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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. 


Mike Barlow ’75, Learning to Love Data Science (Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly Media, 2015). As one reviewer noted: “Not limited to a specific type of analytics, or software applications, or the deprecated term ‘Big Data,’ (t)his collection of essays touches on the emerging Industrial Internet, the worldwide Maker Movement, fading divisions between software and hardware … and pervasive issues such as data security and governmental regulation.” The author is an award-winning journalist, author and communications strategy consultant. 

Tom Booth ’06 (illustrator), Derek Jeter Presents Night at the Stadium (New York: Aladdin/Simon and Schuster, 2016). When a young boy gets separated from his family after a game at Yankee Stadium, he discovers a secret world where everything from the bats and balls to the hot dogs comes to life. Described as “an enchanting combination of Night at the Museum and Alice in Wonderland — with a little bit of Field of Dreams thrown in for good measure,” this picture book (endorsed by sports icon Derek Jeter) combines the talents of the illustrator and New York Times best-selling author Phil Bildner. Booth is a senior digital producer at Scholastic, Inc.

John Christopher ’83, The Christmas Village and Other Tales of the Magic and Memories of Christmas (Denver: Outskirts Press, 2015). This charming collection of holiday short stories is filled with family, humor and nostalgia. “Magical snow, a Dickensian village come-to-life and a Shakespearean garden all lend a sense of joy and wonder to these 14 tales, not unlike the feelings experienced by a child on Christmas morning,” wrote one reviewer. The author is vice president and general counsel at Monmouth University in New Jersey. 

David Davis ’84, Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015). Swimmer, surfer and Olympic gold medalist, Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968) emerged from the backwaters of Waikiki, Hawaii, to become America’s first superstar swimmer. What’s more, this “human fish” used his fame to popularize the sport of surf-riding. The author of three other books, Davis’ writings have appeared in such publications as Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, The New York Times and The Best American Sports Writing anthology.

George “G.R.” Dixon ’63, Saguaro Shade: Collected Poems, Stories and Essays. (Lulu.com, 2015). The author’s collected works in literature and fiction, with the exception of his novels, Fiddler Crabbe and Thinker, reflect on the people, places, events and things he holds dear. Dixon began publishing his writing following his retirement from a long career in government service.

Bruce Goldstone ’84, I See a Pattern Here (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2015). Using colorful photos of everyday objects from beehives to cars, Goldstone reveals the secrets behind patterns and gives readers some fun ideas for making their own. “Children are introduced to a wide variety of concepts: math-related ones, such as symmetry and reflection, as well as those that are tied to specific cultures — African mud cloths or the Pantheon’s dome in Rome,” noted School Library Journal. The author, a textbook writer, has written and illustrated several books for children.

Nathan Goodale, associate professor of anthropology (co-editor), Lithic Technological Systems and Evolutionary Theory (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015). According to the book’s introduction: “Stone tool analysis relies on a strong background in analytical and methodological techniques. However, lithic technological analysis has not been well integrated with a theoretical approach to understanding how humans procured, made and used stone tools. Evolutionary theory has great potential to fill this gap.” These essays combine differing evolutionary perspectives to demonstrate how lithic technological systems are a byproduct of human behavior.

Maurice Isserman, the Publius-Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History, Continental Divide: A History of American Mountaineering (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2016). In many ways, the story of American mountaineering mirrors the story of America itself. “The Rockies and Tetons pulled us westward toward Manifest Destiny; the Catskills and Appalachians stirred the transcendentalists; and Yosemite inspired the early environmental conservationists,” noted the author, who takes readers through four centuries of landmark climbs while tracing the evolving social, cultural and political roles mountains played in shaping the country.

Phil Jamison ’76, Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2015). From cakewalks to clogging, and from the Shoo-fly Swing to the Virginia Reel, this book explores the history behind an essential aspect of Appalachian culture. Jamison traces these dances from their roots in earlier European, African-American and Native American traditions to the present day. A nationally known old-time musician, flatfoot dancer and square-dance caller, the author teaches Appalachian music and dance, as well as mathematics, at Warren Wilson College.

Harry Kopp ’65, The Voice of the -Foreign Service: A History of the American Foreign Service Association (Washington, D.C.: American Foreign Service Association, 2015). In this book, the first to chronicle the 90-year evolution of the Foreign Service and its professional association and labor union, the author explores the early history of diplomacy, from Benjamin Franklin to the Rogers Act of 1924 and the Foreign Service Acts of 1946 and 1980, following the evolution of the Foreign Service and the association into the 21st century. Kopp served as a Foreign Service officer from 1967 to 1985.

Scott MacDonald, visiting professor of art history, Binghamton Babylon: Voices from the Cinema Department, 1967-1977 (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 2015). The author examines how the development of a cinema department at the State University of New York at Binghamton, now Binghamton University, “brought together a group of faculty and students who not only produced a remarkable body of films and videos but went on to invigorate the American media scene for the next half-century.” Included is an analysis of such films as Larry Gottheim’s Horizons; Ernie Gehr’s Serene Velocity; Hollis Frampton’s Critical Mass; Ken Jacobs’ Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son; and Nicholas Ray’s We Can’t Go Home Again.

Russell Marcus, assistant professor of philosophy (co-editor), An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics: A Reader (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2016). This collection of primary sources from ancient and modern philosophy connects major ideas of ancient thinkers with those of their contemporaries. “Plato famously insisted that no one gets into his academy who is ignorant of geometry. Today we should insist that no one gets out of the academy who is ignorant of the philosophy of mathematics. This book will greatly help in that regard,” noted one reviewer.

Heather Merrill, professor of Africana studies (co-editor), Spaces of Danger: Culture and Power in the Everyday (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015). Twelve essays by geographers and anthropologists present a critical understanding of geographer and social scientist Allan Pred’s groundbreaking concept of “situated ignorance.” According to one reviewer: “The book is trans-disciplinary in the best sense of the word, moving between a wide range of contemporary conflicts, from militant Muslim groups in Nigeria and the Shanghai World Expo to European racisms and the cultural and political logics of drone attacks.”

Bud Mikhitarian ’66, Many Faces One Voice: Secrets from The Anonymous People (Las Vegas: Central Recovery Press, 2015). According to Publishers Weekly, “Mikhitarian provides a thoughtful, empathetic look at the disease of substance addiction and the redemption of recovery in this tome, which follows his 2013 documentary on the same subject.” All of those interviewed, including former Miss U.S.A. Tara Conner, former U.S. Congressman Jim Ramstad and journalist Laurie Dhue, share a commitment to overcoming alcohol or drug dependency and a desire to help others do the same. The author is an award-winning writer, producer and director in broadcast news, film documentaries and web programs.

Steve Orlando ’08, Midnighter (New York: DC Entertainment, 2015). In this ongoing comic book series, the author introduces the first gay male lead under the DC or Marvel Comics title. According to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s Orlando’s first major superhero project, but if his creator-owned Image series Undertow from last year is any indication, readers can expect big ideas, nuanced characters and plenty of action (sexy and otherwise) from his work on Midnighter with artist Aco and colorist Romulo Fajardo, Jr.”

Steve Orlando ’08, VIRGIL (New York: House Spirit Press, 2015). Winner of IGN’s best graphic novel of 2015 and a host of other awards, this crime noir is described, at its base, as “a familiar tale of a man, ripped from his loved one, who fights through insurmountable odds and endless punishment in the attempt to see that same loved one returned. At its core, though, it’s a ‘queersploitation’ tale of identity, love and the strength that comes from both. It’s a powerful read and one that beats its way into your consciousness with surprising force.” Orlando collaborated with illustrator J.D. Faith, colorist Chris Beckett and letterer/designer Victor Ochoa.

Ted Parrish ’86 (co-writer), How to Play the Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus (Asheville, N.C.: Native Ground, 2015). The title may sound silly, but this easy-to-read guide, complete with a CD, is full of useful information for the ukulele novice and expert alike. Along with Wayne Erbsen, a professor of music at Warren Wilson College, Parrish presents a history of the ukulele, tips on how to select an instrument and lessons on tuning, strumming and how to play melody and back up. Parrish, a music instructor and performer, and his wife own Parrish Music in rural Wisconsin.

S. Brent Plate, visiting associate professor of religious studies (editor), Key Terms in Material Religion (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). In this volume of essays, international scholars examine how obvious and obscure keywords figure prominently in understanding the materiality of religion. Each key term uses case studies and is accompanied by an object, practice, space or site. In 2014, Plate authored A History of Religion in 5 1/2 Objects: Bringing the Spiritual to Its Senses.

Danforth Prince ’75 (co-author), Bill & Hillary: So This Is That Thing Called Love (New York: Blood Moon Productions, 2015). This book explores the lives of Bill and Hillary Clinton as individuals and as a couple. “As much as it contains gossip, scandal and biographical sketches, it also delves deeply into the news and politics of its times, presenting enough historical background to fully explore the underlying controversies affecting the Clinton family and their choices,” noted one reviewer. This is the latest exposé that Prince, formerly of the Paris bureau of The New York Times, has co-authored with Darwin Porter (others covered the Kennedys and the Reagans).

Thomas B. Roberts ’61 (co-editor), The Psychedelic Policy Quagmire: Health, Law, Freedom and Society (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2015). This collection of essays covers the science and history of psychedelic drugs and their use in medicine, religion and truth-seeking, as well as the public and government policies that regulate them. “This important book will reinvigorate discussions about the meaning and value of psychedelic drugs at a time when new research is showing great promise,” a reviewer wrote. Roberts is professor emeritus of educational psychology at Northern Illinois University. 

Lucy Saunders ’81, Dinner in the Beer Garden (Wheatland, Iowa: F&B Communications, 2013). The author’s latest cookbook is for people who “enjoy carrots and kale, but also love beer, cheese and chocolate.” According to the author, “My goal in writing the cookbook is to focus on pairing beer with fresh-grown food. People are growing vegetables at home, buying fresh produce at farmers’ markets, participating in community-supported agriculture, enjoying Meatless Mondays, so it’s good to show what can be done with beer pairings.” Saunders is the author of four cookbooks about beer.

Rodney B. Sangster ’64, Reinventing Structuralism: What Sign Relations Reveal about Consciousness (Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton, 2013). According to the publisher, “This monograph argues that the structuralist movement in linguistics was curtailed prematurely, before its contribution to cognitive science could be fully realized. Reviving it with what we know today provides new insights into the structure of consciousness.” The author is a former professor of Slavic linguistics at Indiana University, Bloomington, and former director of European programs at the University of California’s Education Abroad Program.

Ruth Stevens K’72 (co-author), B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results (Chicago: Racom Communications, 2015). This concise and practical guide offers advice on how to implement business marketing plans and measure success using a data-driven approach. One reviewer noted: “If you thought you knew B2B database marketing, think again. [This book is] a veritable consulting guide on how to consider, develop, execute and evaluate B2B marketing in an age of technology and interactivity.” The author, who consults and teaches on customer acquisition and retention, has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis and IBM.

Jane Katz Summer K’76, Erebus (Little Rock, Ark.: Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). Through an innovative hybrid of prose, poetry, images, facts and figures, the author tells the story of a friend who was on an Air New Zealand sightseeing flight to view Antarctica in 1979 when the plane went missing. The book provides a look at “how we remember, why we forget and, most tenderly, how we can live in the past not as ghosts in regret but as preservationists.” Summer, formerly an editor at women’s magazines, is author of The Silk Road (2000), as well as short fiction and poetry.

Paul S. Sutter ’87, Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015). Using the story of a small state park and the human-induced environmental disaster that created it, the author, a professor of history at the University of Colorado in Boulder, recounts the larger issue of soil erosion and the history of conservation in America. A reviewer noted: “In this sweeping and powerful environmental tale, Paul Sutter uses Georgia’s Providence Canyon both as a cautionary tale and as an opportunity to explore soil science, geology, southern farming practices, misguided experts and boosters’ fantasies of marketing the mammoth gully as a lesser Grand Canyon.” 

Anne Thompson K’76, The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System (New York: Newmarket Press, 2014). What led to Hollywood’s record-breaking box office numbers in 2012 after two years of decline? That’s what the author, editor of the daily film blog “Thompson On Hollywood” and Indiewire, set out to uncover. She concludes, “The best movies get made because filmmakers, financiers, champions and a great many gifted creative people stubbornly ignore the obstacles. The question going forward is how adaptive these people are, and how flexible is the industry itself?”

Bob Ulbrich ’81, Awaken! A Guide to Becoming Conscious (Ringing Bell Press, 2015). “We spend most of our time sleepwalking, never realizing that we have control over what we experience. Conversely, our actions, while seemingly under our conscious control, are often dictated by our subconscious programming,” noted the author, who leads readers through an exploration into their deepest selves. Using concrete examples, ideas and exercises, Ulbrich provides tips for “waking up to the fact that what you experience is essentially a dream,” and offers ideas about how to awaken. The author is a veterinarian and ordained minister.

Peter Weltner ’64, Late Summer Storm in Early Winter (Seattle: Marrowstone Press, 2015). This generous volume of Weltner’s lyric poetry and Galen Garwood’s striking images intertwines the ancient seamlessly with the present. In it, the poet “draws meticulous images of our dilemma — the unpredictable flare-ups of love and the body … Garwood’s artwork — abstract and photographic — provides an accompanying and erotic reverie of color and figure.”

Peter Weltner ’64, Stone Altars (Baltimore: BrickHouse Books, 2015). In this collection of poetry, the author explores fundamental questions never to be answered, including those focused on “mortality, the brevity of all human life, but particularly of youth, the tragic beauty of the world, love’s pain and beneficence, the call to compassion.” Accompanying his words are stunning black-and-white photos by Nathan Wirth.

Peter Weltner ’64, Water’s Eye (Seattle: Marrowstone Press, 2015). This slim volume of six long poems, the inspiration for which was provided by its accompanying enigmatic photos by artist Galen Garwood, offers “a creative collaboration both mythic and contemporary, charged with illuminated metaphors of sea and light and longing.” 

Peter Whittlesey ’01, Memoirs of a Battle Mage Book 1: The Price of Talent (Amazon Digital Services, 2015). This coming-of-age fantasy — and the author’s first novel — features an orphaned hero, a teenage romance, an evil church-governing body, dwarves, an intelligent wisecracking sidekick and a talking sword. Although these elements may not come as a surprise to readers of this genre, what is refreshing is the narration as a memoir. One reviewer commented: “What could be more traditional? A young man coming of age discovers amazing powers in himself, powers which hold a promise of greatness. But the story line is well crafted, the mileau consistent and the characterizations solid.”

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Stacey Himmelberger

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