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Bookshelf


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 shimmelb@hamilton.edu or, preferably, send a copy of the book to Hamilton Alumni Review, Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323. 


Ashton Applewhite ’74, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto against Ageism. (Networked Books, 2016). “Writing in a crisp, vivid and witty style, Applewhite shows us how and why our culture’s preoccupation with — and deification of — youth has resulted in society-wide fear and dread of life’s later years, which are actually filled with potential and opportunity for growth,” notes the Los Angeles Review of Books. Applewhite is also author of Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well.

Clay Swartz (author), Tom Booth ’06 (illustrator), Who Wins?: 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner! (New York: Workman, 2016). The authors ask: “Let’s say Charles Dickens challenges Mother Teresa to a light saber duel — they’re both equally fit, so will his superior artistry overcome her advantage in bravery and leadership?” By mixing and matching 100 historical figures in 50 categories, from playing Ping-Pong to climbing Mount Everest, the book’s creators turn history (and learning) into a compelling game. Swartz is associate editor at Boys’ Life magazine; Booth is an artist at Scholastic, Inc.

Terry Brooks ’66, The Defenders of Shannara: The Sorcerer’s Daughter (New York: Del Rey, 2016). The third book in the prolific author’s latest series takes readers again into the Shannara universe where mysterious, magic-wielding Druids are struggling to be understood and accepted, especially after an unidentified demon’s rampage at a peace summit leaves political opponents dead. A fellow bestselling New York Times author notes, “Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading.”

Geoffrey Brown ’63, What Does That Stand For? Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Initialisms for Organizations (Taconic, Conn.: Between the Lakes Group, 2016). If you’ve ever run across an acronym for an organization but were at a loss for what it stands for, this is the resource for you. (By the way, the first-known acronym dates to circa 80 BC. It’s SPQR or Senatus Populesque Romanus, the combined state and populous of Rome.) The author is principal partner of Between the Lakes Group, which specializes in re-publication of out-of-copyright local history and other books.

Dru Dougherty ’65, In the Quick of Time: Poems (Bloomington, Ind.; Archway, 2016). “These verses speak of tensions that reflect the planet we all inhabit while they revel in art’s playful reordering of the found world,” notes a reviewer. “In keeping with the self’s mutability, the collection offers a variety of poetic forms, some as classic as the sonnet and others as contemporary as graphic verse.”

Jen Swann Downey ’87, The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks (Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, 2016). Second in the series, this novel “is about censorship, intellectual freedom and the hell of violence directed at writers throughout history. But funny! And for kids!” The book features a daring time-traveling apprentice who must stop the evil Foundation from enacting its dark plan to eliminate reading and writing from the world. The author’s nonfiction pieces have appeared in New York Magazine, the Washington Post and -Woman’s Day

Lara J. Handsfield ’91, Literacy Theory as Practice: Connecting Theory and Instruction in K-12 Classrooms (New York: Teachers College Press, 2015). This textbook introduces influential theories and models of reading and literacy, from behaviorism and early-information processing theories to social constructionist and critical theories, while illustrating how they both shape and are shaped by everyday literacy practices in classrooms. The author is associate professor of elementary education and literacy at Illinois State University.

Raj Gupta (author) and Syd Havely ’69 (contributor), Eight Dollars and A Dream: My American Journey (Lulu, 2016). This “warts and all story” tells how Raj Gupta, retired chairman and CEO of Rohm and Haas Co., overcame personal and professional challenges on the way to realizing his goals. Havely, who served as Gupta’s speechwriter and director of global issues management at Rohm and Haas, notes he was “honored and flattered he asked me to write his story.”

Harry Hutson ’69 and Martha Johnson, Navigating an Organizational Crisis: When Leadership Matters Most (Santa Barbara, Calif.: -Praeger, 2016). Drawing from social science research, interviews and decades of experience as executives in the public and private sectors, the authors explore how leaders excel under “rogue waves” or intense, unexpected pressure situations. Hutson, an independent consultant, teaches classes in executive education and in the M.B.A. program at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.

Matthew E. Kahn ’88 and Siqi Zheng. Blue Skies over Beijing: Economic Growth and the Environment in China (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2016). “China is an economic miracle and an environmental nightmare,” a fellow author and reviewer notes. “Kahn and Zheng show how the path to a cleaner, greener China lies with its cities. This is an important book on the connections between economic growth, the environment and urbanization.” Kahn is a professor of economics and spatial statistics at the University of Southern California.

Paul M. Kogut ’82, To Be a Trader (Mustang, Okla.: Tate, 2016). Intended as a “traveler’s guide,” this book offers tips on developing -individual trading plans and goals by explaining “the necessary development of psychological focus, risk management skills and how to successfully blend them into the basic principles of technical and fundamental analysis.” The author has been a commodity futures trader for over 40 years.

Wayne Mahood ’56, A Strenuous Day (Geneseo, N.Y.: Milne Library, 2015). The author traces the lives of his grandparents, Harve and Hattie England, a couple from Missouri caught up in the life-transforming period in history marked by a World War, a flu epidemic and the Great Depression. Mahood pieces together their story from diaries, letters, local records, newspapers and oral history, and shows how they navigated family, work and small-town politics, including a tragic event that occurred while Harve was serving as county sheriff.

David Nagel ’81, Needless Suffering: How Society Fails Those with Chronic Pain (Lebanon, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2016). Drawing on his own experience witnessing his mother’s chronic pain and numerous clinical stories from over 30 years as a physician specializing in pain management, the author shares strategies for creating “more effective and compassionate pain care.” Nagel is a member of the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy and serves on the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Judy Barnett Nauseef K’73, Gardening with Native Plants in the Upper Midwest: Bringing the Tallgrass Prairie Home (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2016). Through easy-to-follow tips and color photographs, the author, a professional landscape designer for more than 25 years, shares advice on sustainability, landscape design, deer resistant plants, wildflower meadows, and irrigation and plant management techniques.

Jason Oberholtzer ’08 (editor), The Hustle Economy: Transforming Your Creativity into a Career (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2016). Essays from 25 “founders, writers, producers, game makers, artists and creative types” lend insight into how to survive in the “gig economy” and live the freelance creative life. Oberholtzer shares his example as a content creator and strategist.

Robert A. Schultz ’69, From Both Ends of the Scalpel (Mustang, Okla.: Tate, 2015). After three decades as a surgeon, the author underwent open-heart surgery in 2010. Complications resulted in him emerging from the hospital with some fresh perspectives. One reviewer notes: “This prominent physician is sounding the alarm that healthcare, specifically the personal physician relationship, is under attack and disappearing in many instances.”

Don Spector ’57, Memories of a Mad Man: Stories from the Golden — and sometimes Tin-Plated — Age of advertising (CreateSpace, 2016). From his start as a junior copywriter at a Madison Avenue ad agency, the author went on to become vice president/creative director of BBDO/West. Spector, who credits much of his success to a “Freshman English comp course given by Professor Ed Barrett,” shares his funny, -fascinating and infuriating tales as a genuine “mad man.”

Amy Zhang ’18, This is Where the World Ends (New York: HarperCollins, 2016). In her second young adult novel, the author tells the story of Janie and Micah, high school friends who share a close yet complicated relationship. Using alternating, nonlinear chapters to tell Janie’s -perspective before “the incident” and Micah’s afterward — with Janie’s journal entries sprinkled throughout — Zhang paints a picture that leaves readers “left to decide for themselves whether this is a tragic love story or a psychological thriller.”

Contact Information


Stacey Himmelberger

Editor, Hamilton Alumni Review
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
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