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The following books have been published recently by Hamilton alumni and members of the faculty. We welcome other new or recent books for annotation in future issues. Please email bibliographic information to or, preferably, send a copy of the book to Hamilton Alumni Review, Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323.

Esther in Early Modern Iberia and the Sephardic Diaspora

Emily Colbert Cairns ’06

(Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
The author, an assistant professor of Spanish at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., “explores Queen Esther as an idealized woman in Iberia, as well as a Jewish heroine for conversos in the Sephardic Diaspora in the 16th and 17th centuries” by analyzing retellings of her life found in European and American literary texts.

Self-Determination Theory

Edward L. Deci ’64 (co-author)

(New York: Guilford, 2017)
“This valuable volume presents a synthesis of four decades of systematic work within one of the most comprehensive, profound research programs on human motivation in the history of psychology,” noted a reviewer and professor at the University of Maryland. “It is a true milestone in motivational research, as rich in conceptual insights as it is in exciting findings. The book offers a formidable set of answers as to why people do what they do, and with what consequences.” Deci is the Helen F. and Fred. H. Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Rochester.

Unfinished Symphony

Sean Kevin Fitzpatrick ’63

(self-published:, 2017)
The author sums up his collection of poems this way: “I have written for television, movies, advertising, newspapers, magazines, and, in moments of reflection, poetry. Maybe a thousand or so. These are the only ones I have kept. My other work made a lot of money. My poetry, none. But it has been valuable to me. I hope you will like a few of them.”

The Balance of Justice

Eileen Sullivan Hopsicker ’92

(Utica, N.Y.: North Country Books, 2017)
Based on a true story, the author’s first novel tells of Josephine McCarty, who in 1872 was indicted for murdering a man on a streetcar in Utica. Despite witnesses and common consensus that she would hang, officials called in a high-powered lawyer to aid the prosecution. Perhaps they realized the case was more complex than it seemed. “Compelling story which kept me intrigued to the last page,” wrote one reviewer.

You Enter a Room

Nancy Avery Dafoe K’74

(Salem, Ore.: Rogue Phoenix, 2017)
Hard at work on her dissertation, the last thing on Vena Goodwin’s mind is solving a crime. But that’s where she finds herself after a man for whom she had feelings is assumed to have committed suicide. Believing it to be murder, she acts alone on her suspicions to trap the killer. Dafoe’s stories, essays, and poems have appeared in several literary publications.

The Bethlehem Blue: A Christmas Story

Richard Howard Martindale ’53

self-published:, 2017)
A charmingly small book and simple tale of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem told through the wonder of butterfly metamorphosis.

Dynamic DNA: Activating Your Inner Energy for Better Health

James G. Meade ’66 (co-author)

(New York: SelectBooks, 2018)
“The shelves are heavy with books on yoga, but they do not show, scientifically, the connection between yoga and the DNA,” note the authors, who explore the interconnection of DNA and kundalini (a latent spiritual energy), and how diet, lifestyle, and meditation can help purify the body to its highest potential. Meade is a columnist and author of 30 books.

The German Political Broadsheet, 1600-1700

Roger Paas ’67

(Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2017)
This ­volume marks the 14th and final in a collection that contains over 5,000 broadsheets (a precursor to the tabloid newspaper) produced in Europe during the 17th century. With full-page illustrations and a chronological presentation, the volumes provide readers a way of understanding the political and social context in which major historical events took place.

“Paas’ meticulous research in finding, describing and publishing all known extant 17th-century broadsheets is wonderful and sometimes underrated source material covering a tumultuous period in German and Central European history,” notes an article on the Bodleian History Faculty Library at Oxford website. “In particular, the first half of the century saw the Thirty Years’ War, one of Europe’s most violent religious wars.”

The William H. Laird Professor of German and the Liberal Arts, Emeritus at Carleton College, Paas published his first ­volume in 1985 based on research that emerged as part of his doctoral dissertation. While the majority of the broadsheets are housed in German libraries, museums, and archives, his goal to publish as complete a record as possible led him to more than 180 locations throughout Europe and the United States.

The Ramadan Drummer

Randolph Splitter ’68

(Austin, Texas: Pandamoon Publishing, 2017)
This novel features Ezra Kaufman, a police detective, and Aisha Hassan, a reporter, who meet following an anti-Muslim protest. The author writes, “Confronting misogyny, homophobia, and the tyranny of teenage cliques, rejecting both fundamentalism and intolerance, [the characters] learn that they must chart their own paths toward spiritual meaning and personal connection.”

Past Due, haiku

Jeff Stillman ’65

Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2017)
A compilation of the author’s work described by the publisher as poems “of emotional weather, often wry, sometimes caustic, frequently amusing.” In this, his first full-length collection, “It is clear that when his poems do bulk up, there is a cumulative power and plangency to be had, more than any single poem could possibly offer.”

The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote

Elaine Weiss ’73

New York: Viking/Penguin Press, 2018)
In her second book of narrative history, the author provides a stirring history of women’s long journey to suffrage and political influence. As Publisher’s Weekly noted in giving the book a starred review: “Remarkably entertaining ... a timely examination of a shining moment in the ongoing fight to achieve a more perfect union.” The book is dedicated to the author’s beloved friend, Natalie Babbitt.


Stacey Himmelberger

Editor, Hamilton Magazine

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