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 email@example.com or, preferably, send a copy of the book to Hamilton Alumni Review, Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323.
Undercurrents: From Oceanographer to University President
John Byrne ’51
(Corvallis, Ore.: Oregon State University Press, 2018).
This memoir traces the author’s life and career from his work as a geologist at an oil company, to his time as program director for oceanography at the National Science Foundation and later as the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to his presidency at Oregon State. He shares how the lessons learned in industry and government helped him guide the university through a period of severe budget restrictions. One chapter is devoted to his time at Hamilton.
Consuming Dance: Choreography and Advertising
Colleen T. Dunagan ’93
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).
The advertising industry has used dance to sell items long before iPods. The author, a professor of dance at California State University, Long Beach, presents an analysis of dance commercials to illustrate how the art form informs and reflects U.S. culture. One reviewer noted, “Written with playful enthusiasm, this book demonstrates how dance matters in contexts of commodities, marketplace, and the social lives of American consumption across three generations.”
Black Spaces: African Diaspora in Italy
Heather Merrill, professor of Africana studies
(New York: Routledge, 2018).
The author examines how, despite the intertwined histories of Africa and Europe, space and place remain racialized, impacting everyday experiences among African Italians, immigrants, and refugees. One reviewer praised Merrill for taking aim at “Italian common sense concerning race, while passionately foregrounding the lives of African migrants and Afro-Italians who daily navigate the deadly politics of exclusion.”
Poetry and Animals: Blurring the Boundaries with the Human
Onno Oerlemans, professor of literature
(New York: Columbia University Press, 2018).
The author considers dozens of poems from the Middle Ages to the present that reveal approaches to recognizing and valuing animals’ difference and similarity. In doing so, he demonstrates “how the forms and modes of poetry can sensitize us to the moral standing of animals and give us new ways to think through the problems of the human-animal divide.” On the cover is a photo of Oerlemans’ greyhound, Beloki.
A New Theory of Teenagers: Seven Transformational Strategies to Empower You and Your Teen
Christa M. Santangelo ’85
(New York: Hachette, 2018).
Drawing from 25 years of experience in both conventional psychology and alternative methods, the author offers advice for seeing the teen years as an opportunity for growth and positive relationship changes. Santangelo, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, asserts that “parents have a far greater impact on conflict with their teen than they may realize, metaphorically handing parents back the power to shift the situation to harmony.”
OOPS! Tales from a Sexpert
Writing under a pen name, Aviva Schneider K’76 shares commentary gleaned from 15 years of providing health education for her local Planned Parenthood. Many of her clients live in rural poverty, where generational teen parenting and large families are the norm. “Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always compelling and easily accessible, these stories provide a rare, intimate, entertaining, and eye-opening behind-the-scenes look into what informs people’s life choices, and a look at how sex and sexual health can be discussed comfortably and effectively.”
Woody Starkweather ’61
(Birch Tree Books, 2018).
The third book in the “Charles and Louise” series finds the senior secret agents embarking on a trip to the Netherlands, at the request of the U.S. president, to harass a terrorist cell living in a houseboat. The author, now retired from his career as a speech pathologist, has published some 50 articles and nine books including Stuttering, co-authored with his wife, Janet Givens, which made Choice magazine’s 1996 list of Best Academic Books.
The Class: A Life-Changing Teacher, His World-Changing Kids, and the Most Inventive Classroom in America
Heather Won Tesoriero ’96
(New York: Ballantine, 2018).
As a New York Times best-selling author noted: “A devoted teacher and his driven students provide something like a perfect picture of what it means to be human: striving with a noble purpose, failing with resilience, and always finding humor and humanity even in the face of tremendous pressure. Both teacher and students will surely teach you many things, but perhaps more important than the lessons is the sheer wonder inhabiting these pages.” The author has worked as an Emmy-winning producer for CBS News and as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Time, and Newsweek.
The Dollar-a-Year Detective
William Wells ’67
(Sag Harbor, N.Y.: Permanent Press, 2018).
Former Chicago homicide detective Jack Starkey is lured out of retirement on Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast when two dead bodies are found shot execution-style aboard a sailboat drifting in the sound. Little does he realize that his leisurely lifestyle will now include an investigation involving offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, corrupt state politicians, a Russian oligarch, and the angry father of a boy who’s not getting much Little League playing time.
Introduction to Formal Logic with Philosophical Applications
Russell Marcus, associate professor of philosophy
New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). This book not only provides an introduction to formal deductive logic; it also presents essays on logic and its application in philosophy and beyond. The goal is to integrate writing into what is traditionally a course on strictly formal (i.e., mathematical) methods in philosophy: formal symbolic logic.
Marcus said he was frustrated with the results of his logic teaching, noting that his students knew how to do their truth tables, translations, and proofs, but generally had little idea of why they were doing them. “I started putting aside some time in the course to talk about the philosophical motivations for doing logic, why we were teaching this ‘math-y’ course in philosophy and how professional philosophers use or presuppose formal logic in their work,” he said.
The result was what came to be known as “Philosophy Fridays” — biweekly sessions in which students were asked to choose a topic for further research and writing. “Every student in my logic course writes a philosophy paper on the connection between logic and other areas of philosophy,” Marcus said.