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Hamilton Alumni Review
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Alumni Review — Spring 2013

Bookshelf

The following books by Hamilton alumni have been added to the Burke Library ­collection. We welcome other new or recent books for annotation in 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.

Lesley Alderman ’82, The Book of Times: From Seconds to Centuries, a Compendium of Measures (New York: William Morrow, 2013). Described by one enthusiastic reader as “a deceptively casual waltz through a remarkable range of statistics reflecting how time is used and spent,” this fascinating work is jam-packed with information, entertainingly presented and replete with “quirky tidbits.” Anyone concerned about time (and that is every human being) will learn much and profit even more from the revelations in this book. All the questions relating to time that you might have asked are covered in its pages. “At what age do athletics reach their peak?” “How long does it take to get over jet lag?” “How long does love last?” Lesley Alderman, who has compiled the intriguing answers, is a writer and editor on health and finance, and a former New York Times columnist as well as a certified yoga instructor, who resides with her family in Brooklyn.

Peter Cameron ’82, Coral Glynn: A Novel (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012). The setting is a manor house in the English countryside a few years after World War II. A period novel with Gothic undertones, it is the latest of six from Peter Cameron’s highly original and imaginative mind. The story of Coral Glynn, a young nurse sent to Hart House to tend the dying Mr. Hart, it is told with the gentle wit and delicacy of sensibility that we have come to expect and admire so much in Peter Cameron’s writing. He has been called a specialist “in emotional subtlety and unspoken desires,” and Coral Glynn is further proof of that mastery. His home base is Manhattan, but he is no stranger to College Hill, having been back just last June to receive an honorary doctorate of letters from his alma mater.

Mike Crade ’70, The Nazi Time Machine – 2014 ([no place or publisher], 2012). A time-travel thriller in which Hitler is resurgent and triumphant, and the Nazis rule the world. It is a perverse 1984 with a few heroic American resisters. The central character and hero of this fast-paced read is “Corky” Fitzgerald, a “Hamilton College graduate and English major.” Mike Crade, a physician in California with a highly inventive imagination, is also the author of Medical Mystery: The Yale Experiment (2011) and Voodoo Punks: A Time Travel Adventure (2010).

Nancy Dafoe K’74, Breaking Open the Box: A Guide for Creative Techniques to Improve Academic Writing and Generate Critical Thinking (Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 2013). This textbook designed for writing instructors serves splendidly as a guide for any teacher or tutor who wishes not only to encourage good writing but also to stimulate student creativity. Drawing upon her years of experience as an award-winning poet and writer, as well as a teacher of writing from the junior high to the college level, Nancy Avery Dafoe offers insightful techniques for inspiring and developing students’ potential both as writers and readers. She currently applies her highly creative approaches to the teaching of writing at Minoa Central High School in East Syracuse, NY.

Thomas B. Roberts ’61 (editor), ­Spiritual Growth with Entheogens: Psychoactive Sacramentals and Human Transformation (Rochester, VT: Park Street Pr., 2012). A new edition of a work originally published in 2001, this collection of essays examines “how we can return to the primary spiritual encounters at the basis of all religions through the guided use of entheogens.” A valuable anthology, its contributors include clergy, scientists and “psychedelic visionaries.” The editor, who provides the concluding essay, “An Entheogen Idea-Map – Future Explorations,” is an emeritus professor of educational psychology at Northern Illinois ­University and has been called “the keeper of the flame for the study of psychedelics.”

Wayne Mahood ’56, Fight All Day, March All Night: A Medal of Honor Recipient’s Story (Albany; State ­University of New York Pr., 2012). In 1862, Morris Brown, Jr., Class of 1864, from Penn Yan, NY, left his studies at Hamilton to join the Union Army in the Civil War then raging. He would be engaged in combat at numerous battle sites that resonate in the history of that momentous ­conflict. At Gettysburg his valor would earn him, posthumously, the Medal of Honor, and his life would end in June 1864 as acting regimental commander gallantly leading the charge of the 126th New York Volunteers against Confederate forces at Petersburg in Virginia.

Throughout his military service, close to two years in duration, Morris Brown kept in regular communication with his family back in Penn Yan. His sister (or perhaps it was a niece) lovingly collected his wartime letters and, along with related correspondence, documents and memorabilia, compiled them into a scrapbook. That scrapbook somehow fell into the hands of an antiques dealer in Nashville, TN, many years later. One day in 1991, his son was watching Ken Burns’ TV series on the Civil War, and it reminded him of the scrapbook inherited from his father and stored in his attic. He saw a reference to Hamilton in the scrapbook and called, wondering if the College would be interested in purchasing it. The transaction was arranged and the scrapbook was added to the College Archives.

Meanwhile, Wayne Mahood, now Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the School of Education at SUNY in Geneseo, was writing the history of the 126th New York in the Civil War. He had run across Morris Brown’s name in the course of his research, but had little infor­mation about him. When alerted to the acquisition of the scrapbook by the College, he seized the opportunity to find out more about Morris Brown. The initial result of his research was an article, “Morris is a Hero: A Saga of the Civil War,” published in this magazine in the fall-winter of 1991-92.

Now, Wayne Mahood has further drawn upon Morris Brown’s letters, supplemented by extensive and intensive research, to tell his full story. It is the tale of an ambitious young man plunged into the daily monotony of camp and field life, interrupted by horrendous bouts of battle. It brings home to the reader the awfulness of the Civil War as reflected in young Brown’s first-hand experiences. Few accounts of the war, and there are many, provide a more graphic picture of what it was like on the ground and from day to day for a Union solider. In drawing together so much information beyond what could be gleaned from the initial source, the scrapbook, Wayne Mahood has not only done a remarkable amount of research, but has also added importantly to the vast store of books on the Civil War that already exists.

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