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Hamilton Alumni Review
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Bookshelf

The following books by Hamilton alumni have been added to the Burke Library ­collection. We welcome news of other new or recent books for annotation in upcoming issues of the Alumni Review. Copies of books or bibliographic information for ordering purposes may be sent to ­editor@hamilton.edu.

Thomas W. Benson '58, (editor), American Rhetoric in the New Deal Era, 1932-1945 (East Lansing: Michigan State Univ. Pr., 2006).
Volume VII in the series "A Rhetorical History of the United States," this substantial work contains essays on such topics as Franklin D. Roosevelt as speechmaker, the rhetorical style and impact of Eleanor Roosevelt, and the demagogic oratory of Father Coughlin and Huey Long. The editor, who contributed the introduction, is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric at Pennsylvania State University.  


Frances F. Dunwell K'74, The Hudson: America's River (New York: Columbia Univ. Pr., 2008).
Large in format and nicely illustrated, this volume is, in effect, the biography of a fabled river, its vast historical impact, its trials and tribulations, and its resiliency and recent ecological renewal. Comprehensive in scope and beautifully written, it is based on historical research but also on the personal experiences and commitment of the author, who has devoted more than 30 years of her life in various nonprofit and governmental capacities to conserving the Hudson's heritage for future generations. Royalties from the sales of the book will go to the cause of the river's conservation.


Claire Goldstein '94, Vaux and ­Versailles: The Appropriations, ­Erasures, and Accidents That Made Modern France (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 2008).
The author, an associate professor of French at Miami University in Ohio, adds greatly to our knowledge of 17th-century France with this impressively researched work. An exploration of architecture, ­tapestry and ­gardens as well as literature, it makes the connection between finance minister Nicolas Fouquet's cultural innovations at his chateau Vaux and the Versailles of Louis XIV, the Sun King. The author, who spoke at Hamilton on the subject last spring, makes a persuasive case for Vaux not only foreshadowing Versailles but also Louis XIV's preempting and perverting it in ruthless fashion for his own ends.  


Edward R. Hogan '64, Of the Human Heart: A Biography of Benjamin Peirce (Bethlehem, Pa.: Lehigh Univ. Pr., 2008).
More than a biography of the distinguished 19th-century American mathematician, the work encompasses the development in general of science and scientific study in the United States during Peirce's era. The father of logician Charles Peirce, he was an American pioneer in mathematics, and especially algebra, as well as an educational reformer at Harvard, and his life and activities shed much light on the scientific history of his time. Thoroughly researched and exhaustive but not exhausting because it is written in reader-friendly prose, the work, by a recently retired professor of mathematics at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, is a major contribution to scientific scholarship.   


Stephen Knapp '69, Lightpaintings (Worcester, Mass.: LaVigne Pr., 2007).
A slim but gorgeously color-illustrated book featuring the unique works of the artist. Utilizing such materials as stainless steel and glass, his lightpaintings are aptly described as "dramatic, dynamic and intriguing sculptural installations," and they are above all suffused with brilliant color and the play of light. The booklet, which has an accompanying essay, was published in conjunction with an exhibition of the artist's works at Midland Center for the Arts in Michigan in 2007.  [Watch a video clip about the lightpaintings of Stephen Knapp '69.]


Chuck Kruger '60, Sourcing (Cork, Ireland: Bradshaw Bks., 2007).
A poetry collection, the author's first, sent to us "from the jagged off-shore fringe of Ireland," where he lives on the island of Cape Clear. A storyteller and broadcaster, he first began to write poems while at Hamilton, "spurred on partly by George Nesbitt." He settled off the coast of Ireland many years ago, and his writings capture the wild nature and solitary beauty of the place. If this collection of verse has a theme, it is to be found in those hearty habitants of the island, the butterflies, who "survive the ferocious winter and spring storms of Cape Clear."


A.G. Lafley '69 (coauthor), The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with ­Innovation (New York: Crown, 2008).
Sound advice, based on experience and proven success from the chairman and chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble, and recently elected chairman of Hamilton's Board of Trustees. Written with business consultant Ram Charan, the book is an account, by way of examples, of how Procter & Gamble and other companies became "game-changers" in the new global corporate world. This is a work of immense practical value to any business executive concerned with innovation, as well as anyone taking an interest in the business world of today.  


Jack Henry Markowitz '69, Stuff Happens: My Life as a Monkey ([no place]: Xlibris, 2008).
A novella that liberally mixes fiction with the autobiographical, which the author calls "friction," he tells a tale of growing up and beyond in New York City. Abundantly laced with satirical humor, it has as its central character one Dobbin Feldman, who just happens to have attended Hamilton College and participated in adventures on its Junior Year in France program. Written in a sprightly fashion, it makes for a lively and enjoyable read. The author is employed in social services by the City of Philadelphia.  


Peter Meinke '55, Unheard Music: Stories (Lookout Mountain, Tenn.: Jefferson Pr., 2007).
A collection of 18 magnificently crafted short stories that reveal "the intricacy of human relationships, the importance of individualism, and the power of place and culture." Wide-ranging and populated with fascinating and all–too-human characters, the stories are told with humor as well as great insight and compassion. The author, a highly regarded poet, was for many years the director of the writing workshop at Eckerd College in Florida.  


Richard Nelson '72, Conversations In ­Tusculum (New York: Faber & Faber, 2008).
A "political" play, set in ancient Rome prior to the assassination of Julius ­Caesar. With Brutus, Cassius and Cicero as its main characters, it grapples with such profound issues as loyalty when power is being abused. Premiered last March at the Public Theater in New York City with the playwright himself directing, it transmits strong echoes of the contemporary political scene. The latest in a distinguished series of works by "one of our most thoughtful and courageous playwrights," it follows his Frank's Home, a play about Frank Lloyd Wright, which had its premiere in Manhattan last season.  


John Nichols '62, The Empanada Brotherhood: A Novel (San Francisco: Chronicle Bks, 2007).
The author's first novel since The Voice of the Butterfly (2001), it is set in Greenwich Village during the early 1960s and contains a full panoply of ­colorful characters. The narrator is an aspiring writer fresh out of ­college, and the work hints at much that is autobiographical. A somewhat slender but charming coming-of-age story, it "captures a ­special time and place with extraordinary empathy and humor."  


Preeta Samarasan '98, Evening Is the Whole Day (Boston: Houghton ­Mifflin, 2008).
A first novel, set in Malaysia, it is the story of three ­generations of a well-to-do ethnic Indian family, and its characters come compellingly alive on its pages. Combining "beautiful language, dark humor, and deep intelligence," it has been widely praised by critics as a remarkably impressive debut novel. The author, who was born and grew up in Malaysia, and who received an M.F.A. degree from the University of Michigan after her graduation from Hamilton, currently resides in France.  


Michael W. Sherer '74, Island Life (Detroit: Five Star, 2008).
In a ­departure from his Emerson Ward detective series, the author's latest mystery thriller has as its central character a trouble-plagued Jack Holm, whose missing wife turns up murdered and he is accused of the crime. Abandoned by friends and family, and threatened with the loss of his children as well as his freedom, he sets out to uncover the truth. "An unrelenting tale of ­personal calamity that ends on a gratifying note of hope," it is set in the Seattle area, where the author himself ­happens to reside.  


Anne Surchin K'76, Houses of the Hamptons: 1880 - 1930 (coauthor),  (New York: Acanthus Pr., 2007). ­
Lavishly and gorgeously illustrated, with a highly informative and ­wonderfully well-written text to match, this large-format book will capture the attention of anyone interested in eastern Long Island and especially its architecture. Focusing on over 30 grand residences, many of them designed by renowned architects, it paints a portrait of the wealthy at leisure in a bygone era, and the permanent legacy that they and their architects have left us. The book is cowritten by two architects, Gary Lawrance and Anne Surchin, who has her own architectural firm, located in Southold, N.Y.

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