Bookshelf: Summer 2014
As a kid, Kipp Friedman ’82, ’84 hung out with some pretty amazing folks — literati, artists, athletes, actors, gangsters, pop-culture icons — all of whom were friends, frenemies, or acquaintances of his father, the celebrated novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and satirist Bruce Jay Friedman. Kipp’s quirky childhood memoir, Barracuda In The Attic: A Memoir by the Latest Member of a Comedic Dynasty (Fantagraphics Books), includes many anecdotes about the places he traveled and the celebrities he met. “My father taught me never to feel out of place or intimidated by people,” Friedman writes, “no matter how famous they were.” But it’s also an affectionate and charming remembrance of quieter family moments, boyhood camaraderies, and growing up Jewish in New York within a clan of creative types. His brother Drew is a cartoonist and illustrator who created the cover illustration; brother Josh, a writer and musician, wrote the afterword; father Bruce Jay provided the foreword; and plenty of fun family photos adorn the pages. Today Friedman is a photographer, writer, and public relations professional in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
What do a countess, peasant, professor, and ambassador have in common? In Champions for Peace: Women Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize (Rowman and Littlefield), readers learn from Judith Hicks Stiehm ’57 that these women and the other recipients share what the author summarizes as “optimism, persistence, and a willingness to be scorned, derided, even jailed.” Stiehm is a professor of political science at Florida International University, where she recently earned its highest honor: the Worlds Ahead Faculty Award. She was a recent distinguished visiting professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, serves on the Council on Foreign Relations and the board of visitors of the UW’s Department of Political Science, and was a 2006 winner of WAA’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Poet Joseph Baldi Acosta MA’70’s debut collection, My Life in Metaphor (AuthorHouse), incorporates a full range of poetic forms and portrays, as he says, “one man’s life journey.” He seeks to “bring the reader with me on a journey of reflection and self-discovery that celebrates life and rejects hate, intolerance, and the devastating consequences of violence.” The Clarion Review calls him a “master of juxtaposition.” In 2003, Baldi Acosta, of Rockville, Maryland, concluded a long career with the federal government, which included stints with the Public Health Service, the Agency for International Development, and the Peace Corps. In recent years, he’s turned to producing award-winning creative writing and poetry.
Have you heard of C.H. Thordarson — an Icelandic immigrant, largely self-taught, who became an eminent electrical inventor and industrialist of the early twentieth century? Or, have you heard of his library — a collection that became the basis for the rare-books collection at UW–Madison? He also developed a most unusual estate on Rock Island, Wisconsin, which became a state park in 1964. You can read about this amazing man in Richard Purinton ’70’s fourth book, Thordarson and Rock Island (Island Bayou Press). The author also resides on an island — Wisconsin’s Washington Island — where he’s served as ferry captain and manager for the Washington Island Ferry line.
George Goens PhD’73 of Litchfield, Connecticut, has published two books recently, and they’re very different from each other. The first, The Promise of Living (Turning Stone Press), is a memoir about losing his daughter (a 1993 UW graduate) during the birth of his second grandchild. The second, Straitjacket: How Overregulation Stifles Creativity and Innovation in Education (Rowman and Littlefield), addresses education reform and the implications of regulation. Goens is an educator, speaker, and leadership consultant who served as a Wisconsin superintendent of schools for fifteen years.
In Irrationality in Healthcare: What Behavioral Economics Reveals about What We Do and Why (Stanford University Press), Doug Hough MS’75, PhD’76 uses a behavioral economics lens to discuss some key contradictions in health care: seemingly irrational consumer choices, incongruous provider behavior, and the long-lived debate surrounding reform. Hough is an associate scientist and associate director of the Master of Healthcare Administration Program at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
Mounting evidence indicates that exposure to chemical, biological, physical, and societal hazards during children’s developmental “windows of susceptibility” can trigger cellular changes that lead to disease during childhood and beyond. In the Textbook of Children’s Environmental Health (Oxford University Press), Ruth Etzel MD’80 addresses what medicine knows about this emerging discipline and what it knows about prevention. The author is a professor of epidemiology at UW-Milwaukee’s Zilber School of Public Health.
The Peace-Athabasca Delta in northern Alberta, Canada, is a globally significant wetland that lies within one of the largest unfragmented landscapes in North America. It’s also a central feature of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s renowned for its biological productivity. But the delta is in grave danger because it lies downstream of Alberta’s bitumen sands, whose exploration — or exploitation, depending on your perspective — is one of the largest industrial projects in the world. In The Peace-Athabasca Delta: Portrait of a Dynamic Ecosystem (University of Alberta Press), Kevin Timoney MS’80 blends twenty-plus years’ worth of research into a history, a current analysis, and a prognosis for the area’s uncertain future. He’s an ecologist and teacher in Ardrossan, Alberta.
12 Years a Slave put the story of Solomon Northup — a free black man from New York who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841 — on the big screen (to the delight of the Academy), and it’s the story that John Radanovich ’85 writes about in Taken: How Friendship Saved a Man from Slavery (Radanovich Publications), the culmination of fourteen years of research. Lost to his family, Northup endured beatings, spent twelve years in a slave cabin, and was once saved at the very moment when he was to be hanged. Eventually liberated by a white childhood friend, Northup helped to write his life’s story as Twelve Years a Slave. Radanovich lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.
You probably ponder this from time to time: Are You Sleepwalking Through Your Life? It’s a critical question and the title of Ellyn Ludden ’86’s new work, published by Hoosier Books. Using her experience as the founder and chief visionary officer of Team Summit in Indianapolis, she guides readers to find their lives’ possibilities and to make conscious decisions to be aware — awake! — in order to live with purpose. Ludden and her staff at Team Summit offer executive coaching, customized teambuilding, motivational speaking, and leadership-development programs.
If your love of the gridiron extends beyond Camp Randall to Lambeau Field, you’ll want to check out Rob Reischel ’91’s Packers Pride: Green Bay Greats Share Their Favorite Memories (Triumph Books), written with former Packer defensive back LeRoy Butler. You can relive the glory of unforgettable moments, enjoy heartwarming stories, and pore over interviews with players, coaches, and staff. Reischel has covered the Pack for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Packer Plus since 2001 and has garnered twelve Wisconsin Newspaper Association awards.
Christine Finlayson MS’94 worked in the environmental field for several years, but she eventually concluded that her heart was in writing. She’s since had a successful freelance career in nonfiction and science writing and now returns to her early love of fiction with her debut mystery novel, Tip of a Bone (Adventure Publications). Finlayson says it took “thirteen trips to the Oregon coast, a movie-theater bomb scare, and boatloads of coffee” — plus a firm grounding in water science from UW-Madison — to research the fast-paced story about buried bones, a missing eco-activist, a deadly arson fire, and a young woman racing to clear her brother of these crimes. Finlayson is also a triathlete, nature photographer, and beach lover in Portland, Oregon.
Karl Wolff ’00 tackles a very big topic in On Being Human: Critical Looks at Books and Movies That Examine the Question of Humanity (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [CCLaP]). The work examines the projects — from the highbrow to the lowbrow — of fifteen artists who have grappled with this idea of the essence of humanity over the centuries, and presents a set of perceptions that’s sure to expose the reader to some novel stuff. Wolff is a cultural essayist, staff writer, and associate editor for CCLaP and a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
Are the genders inequitably represented in the media? Unfortunately, but definitely, concludes Cory Armstrong MA’01, PhD’04 in the work she’s edited, Media Disparity: A Gender Battleground (Lexington Books). Contributors to the book examine the latest research in discourse and content analyses of what’s trending in both U.S. and international circles and find that the portrayal of women has changed little in the past thirty-five years. Armstrong is an associate professor and the graduate coordinator in the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville.
Looking for a “twisted, but strangely comical” mystery/adventure novel that blends murder, corruption, state senators on the run from the governor, the Mob, tropical birds, badgers, a tornado, and a wacky, small-town-Wisconsin news crew? Look no further than Aaron Shaffer ’06’s Badger Lake (CreateSpace). When he’s not writing, the author is a TV meteorologist with the cable weather channel WeatherNation in Minneapolis.
The Blood Born (Carps Tale) is a labor of love and learning for — full disclosure: a former WAA staffer — Andrew Carpenter ’10. It’s the inaugural novel in his Blood Saga of the North fantasy trilogy, in which angels, centaurs, dwarves, and giants have fought and died for the riches of their land and must now face the invasion of humans. The good news? Their secret weapon is a race of winged warriors. While writing the rest of the trilogy, Carpenter is a business-processes consultant at Eagle Datagistics in St. Petersburg, Florida; he’s earning a master’s degree in organizational psychology; and he’s seeking just the right sailboat to live aboard.
Based on nearly three decades of fieldwork, The Worlds of Russian Village Women (University of Wisconsin Press), co-authored by Laura Olson ’98, follows three generations of Russian women as they preserve, discard, and rework the cultural traditions of their forebears to accommodate their changing needs and self-perceptions. The book has earned the 2013 Chicago Folklore Prize — the oldest and most prestigious international book award in folklore studies — as well as the Eli Köngäs-Maranda Prize for folklore studies of women. Olson is an associate professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Annabelle and the Sandhog (CreateSpace) is Raymond Paul ’58’s fictional memoir, which follows three generations of O’Malley men through the first seventy-five years of the twentieth century. Recovering from a stroke with the compassionate aid of his caretaker, Annabelle, grandfather John begins to record stories about his life as a sandhog — the dangerous, underground occupation of blasting bedrock to excavate the foundations of some of the nation’s great buildings. Seeing his improvement, John’s son and grandson begin to tell their own stories as a means to weather their own crises. The author’s wife, JoMarie Moerschel Paul ’58, has edited all six of his books. The couple lives in Rockford, Illinois.
Why did American pioneers and Native American tribes fight so many wars — at least forty — between the 1780s and 1877? This question is what drives Roger Nichols MS’59, PhD’64’s Warrior Nations: The United States and Indian Peoples (University of Oklahoma Press). Examining eight of these conflicts, he argues that they were wars of U.S. aggression as the nation expanded and took newcomers into areas occupied by militarized Native communities that stood ready to defend themselves. Nichols is a professor emeritus of history and an affiliate professor in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Madisonian Franklynn Peterson ’60 writes, “I’m trying to put down on paper what it was I did with my life and why I did it,” and the avenue for this self-exploration is his memoir, Whitey Joins the Revolution (CreateSpace). Peterson tells of his time in New York City, where the provocative, pro bono photos of poverty that he took for the Brooklyn Congress of Racial Equality led him to begin his activist photojournalism in earnest — at many times putting himself in danger to document the civil-rights movement for publications nationwide and in Europe. Peterson’s work has won many awards and has hung in galleries coast to coast.
Montana State University Professor Emeritus Jack Jelinski ’67, PhD’74 has written Water Like the Soul of an Angel (Howling Loon Press), an illustrated collection of poetry celebrating his response to his personal “call of the wild.” It includes tragedy, comedy, love, reminiscence, and outdoor places — the work of a poet who’s also an “old fisherman.” A second book, Poems for Intelligent Children with a Sense of Humor (CreateSpace), is a collaboration between Jelinski and his son Adam: a world of rhyme and illustration that’s magical, poignant, and funny. Jelinski lives in Bozeman, Montana, “never more than an arm’s length from his fly rod.”
Following her recent retirement from a career in elementary education, Laurie Rubin ’69 of Ithaca, New York, has turned to writing. Her book, To Look Closely: Science and Literacy in the Natural World (Stenhouse Publishers), invites readers to join her former second-grade class as it visits a small stream in the woods. Offering a foundation of inquiry-based thinking for the classroom, Rubin suggests study units that weave the skills acquired through nature observation throughout the curriculum. She avers that such study can help students to become keen observers, conscientious environmental stewards, and stronger scientists, readers, writers, and mathematicians in the process.
Life will never be the same in Newtown, Connecticut, following the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but dozens of local organizations stepped up — or were established — to help following the tragedy. Freelance writer and communications consultant Sharon Cohen ’71 is a thirty-year resident who’s created a compilation of those groups in Newtown: Moving Forward, A Community Faces the Future after Adversity (Publishing Express). All profits go to the town’s Lions Club to help fund counseling services. “No one can imagine the many challenges that present themselves beyond dealing with the trauma,” she says, “all for a town of twenty-seven thousand.”
Is an alumni magazine allowed to use the word batshit ? What if it’s part of the title of Allen Woppert ’77’s comedic, young-adult novel and refers to a fictional Illinois town? Well, here goes: Woppert has written The War on Science Goes Batshit (CreateSpace), the story of a teen genius and science geek who dares to question his teacher’s refusal to teach evolution. He figures that if his teacher won’t do it, then he and his Science Club pals will — with dramatic, far-reaching, and sometimes hilarious results. Woppert lives in Berlin, Germany, where he’s been a prolific writer and educational publisher.
In A Death in San Pietro: The Untold Story of Ernie Pyle, John Huston, and the Fight for Purple Heart Valley (Da Capo Press), Tim Brady ’79 chronicles how Pyle, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; filmmaker Huston; and Allied soldiers made their way through southern Italy in the winter of 1943 to seize control of Axis land. Subsequent prose by Pyle and an award-winning documentary film by Huston depicted World War II in ways that riveted and shocked those back home as little had before. Brady, of St. Paul, Minnesota, contributes regularly to PBS history documentaries and writes for the History Channel Magazine,Minnesota, and Minnesota Monthly.
Cambridge University Press has published Elizabeth Schmidt MA’82, MA’83, PhD’87’s Foreign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror, in which she posits that external interests and foreign intervention have altered the dynamics of Africa’s internal struggles and escalated local conflicts into larger battles — with devastating consequences for African peoples. Her chapter titled “Africa” has also appeared in The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War. Schmidt is a professor of African history at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
Questioning Martin Heidegger: On Western Metaphysics, Bhuddhist Ethics, and the Fate of the Sentient Earth (University Press of America) provides new avenues for thought about an oft-overlooked text by philosopher Heidegger — his Overcoming Metaphysics — and offers a new perspective on his controversial relationship with Nazism and the Holocaust. Author and independent scholar Eric Meyer MA’87, PhD’91 is a former assistant professor who has spent the past twenty years studying Overcoming Metaphysics.
First came Cocaine Zombies, and now comes its sequel in the Samuel Roberts Thriller series, Ruler of Demons. Scott Lerner ’89 and Camel Press have published a new, fictional tale about three nuns across the globe who have been killed in religious-ritual fashion, suggesting that the murderer is following a recipe from an ancient text that will take the life of a fourth nun imminently and unleash the forces of hell on earth. Samuel Roberts, an attorney in Urbana, Illinois, happens to know a thing or two about conquering the supernatural, so he embarks on halting the impending apocalypse. Lerner is an attorney in Champaign, Illinois. Coincidence … or not?
In the midst of the national conversation — and conflict — about health care, (Bernard) Gene Beyt, Jr. MS’90 has co-edited a series of essays called Wisdom Leadership in Academic Health Science Centers: Leading Positive Change (Radcliffe Publishing). He summarizes, “This book on leadership is all about how we, as leaders, can foster capacities that can help us, and our health care communities, to be our best selves, together.” Beyt is a visiting scholar in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Admit it: there are certain sciencey things that you think you really ought to be able to explain … but can’t. That’s where Larry Scheckel MS’92 — a retired, award-winning, Tomah [Wisconsin] High School teacher — comes in. He’d love to regale you with the 348 pages of refreshingly uncomplicated answers about earth science, astronomy, zoology, chemistry, physics, physiology, technology, music, and more that he offers in Ask a Science Teacher: 250 Answers to Questions You’ve Always Had about How Everyday Stuff Really Works — A Fun and Easy Way to Get Smarter! (The Experiment Publishing).
Desegregating Desire: Race and Sexuality in Cold War American Literature (University Press of Mississippi) examines the strategies used by eight American poets and novelists to blend sexuality into their depictions of desegregated places and emerging postwar identities. Author Tyler Schmidt ’93 organizes the work around four pairs of writers to study reimagined domestic places, the postwar American city, non-normative sexualities, and damaged desires. He concludes that desegregation was both a racial and sexual phenomenon, as well as a public and private one. Schmidt is an assistant professor of English at Lehman College in Bronx, New York.
The new book by Gabriel Osner Solis ’93, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (Oxford University Press), studies one of the most important but rarely documented collaborations in modern jazz and provides a way to view jazz as both a historical tradition and a contemporary cultural form. Solis is an associate professor of music, African-American studies, and anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The late Gellu Naum was one of Romania’s most important poets and a key figure in the Surrealist movement, yet he’s remained largely unknown to English-speaking readers — until now. Martin Woodside ’95 of Philadelphia is pleased to share an English and Romanian bilingual collection of some of Naum’s best work, Athanor & Other Pohems (Calypso Editions), of which he’s the translator.
David Hahn MS’97 contends that, contrary to the opinion of some, asthma can be cured. It’s the subject of his controversial new book, A Cure for Asthma? What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You — and Why (People’s Pharmacy Press), in which he advocates a prolonged antibiotic treatment using azithromycin. While many asthma specialists don’t believe that infection may be a treatable cause of the asthma, Hahn presents the scientific evidence and intriguing case histories that have led to his conclusion that it is. He’s a former clinical professor, a practitioner at Dean Medical Center in Madison, and a founding member and the current director of the Wisconsin Research and Education Network in the UW’s School of Medicine and Public Health.
State failure is a key challenge to international peace and security, yet solid theories about its causes have remained elusive. Lawrence Markowitz MA’00, PhD’05 changes that. Drawing on his extensive fieldwork in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, he puts forth a theory in State Erosion: Unlootable Resources and Unruly Elites in Central Asia (Cornell University Press). One reviewer notes that the work “offers helpful guidance to scholars and policymakers about the determinants of state fragility and survival worldwide.” Markowitz is an assistant professor of political science at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.
In the Himalayan foothills of northeast India, Darjeeling is synonymous with some of the most expensive tea in the world. It’s also home to a violent movement for regional autonomy. In The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (University of California Press), Sarah Besky MA’06, PhD’12 challenges fair-trade policy and practice, showing how such initiatives often fail to consider the larger forces that shape the lives of the people they intend to support. The author is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, as well as a postdoctoral scholar in the Michigan Society of Fellows.
Published in the Summer 2014 issue