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Hamilton Alumni Review
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Bookshelf

The following books by Hamilton and Kirkland alumni have been added to the Burke Library ­collection. We welcome other new or recent books for annotation in upcoming issues of the Alumni Review. Bibliographic information for ordering purposes may be sent to florenz@hamilton.edu, or, preferably, copies of books to ­Bookshelf Editor, Alumni Review.

Jazz Studies: Jazz Photos by Joann Krivin (Oneonta, NY: The Argian Press, 2009) and Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins, Photographs by John Abbott ’81 (New York: Abrams, 2010). Each of this pairing of wonderfully made and evocative jazz photo collections has distinctive ties to the Hill. Jazz Studies is published by The Argian Press, founded and owned by David Hayes ’81, who also designed the book. It features an Introduction by Monk Rowe, the Joe Williams Director of Hamilton’s Jazz Archive and a ­lecturer in music performance, and the late Joe Williams himself — awarded an honorary doctorate by Hamilton in 1988 — is featured on  page 57 in one of the book’s most compelling photos. ­Saxophone Colossus, devoted to the life and work of the 80-year-old Rollins, features the photos of award-winning jazz photographer John Abbott, who has returned to lecture and exhibit at the College. Monk Rowe believes that a great photographer can bring the viewer “into the jazz artist’s thought process” and catch “flights of improvisation” in the moment. Whatever the source of the magic, over generations, jazz has lent itself to some of the most compelling ­photography in popular culture, and these two volumes ­provide plenty of evidence.

Tom Arthur ’52, Destiny! In the Land of the Morning Calm (Minneapolis: Two Harbors Press, 2010). As a first lieutenant in the 61st Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division in Hokkaido and Northern Honshu, Japan, the author — who later worked as an attorney in corporate securities in Chicago until his retirement — might easily have written a nonfiction memoir of his own military life. Instead, he devoted years of research and interviews to this richly detailed, action-packed novel of the Korean War, published just in time for the 60th anniversary of “the forgotten war.” The novel traces the odyssey of Arnold “Frenchy” Desprez from the wilds of northern Minnesota to the battlefields of Korea, bringing to life a rich and complex war hero who finally asks only that “God free us from this awful war.” (Available through www.tomarthur.net.)

Martin Baenninger ’67 (co-author), In the Eye of the Wind: A Travel Memoir of Prewar Japan (Montreal: McGill-Queens Univ. Pr. 2009). Drawing upon their Canadian mother’s diary and their Swiss father’s recollections, as well as family correspondence, the brothers Ron and Martin Baenninger pay ­tribute to their parents in this absorbing account of their early ­married years in 1930s Japan. Both a love and adventure story, it recalls what life was like for a young foreign couple in that country at that time. It culminates in dramatic fashion with the attack on Pearl Harbor and their departure on the last evacuation vessel to leave Japan, barely escaping wartime internment. After a perilous maritime journey, lasting four months, they ultimately reached ­Canada. This is, as one reviewer has written, “a fascinating story, well-told and engaging, about a world now receding into the distance.”

E.M. Bakwin ’50, A Memoir (Chicago: E.M. Bakwin/The Coventry Group, 2009). From infantry duty to world travel to a successful career in finance and energy to a fascination with art, Pete Bakwin recalls a life well-lived. He grew up in a world that married art and science — his parents were both pediatricians and well-known collectors of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works — and a 1938 family Christmas card doubled as a height-and-age chart for young ­Bakwin and his siblings. Entering the business world with strong opinions and a maverick streak, he made a dramatic mark first at the Mid-City National Bank of Chicago, then at Darling-Delaware Corp. and a series of other firms, all while pursuing yachting and travel interests. In ­addition to his adventures abroad, he notes, “believe it or not, banking can generate some interesting ­stories.” (Available from the author at embakwin@aol.com.)

Bill Barton ’69, The Legend of Imp: The Magical Yacht that Rocked the Sailing World ([San Francisco: the author, 2010]). Penned by a clinical psychologist and “a demon for sailing” and ardent regatta racer, this is the story of Imp, the 40-foot ocean racing yacht launched in 1977. Through trials, tribulations and nautical adventures, it made racing ­history, and it is still racing today. With colorful illustrations, this is an inspiring story of a now legendary vessel.

Vicki Doudera ’83, A House to Die For: A Darby Farr ­Mystery (Woodbury, MN: Midnight Ink, 2010). The setting is the coast of Maine and the crime-solving heroine is a real estate agent. The author of this debut novel happens to be writing about subjects she knows well, for she is herself a real estate broker in Camden on Maine’s coast. Weaving in murder and mystery, she briskly tells the tale, replete with well developed characters and surprising plot twists. One reviewer has aptly described it as “an intoxicating, delightful and impossible to put down read.”

Neil Gould ’55, Victor Herbert: A Theatrical Life (New York: Fordham Univ. Pr., 2008). The Irish-born composer and conductor Victor Herbert (1859-1924) was one of the chief ­progenitors of the modern American musical ­theater. In this, the first comprehensive biography of Herbert in more than 50 years, the artistic director of the Victor Herbert Festival in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., delves into the life of the man as well as his music. With it, the author succeeds in making a strong case for Herbert’s signif­icant role in the development of not only the musical theater but American popular culture as well.

Robert M. Lipgar ’49, Everyday Signs of Life: Photographs ([No place: the author], 2010). Dr. Lipgar, a clinical psychologist who practiced in Chicago for many years, is also an ardent and highly talented photographer. In this impressive sampling of his work, he surveys urban scenes and sights, and each color photograph in the collection features a sign of one sort or another.

Jack Henry Markowitz ’69, Bubbie and Zadie Save the Day! ([no place]): Xlibris, 2010). This slim volume comprises a retelling of “a rather unusual bedtime story,” a Romanian folk tale that the author’s mother often told him and his siblings when they were growing up in Brooklyn. Colorfully illustrated by Diane Lucas, it draws inspiration from bygone Jewish village life in Romania and is dedicated to “the hundreds of thousands of Romanian Jewish men, women and children who perished during the Holocaust (1935-1945).”

Peter Meinke ’55, Lines from Neuchâtel (Tampa, FL: Univ. of Tampa Pr., 2009). Originally published in 1974, this collection of verse was inspired by a year the poet spent in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 1971-72, when he was shepherding a group of American students studying there. With new poems and an afterword added, together with new pen and ink ­drawings by his wife, the well known illustrator Jeanne Meinke, this new edition brings back into print a classic work by a now widely recognized and celebrated poet. Long the director of the writing workshop at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., and frequently writer-in-residence at other colleges, including Hamilton, he was appointed last year as the first  Poet Laureate of the City of St. Petersburg, where he and Jeanne reside.

Michael Meyer ’74, The Year that Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall (New York: ­Scribner, 2009). As Newsweek’s bureau chief for Germany and Eastern Europe from 1988 to 1992, the author witnessed first-hand the crumbling of communism and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union. In this wide-ranging study, he points to factors often under­estimated, when not actually ignored, that led to communism’s collapse. They include domestic resistance movements in Eastern Europe that chipped away at the Soviet empire in addition to ­Premier Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts at internal reform. Ultimately, those pressures led to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In fast-paced fashion, the author sets the stage for that watershed event and dramatically recounts its unfolding. It is a compelling story compellingly told.

Chuck Miller ’85, Ghost Signs of the Capital District ([no place]: Blurb Inc., 2010). There was a time when commercial signs painted on the brick façades of buildings served as a major form of advertising. Observing those remnants of the past, photographer and writer Chuck Miller was prompted to take his camera and make the rounds of Albany, N.Y., and neighboring cities to capture those relics of yesteryear on film. The result is a fascinating collection of color photographs, all descriptively captioned, which conjure up some of our bygone urban history.

Jim Picardi ’64, Descent from the Hill (Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2010). The author’s first novel, it begins when freshman Justin Windsor arrives in 1960 at the Hill, “a liberal arts college steeped in tradition and tucked away in the pastoral environs of America’s northeast.” His life becomes intertwined with those of his three college roommates and their families throughout the ensuing years. The story unfolds against a backdrop of actual historical events and ultimately involves corruption, conspiracy and betrayal on an international scale. With characters well delineated, the novel captures and securely holds the reader’s attention throughout. It is an auspicious literary debut by a retired physician who resides in Colorado and is now working on his second book.

Lewis Rathbun ’35, A Doctor All My Life (Asheville, NC: Grateful Steps, 2009). The author, a medical practitioner for more than 40 years, tells a compelling life story in these memoirs. From boyhood in rural upstate New York through Hamilton in the Depression era and on to Harvard Medical School and World War II, it sets the stage for the story of his life’s work as an obstetrician/gynecologist in the mountains of North Carolina. It also traces the changes, for good or ill, in medicine and medical practices that had occurred in the latter half of the 20th century. But more important, it is, as one reviewer has commented, “the inside story of what it is like to be a doctor and dedicate oneself to other people’s welfare.” Published when Dr. Rathbun was looking back on his life at the age of 95, his memoirs are both informative and inspiring.

Jeswald W. Salacuse ’60, The Law of Investment Treaties (New York: Oxford Univ. Pr., 2010). This, the latest international law treatise by the Henry J. Braker Professor of Law at Tufts ­University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, is every bit as impressive a scholarly work as its predecessors. Investment treaties are gaining increasing importance on the international scene (a primary example is the North American Free Trade Agreement), and in this volume, their history, nature and significance, as well as their impact, are thoroughly explicated.

Michael W. Sherer ’74, Death on a Budget: An Emerson Ward Mystery (Detroit: Five Star, 2010). This is the sixth in a series about Chicago freelance writer and private investigator Emerson Ward, and the first since Death Is No Bargain, published in 2006. The apparent suicide of a childhood friend prompts Ward to return to his hometown, which he had vowed never to revisit. It leads him to confront old demons and uncover criminality, murder and danger to his own life. This latest installment in the series “brings its quixotic hero full circle, providing readers with the family back story of how he became the man and sleuth he is.”

Calin Trenkov-Wermuth ’00, United Nations Justice: Legal and ­Judicial Reform in Governance ­Operations (Tokyo: United Nations Univ. Pr., 2010). Increasingly, the United Nations has become involved in administering justice in places brought under its jurisdiction, such as Kosovo and East Timor. The author, a University of Cambridge Ph.D. and visiting fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris, critically assesses the UN’s endeavors in applying the rule of law and ­suggests ways in which they can be improved.

Peter Weltner ’64, From a Lost Faust Book (Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Pr., 2009). A collection of “beautiful and disturbing” poems, in which the author, who taught poetry and fiction at San Francisco State University from 1969 to 2006, “descends into the darkness of the world and finds faith.”

Cupola