer. Bohjalian is donating a portion of his royalties to the Committee on Temporary Shelter in Burlington, Vt. His seven other books include the bestselling Midwives.

The Education of Ludwig Fried.
By Howard R. Wolf ’58. Chandigarh, India: Atma Ram & Sons, 2006. 131 pp. $16 hardcover.

Wolf is a lecturer, literary critic and professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also a world traveler and a prolific writer of fiction and personal essays. This, his 12th book, is a novella set in the academic world and composed of three short stories: “Library of the Lost,” “Banzai, Au Revoir” and “Adult Single Journey.” Wolf includes as an afterword an autobiographical essay,“A Writer’s Development: The Literary Shape of Selfhood.”

Ernestine Bayer: Mother of U.S. Women’s Rowing.
By Lewis C. Cuyler ’55. Charleston, S.C.: BookSurge Publishing, 2006. 211 pp. $16.99 paperback.

Today, women’s rowing is an Olympic event, and the majority of competitive rowers in the United States are female. That was not the case in the 1920s, when Bayer began her rowing career. Denied membership in all-male rowing clubs, she dedicated her life to ensuring that women would have access to the sport. She continued to row beyond the age of 90. Cuyler, a rower at Amherst, is a former journalist who started a sculling business and helped to found the Berkshire Rowing and Sculling Society. He has earned medals in senior citizens’ rowing.

French Arthurian Romance III: Le Chevalier as deus espees.
By Paul Vincent Rockwell, professor of French. Suffolk, England: Boydell & Brewer, 2006. 656 pp. $90 hardcover.

Eight centuries ago, having lost their continental holdings to Philip Augustus, baronial immigrants from western France settled in England. Scholars believe this group is responsible for producing a cluster of French verse works, including Le Chevalier as deus espees (“The knight with the two swords”). Rockwell’s book, with French text and facing English translation, is the only dual-language edition of the Arthurian romance and the first critical edition since the 19th century.

How Law Knows.
Edited by Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Five College 40th Anniversary Professor; Lawrence Douglas, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought; and Martha Merrill Umphrey, associate professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2007. 208 pp. $50 hardcover.

Part of the Amherst Series in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, this book clarifies the various ways in which the legal system might come to know the necessary, relevant information about a case.

Law and the Sacred.
Edited by Sarat, Douglas and Umphrey. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2007. 192 pp. $45 hardcover.

Even in modern democracies that claim to be secular, say the authors, it may be impossible to completely disentangle law from religion. This book examines the history of the notion of separation of church and state and asks whether the separation can be maintained in an era of fundamentalist religious movements. Law and the Sacred is also part of the Amherst Series in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought.

Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge.
Edited by IlÁn Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture and Five College 40th Anniversary Professor; and Harold Augenbraum. New York City: Mariner Books, 2006. 256 pp. $13 paperback.

With writings in Spanish, English and Spanglish, this anthology displays an eclectic mix of pieces by Latino authors and artists. The writings include short fiction, a comic strip, hip-hop lyrics, a Puerto Rican menu and musings on pop culture.

The Life of Hinduism.
Edited by John Stratton Hawley ’63 and Vasudha Narayanan. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2006. 324 pp. $19.95 paperback.

This collection of 20 scholarly essays sheds light on Hinduism today. The essays describe gods and goddesses, rites and rituals, performances and festivals, gurus and the caste system. They explore how modern diasporas and information technology have sparked new developments in the religion and have led some practitioners to become militant separatists while others embrace change and tolerance.

Making Globalization Work.
By Joseph E. Stiglitz ’64. New York City: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006. 358 pp. $27 hardcover.

Stiglitz won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001; the following year, with Globalization and Its Discontents, he became known as an insightful critic of the rapidly changing global economic system. Now he updates his analysis of globalization and calls for major reforms, not just in multinational corporations, environmental policies and international trade laws, but in our very attitudes about the increasing interdependence of all nations.

Promise Me.
By Harlan Coben ’84. New York City: Dutton Adult, 2006. 384 pp. $26.95 hardcover.

Promise Me is Coben’s 13th novel and the eighth thriller to feature his popular hero, entertainment agent Myron Bolitar. This time, Myron overhears two teenage neighbors talking about driving home drunk from parties. Concerned for their safety, he enters into a mutual vow with the kids: they promise to call him whenever they need a ride, and he promises to come to their aid. Soon enough, one girl does call, but shortly after Myron drops her off, she goes missing. Can Myron make good on his protective promise and track her down before she is lost forever?

The Same Solitude: Boris Pasternak and Marina Tsvetaeva.
By Catherine Ciepiela ’83, professor of Russian. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2006. 303 pp. $29.95 hardcover.

“Still, we have the same solitude … the same favorite turns in the labyrinth of literature and history,” wrote Pasternak to Tsvetaeva. Ciepiela gives the first full analysis of the decade-long relationship between the two modernist Russian poets. Presenting both sides of their correspondence, she describes their love affair and relates it to the literature and politics of the 1920s and 1930s.

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.
By Daniel Goleman ’68. New York City: Bantam, 2006. 416 pp. $28 hardcover.

In the mid-1990s, Goleman published the bestseller Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. His new book investigates social intelligence, the idea that humans are wired to crave and manage complex personal interactions. Drawing on research in neurology and biology, he explains the mechanisms behind empathy, sexual attraction and lying, and describes disorders of social intelligence, including autism and psychopathy.

Sorcery and Sovereignty: Taxation, Power and Rebellion in South Africa, 1880-1963.
By Sean Redding, professor of history. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2006. 304 pp. $26.95 paperback.

By the mid-20th century, prompted largely by frustrations over tax laws, black South Africans revolted against white colonial rule. The rebels called upon mystical forces for help and used accusations of witchcraft to undermine the credibility of government officials. Redding analyzes the intersections of race relations, economic policy, political rhetoric and supernatural belief.

Unequal Partnerships: Beyond the Rhetoric of Philanthropic Collaboration.
By Ira Silver ’91. New York City: Routledge, 2006. 160 pp. $70 hardcover.

Silver’s first book examines the frequently tense and hierarchical relationships between charities and the community-based organizations they support. Focusing on specific initiatives by charitable organizations in the 1980s and 1990s, Silver points out often hidden conflicts of interest. Silver is an associate professor of sociology at Framingham State College in Massachusetts.


Compiled by Katherine Duke ’05