Bookshelf: Fall 2013
Aldo Leopold is among the university’s most cherished citizens, but the late, visionary environmentalist and UW professor is perhaps the most important American thinker many people have never heard of. Curt Meine MS’83, PhD’88 of Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, wants to change that. He’s the editor of Leopold: A Sand County Almanac & Other Writings on Ecology and Conservation (Library of America), a large collection of Leopold’s essential contributions — some hard to find and others previously unpublished — gathered in a single volume for the first time. Meine serves as senior fellow for the Center for Humans and Nature and for the Aldo Leopold Foundation, as well as the on-screen guide for and contributor to the award-winning documentary Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time.
Nobody Asked the Pea is a deliciously illustrated picture book that cleverly retells Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea by giving everyone a say — even the pea! It’s John Warren Stewig ’58, MS’62, PhD’67’s eleventh work published by Holiday House. The Glendale, Wisconsin, author founded the Center for Children’s Literature at UW–Milwaukee, where he’s an emeritus professor, and has also published fourteen books for adults.
Christopher Kolenda MA’96 has written a most timely, in-depth, educational, and engaging work titled The Counterinsurgency Challenge: A Parable of Leadership and Decision Making in Modern Conflict (Stackpole Books). It blends storytelling, theory, history, and the lessons that he learned in the “crucible of combat” about the counterinsurgency challenges that modern armies face. Kolenda, of Bowie, Maryland, is a retired U.S. Army colonel who pioneered innovative approaches during his three tours of duty in Afghanistan and has provided critical input and leadership in policymaking. David Petraeus called him a “tactical genius and strategic thinker … [with] an unparalleled understanding of counterinsurgency principles.”
Caroline Beckett ’73, MA’77, MFA’78; Frank Sandner III ’74; and their Itchy Cat Press in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, have published a real gem: A Little More Line: A Kite’s View of Wisconsin & Beyond by Madison photographer Craig Wilson. This full-color photo book is replete with more than 230 images of iconic scenes around the Badger state and the Midwest, including many of the UW and Madison — all taken from a remote-controlled kite.
As the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1999 until 2011, Chief Chad “Corntassel” Smith MS’75 was instrumental in transforming his nation of three hundred thousand people from an organization in turmoil and disarray into a functional, progressive business/government entity. In Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation: Learn from All I Observe (McGraw-Hill), Smith details his leadership model, which is based on a traditional Cherokee prayer that encourages learning from different perspectives as the sun moves across the sky. Smith, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is also a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Moving from poetry to fiction, debut novelist Dale Kushner ’78 of Madison explores love in “all its bewitching and terrible aspects” and the “mechanisms of emotional survival” in The Conditions of Love (Grand Central Publishing). This three-part, coming-of-age tale begins in rural Wisconsin in 1953 and follows the fearless Eunice on her quiet, epic journey of making her way in the world — navigating great loves and losses, yet remaining determined to keep an open heart. Kushner is a core faculty member of the Assisi Institute, a Jungian think tank in Vermont.
Ed Pavlic II ’89, MA’92 is a distinguished scholar and one of the most prominent African-American poets publishing today, tracking American characters through situations “both mundane and momentous.” His latest collection is the musically infused Visiting Hours at the Color Line (Milkweed Editions), which was selected as a National Poetry Series award winner. Pavlic´ is an associate professor of English and director of the MFA/PhD program in creative writing at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Barrett Dowell ’98 of Portland, Oregon, is carrying on the work of his wife: librarian, lifelong writer, and first-time novelist Bridget Zinn ’99, MA’05, who died of colon cancer in May 2011. That work is promoting her young-adult novel — a “sweet rom-com of a fantasy that is great fun” called Poison (Hyperion/Disney) — which, by all accounts, would have been the start of a stellar career. As a library-studies student, Zinn worked at the UW’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center; in August 2012, the center’s director, KT (Kathleen) Horning ’80, MA’82, was instrumental in establishing the Bridget Zinn Film Festival as part of a middle-school literacy program.
Wisconsin was in the national and even international spotlight during the spring of 2011 and well beyond. That’s when a battle raged between organized-labor supporters and the state’s Republican governor over a provision to end most public-sector collective bargaining, ultimately sparking a recall election. More Than They Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions and the Fight for Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin Press), co-authored by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel state capitol reporter Jason (Dawdy) Stein MA’03, offers new, unbiased insights on the turmoil; sheds light on behind-the-scenes stories; and chronicles the unprecedented public and political maneuvers that played out.
Since retiring eleven years ago, Henry Fribourg ’49 has written a memoir of his life as a twelve-year-old French, Jewish boy who fled from occupied Europe in 1942. In Escape to Freedom: A Story of Survival, Dreams, Betrayals, and Accomplishments: How Mother Gave Us Life Twice (Kindle), Fribourg describes how his mother had had premonitions of the coming Holocaust and convinced his father to leave. The harrowing story that follows includes escaping machine-gun strafings and tank attacks; living in Vichy, France, and North Africa; being stopped by a U-boat while sailing to the refuge of Cuba; the murder of his grandparents; and his new life in America. Fribourg is a former pasture and beef cattle researcher and a University of Tennessee professor emeritus of crop ecology who lives in Knoxville.
Robert Swanson ’50 of Largo, Florida, was part of the UW’s largest freshman class — a world apart from his next experience as a Korean War air force intelligence officer. Then Swanson was transferred to the air force’s motion picture unit in Hollywood to work as a staff narrator, which eventually led him to form Swanson Productions, a firm that created promotional films for industry and government in fifty nations. One assignment took him to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, where, posing as a tourist, he shot scenes for an anti-Communist documentary — an action that nearly caused the KGB to arrest him as a spy. How it all turned out is the subject of Swanson’s book, The Russian Shoot (Xlibris).
Following a successful international career as a professor, writer, and speaker in the fields of reproduction physiology and animal breeding, Clayton O’Mary PhD’52 of Winfield, Alabama — at the age of ninety-two — has written Take the Bull by the Horns (Computer Fun). It’s a collection of ninety expressions of animal-related folk wisdom, their translations, and the lessons they’re meant to teach. Bucky Badger makes an appearance, and it contains blank pages where readers can draw or write their own families’ sayings. O’Mary’s sons edited, designed, and illustrated the book.
The Violin: A Social History of the World’s Most Versatile Instrument (W.W. Norton & Company) is an ode to the “life, times, and travels of a remarkable instrument and the people who have made, sold, played, and cherished it” over the last five centuries. Author David Schoenbaum ’55, MS’58 of Rockville, Maryland, contends that as a “sixteen-ounce package of polished wood, strings, and air, the violin is perhaps the most affordable, portable, and adaptable instrument ever created.” He adds that “there’s a lot of Wisconsin, and certainly a lot of Pro Arte Quartet” in his book. (The Pro Arte string quartet transferred permanently to Madison from Belgium in 1941.)
A pioneer, an ambassador, a novelty, and even a misfit: all of these have described Carol Blank Polis x’58, who, beginning in 1972, during the burgeoning women’s movement, became the world’s first female professional boxing judge. Polis has captured her fascinating experiences — sitting ringside judging the greats, appearing in Rocky V and on What’s My Line and To Tell the Truth, managing reactions from fans and colleagues, overcoming breast cancer, and being investigated by the FBI — in The Lady Is a Champ (Velocity Publishing Group). As you can imagine, Polis also books a lot of speaking engagements.
One of America’s foremost landscape architects was Jens Jensen (1860–1951): a Danish-born, visionary and pioneering conservationist who worked with some of America’s most prominent citizens and architects, was internationally renowned for his landscape designs (especially The Clearing in Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula), and was known for his emphasis on the significance of nature in our lives. So that his views will not be forgotten, UW professor emeritus of landscape architecture William Tishler ’60 of Madison has edited Jens Jensen: Writings Inspired by Nature (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), a collection of Jensen’s most significant, yet lesser-known articles. Tishler has also produced an award-winning documentary, Jens Jensen: A Natural History.
The foundation of The Idea of America: How Values Shaped Our Republic and Hold the Key to Our Future and its companion booklet, America: The Pocket Guide (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation), is the conviction that Americans share core civic values that are often in tension, and the debate surrounding these tensions is crucial for our democracy. Co-author H. (Harry) Michael Hartoonian MS’66, PhD’73 contends that if we understand how this debate has shaped our history, we can better balance our values, more civilly discuss the issues, and more readily find compromises. Hartoonian is a scholar in residence at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“I learned to love poring over historic documents and other primary-source materials as an undergraduate … Gangsterismo is the product of that love of intensive archival research that I learned as a young historian in Madison,” writes Jack (John) Colhoun ’68 about the eighteen years that he spent researching his book, Gangsterismo: The United States, Cuba, and the Mafia: 1933 to 1966 (OR Books). The Washington, D.C.-based author adds that he was interviewed in the 1979 documentary film The War at Home.
Lee (Leanora) Dreisinger Scheingold MA’68 married Stuart Scheingold in 1968, and the couple moved to the other UW — in Washington state — the next year. Stuart was an eminent political science professor, and Lee had a career as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. After Stuart died three years ago, Lee completed One Silken Thread: Poetry’s Presence in Grief (Quid Pro Books), a lyrical book about her mourning and “how poetry, psychoanalysis, and Buddhist meditation helped me.” One reviewer opines that the author “has done something extraordinary, linking the truly academic with the truly personal in a way that is neither forced and pedantic nor nostalgic and cloying. It is, in short, real.”
The Thousand Year Journey of Tobias Parker (Avian Press) is the tale of a failed San Francisco screenwriter that’s written by Terry Tarnoff ’70 — a successful San Francisco screenwriter, among many other vocations and avocations. In the book, Parker discovers that every family is here on earth to accomplish a particular task before it can take its place in a kind of celestial jigsaw puzzle. As he seeks to fulfill his own family’s destiny, he creates havoc, confronts the devil, and ponders some nearly imponderables, leaving a clue for the rest of us about the meaning of life.
The California Gold Rush of 1849 was an exciting time in America — one when Lena Benjamin, a modern, young woman from a close-knit Jewish family joins in the adventure with her new husband in Leslie Nyman ’71’s first novel, The Sound of Her Own Voice (Outskirts Press). Along the way, Lena is tested and turns misfortune into success, living a life filled with music, danger, and love. Nyman, we hope, avoids danger in her life in Amherst, Massachusetts.
In Capricious Fancy: Draping and Curtaining the Historic Interior: 1800–1930 (University of Pennsylvania Press), Gail Caskey Winkler MA’71, MS’77, PhD’88 of Philadelphia chronicles the changes in curtain and drapery styles in the U.S. and Europe through hundreds of illustrations; follows the transmission of high styles from Europe to America; and traces the development of the retail home-fashion industry. Winkler lectures in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and is a senior partner at LCA Associates, a firm specializing in restoring historic interiors. She’s also taught in what was, at the time, UW–Madison’s School of Family Resources and Consumer Sciences.
Goldie Kadushin ’73 and her father, Alfred Kadushin, have written the only textbook to outline the skills that social workers need to conduct effective, culturally competent client interviews in diverse settings and with challenging clients. For the fifth edition of The Social Work Interview (Columbia University Press), the authors have updated its research and included new sections on breaking bad news and interviewing aged, racial/ethnic, and sexual-minority populations. Goldie is a professor of social work at UW–Milwaukee; Alfred is the Lathrop Professor Emeritus of Social Work at UW–Madison.
Of the many beautiful places in Wisconsin that qualify as “up north,” Dennis McCann ’74 has plied his casual, humorous style to one of the most up-north spots in This Superior Place: Stories of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands (Wisconsin Historical Society Press). A Bayfield resident himself, he provides a visual and written tour of the picturesque town today, its history, and its nearby Lake Superior islands — “where natural beauty was the one resource that could not be exhausted by the hand of man, and where history is ever present.” McCann is a retired Milwaukee Journal Sentinel travel writer who, along with his wife, retired teacher Barbara Bunker McCann MS’81, begin their days with superior sunrises.
Writer/producer/photographer/jazz critic/mighty angler Michael Katz MBA’76 announces his “long-awaited return to fiction” with the comic novel Dearly Befuddled (CreateSpace). In it, an indie film producer is asked to photograph the wedding of his friend — with whom he is head over heels — at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. As you can imagine, both laughter and tears ensue. The Santa Monica, California-based Katz, who’s also authored the Andy Sussman/Murray Glick comic mystery trilogy, offers his “Katz of the Day” commentary at mjkcreativearts.com.
One reviewer calls Travel Wild Wisconsin: A Seasonal Guide to Wildlife Encounters in Natural Places (University of Wisconsin Press) a “year-long scavenger hunt through the seasons in search of Wisconsin’s most interesting creatures!” Indeed, the latest work by Candice Gaukel Andrews ’77 of Sun Prairie alerts the reader to the interfaces that are possible with birds, mammals, fish, and insects in the state’s many outdoor settings, and it includes natural history and lore, the author’s own experiences, and insights from scientists and educators. Andrews is a columnist for several environmental organizations and eco-tour providers.
In writing Moving On: New Life after Job Loss: A Guide to Picking Yourself Up, Shaking off the Dirt, and Getting Your Life Back in Order (CreateSpace), Paul Larsen ’80’s goals were to be both instructional and motivational. To those ends, he infuses the work with guidance, encouragement, and humor; relates his own experiences with career struggles and how he’s surmounted them; and emphasizes putting a job search in its larger life context. A career financial professional, Larsen has also co-organized a career-issues networking group in his community of Rye, New York.
It took a very special kind of courage for Anne Gillett Speckhard ’80, MS’81 to research and write Talking to Terrorists: Understanding the Psycho-Social Motivations of Militant Jihadi Terrorists, Mass Hostage Takers, Suicide Bombers & “Martyrs” (Advances Press). An internationally recognized expert, she’s spoken with more than four hundred terrorists, their comrades and family members, and their hostages, and this is her account — spanning more than a decade — of traveling to many a war-torn locale to meet them in their own settings. The work explores the “psychosocial motivations” that lead a person to embrace terrorism and “reveals the humanity in us all.” Speckhard is an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, a government consultant, and the spouse of former U.S. Ambassador Daniel Speckhard ’80, MA’82, MS’83.
Roughly 70 percent of American adults have credit cards, and they average 3.5 cards per person. That’s a lot of buying power that consumers often misunderstand or misuse, contributing to mounting debt and related problems with credit scores, relationships, and even health. In The Plastic Effect: How Urban Legends Influence the Use and Misuse of Credit Cards (Coconut Avenue), co-author Stephen Lesavich ’81, JD’95 examines twenty-five of the most common myths surrounding credit cards and offers additional resources, tips, and guidance to help readers to regain control of their plastic. Lesavich is an attorney at Chicago’s Lesavich High-Tech Law Group.
Biotech advances during the last half-century have forced humans to think about the possibility of a post-human future. This demands a rhetoric that allows us to describe this new future and discuss its ethics. After the Genome: A Language for our Biotechnological Future (Baylor University Press), co-edited by James Herrick PhD’86, gathers expert voices from many realms to help lead these conversations about the human condition and a humane approach to who we are becoming. Herrick is the Vander Jagt professor of communication at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
“This tale of triumphant woe,” says Katherine Wilken Perreth ’83 of her memoir, Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope (CreateSpace), “chronicles the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical effects on my family after I found our seven-year-old son, Ben, in a coma,” as well as his “traumatic life” since then. The staff of the UW Hospital and Clinics figures prominently in the story, as do the Yahara House, a mental-illness treatment and recovery program in Madison; and the Madison Children’s Museum, where Ben now works and delights visitors. He helped the museum to accept its 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service in Washington, D.C., and was named one of Madison Magazine’s top ten who give back to the community in November 2012. Katherine Perreth, of Middleton, Wisconsin, is a freelance reporter and assists her husband, Daniel Perreth ’82, at the Wisconsin ESL Institute, where he’s a director.
After noticing that historical romance novels are typically set in the South or West, Jeanette Lech Watts ’87 of Dayton, Ohio, set out to change that. “What’s unromantic about either the North or the East?” she asks. Living in Pittsburgh at the time, she set her new e-book, Wealth and Privilege (Amazon Digital Services), in that northeastern locale. Watts’s English degree stopped her, however, from writing “mere romantic fiction”: she decided to break the standard rules, noting that “it’s part of what separates pulp fiction from literature.” The result? Wealth and Privilege blends thorough historical research with memorable Northeasterners.
Charlemagne never traveled farther east than Italy, but by the mid-tenth century, a story was circulating about the alliances that he’d forged while visiting Jerusalem and Constantinople, and it gained more credibility over time. Anne Latowsky ’92 traces this myth in Emperor of the World: Charlemagne and the Construction of Imperial Authority, 800–1229 (Cornell University Press), detailing how the memory of Charlemagne was manipulated to shape the institutions of kingship and empire in the High Middle Ages. Latowsky is an assistant professor in the Department of World Languages at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Situating the French Revolution in the context of early modern globalization for the first time, The French Revolution in Global Perspective (Cornell University Press) offers a novel view of its origins and effects, and illustrates the thick connections among its cultural, social, and economic aspects. Two of the work’s co-editors are William Max Nelson IV ’98, an assistant professor of history at the University of Toronto, and Suzanne Desan, the Vilas-Shinners Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at UW–Madison.
In the 1880s, “scientific charity” social reformers warned that the “unworthy” poor were snatching charitable relief from the truly deserving. Armed with statistics and misguided notions of evolution, they founded organizations intent on limiting access to relief by those they deemed unfit. In Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877–1917 (Indiana University Press), Brent Ruswick MA’01, PhD’06 examines one such entity to understand how these theories of poverty gave rise to new programs to assist the poor. He teaches history at West Chester [Pennsylvania] University.
Eleanor Stanford MA’02 of Narberth, Pennsylvania, has written a lyrical, moving memoir about her life-changing experiences in the Peace Corps. História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography) chronicles Stanford’s time as a newly married volunteer in West Africa, her efforts to grasp the local culture, and her attempts to hide the eating disorder that she’d developed. Reviewers have called Stanford’s book a “gorgeously written work” that “will inevitably transport you into a deeper sense of self.”
If you’re a fan of choose-your-own-adventure books, but you prefer them a little (okay, a lot) darker, try Armageddon: Pick Your Plot (Frog & Lion), co-authored by AJ (Angellina) Costa Lauer ’05 and Daniel Keidl ’04. This wild, witty, imaginative, and paradoxically light-hearted book leads the reader through forty-two apocalyptic endings, including plagues, fires, hurricanes, threats from outer space, and many more wretched demises — in other words, “pick your poison,” but on a grand scale. Lauer works in higher-education student affairs and lives near Boulder, Colorado, where “hippies sprout from every surface.” Keidl is a graphic designer in Madison, where “the sun always shines, and delicious candy sprouts from every surface!”
For a long time, NGOs working to eradicate world hunger concentrated on providing adequate quantities of food. In the 1990s, however, the international food-policy community shifted its focus to the “hidden hunger” of micronutrient deficiencies, which resulted in adding nutrients to processed foods and modifying crops through biofortification to produce more nutritious yields. In this process, local knowledge was deemed unscientific and irrelevant. Hidden Hunger: Gender and the Politics of Smarter Foods (Cornell University Press) by Aya Hirata Kimura PhD’06 uses Indonesia as the basis for case studies to explore how the “voices of women were silenced, despite their expertise in food purchasing and preparation.” Kimura is an assistant professor of women’s studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Triathletes spend a lot of time and money ensuring that they have the right gear and an optimal training plan, but without the proper “body fuel,” they can’t compete at their highest levels. This concept was the inspiration for The Complete Nutrition Guide for Triathletes: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Proper Nutrition for Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, and Ironman Distances (FalconGuides/Globe Pequot Press). Author Jamie Cooper PhD’09 brings to the comprehensive work her expertise in nutrition, kinesiology, and exercise physiology, combined with her extensive personal experience as a triathlete. She’s an assistant professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she teaches sports nutrition and coaches its triathlon team.
The UW’s PEOPLE Program, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s annual fund, and College of Letters & Science scholarships will all benefit from funds generated by The Golden Ashfruit (Harris Synergy Press) and donated by its author, Milwaukeean A.L. (Alexandria) Harris ’12. Kirkus Reviews says that “an inventive new twist on some familiar mythologies makes for a fascinating, adventure-filled tale” involving the powerful faerie Princess Mab and the god Freyr as they confront betrayal, murder, and a seemingly unstoppable force in order to save her Lumen Court.
An April piece in the Wisconsin State Journal shared how Madisonian Rhiannon Tibbetts ’12 “straddles two identities” as a transgender woman and a devout Christian — identities that she acknowledges are often at odds in our society. Tibbetts has candidly chronicled her challenges in her memoir, A Sad Love Song to God, and its companion book, Listening to God’s Healing Love Song (both CreateSpace). She’s worked for a cleaning company for the last sixteen years and graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social welfare and a certificate in LGBT studies. She’s also found a positive, progressive spiritual home at Madison’s First Baptist Church.
Published in the Fall 2013 issue