Bookshelf: Summer 2012



Jerome Chazen ’48 met Art Ortenberg ’47 at the UW in the 1940s, and they became roommates. Ortenberg then introduced Chazen to his future wife, Simona Chivian Chazen, and Ortenberg went on to marry a relatively unknown fashion designer named Liz Claiborne. While meeting for a drink in New York City in 1975 and pondering what to do about their professional restlessness, Chazen blurted out, “We can start a company.” By the early ’90s, with Chazen as the chair and CEO, Liz Claiborne had become an enormous success. These stories and many others are part of his new book, My Life at Liz Claiborne: How We Broke the Rules and Built the Largest Fashion Company in the World (AuthorHouse). You may also know the Chazens as the philanthropists who gave a $20 million gift to double the size of the UW’s Chazen Museum of Art. The Nyack, New York, couple attended the grand opening of the museum expansion in October.


Thomas Waite ’79 describes his first novel, Terminal Value (Marlborough Press), as an “intense thriller that provides an insider’s look into the excitement of a technology start-up, the anticipated riches of an initial public offering, the gut-wrenching murder of a friend, and the dark side of corporate America.” The Bostonian entrepreneur writes both fiction and nonfiction, and his work has appeared in the Harvard Business Review and the New York Times.

Carol Edler Baumann ’54 has a PhD from the London School of Economics, served as a State Department diplomat, taught international relations, and spent thirty-three years directing UW–Milwaukee’s Institute of World Affairs — all roles in which her thoughts were firmly planted. She lets them roam freely, however, in her recent short-story collection, Journeys of the Mind (Trafford Publishing), in which a very rational woman explores what lies beyond rationality. Baumann is retired in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Larry Ceplair MA’69, PhD’73, author of Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America: A Critical History (Praeger), explains that his book “traces the rise and effects of anti-communism by categorizing its variety of styles, and examines the logic and necessity of it.” He lives in Santa Monica, California.


The central character of Peter Levine ’00’s debut collection of short stories, The Appearance of a Hero: The Tom Mahoney Stories (St. Martin’s Press), is drawn from people Levine met while at the UW: a businessman who’s good-looking, popular, athletic, dynamic, and seemingly uncomplicated. But, as he approaches middle age, Mahoney realizes that he’s disappearing from the lives of those who once surrounded him — a modern-day Willy Loman. Levine lives in Washington, D.C.


In While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era (Crown Publishing), former Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold ’75looks at institutional failures since 9/11 and proposes steps to ensure that we become focused on solving the international problems that threaten our nation. Since leaving the Senate in 2011, he has taught at Marquette University Law School and Stanford University, and founded Progressives United, an organization that challenges the dominance of corporate money in American democracy. Feingold was a Rhodes Scholar, an honors law graduate of both Harvard Law School and Oxford University, and the 1999 co-recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Paula Dáil MS’80, PhD’83’s Women and Poverty in 21st Century America (McFarland) has won the 2011 Kingery/Derleth Nonfiction Book Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. With careers in newspaper journalism and academia at Virginia Tech and Iowa State, Dáil now lives in Spring Green, Wisconsin, where her dog “sings in the choir of turkeys and other musical creatures inhabiting her land.”


Following her popular debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, and her collection of short stories, Delicate Edible Birds, Lauren Groff MFA’06 of Gainesville, Florida, is garnering praise for Arcadia (Voice/Hyperion), the name of a 1960s commune whose utopian dream is foundering. The work follows fifty years in the life of Bit Stone, a tender-souled boy born in Arcadia who must eventually learn to make his way, painfully, in the “real world.”

Scott Helman ’97 has been a Boston Globe staffer since 2000, including stints as its political editor, a lead national reporter on the 2008 presidential campaign, and a State House bureau reporter covering Mitt Romney’s gubernatorial administration — all of which make him unusually qualified to co-author a book on the former-Massachusetts-governor-turned-presidential-candidate. The work, The Real Romney (HarperCollins), has been excerpted in Vanity Fair.

Attitudes about gender roles in American society were unmasked in a profound way during the Vietnam War — and even had an impact on foreign policy — contends Heather Stur PhD’08 in Beyond Combat: Women and Gender in the Vietnam War Era (Cambridge University Press). The assistant professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg says that “the home front and the battle front are very closely intertwined.”

The title The Ambivalent Corpse (Amazon Digital Services) grabs your attention, as does the subject matter of Jerold Last ’59, MS’61’s new e-book: while jogging in Uruguay, a couple finds half of a young woman’s body placed by the memorial to the Admiral Graf Spee, a German cruiser scuttled in Montevideo Harbor in 1939; and the other half next to a nearby memorial to the Jews who perished during the Holocaust. Quickly drawn into the murder investigation, the couple begins driving through South America in search of the truth. Last is a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine.


Joan Baier Peterson ’61, MS’72, PhD’75 is the president of Madison’s Ginkgo Press, which publishes the Eat Smart series of travel guides for food lovers. She’s written nine of the ten volumes that already exist, and has penned this eleventh in the series as well: it’s Eat Smart in Norway: How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure. Peterson was a scientist in the UW’s Department of Biochemistry for fifteen years before “breaking away to follow another passion — writing guides to foreign cuisines.”


Carolyn Kenney-Carter ’68 sent news of two books in which she’s had a large creative hand: Inside and Out is a collection of her husband’s poetry, enriched by her artwork; and Through the Cabin Door is a combination of his nature essays and her pencil drawings and nature notes. It’s also the winner of the 2011 Ellis/Henderson Outdoor Writing Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. Appleport Press published both works. The couple spends time in Wauwatosa and Door County, Wisconsin, as well as Tucson.

The wisdom about writing is that you should write about what you know, and Jeremy Robinson ’68 has done just that: as an executive coach with the Robinson Capital Corporation in New York City, he’s co-authored Becoming an Exceptional Executive Coach: Use Your Knowledge, Experience, and Intuition to Help Leaders Excel (AMACOM).


To share her passion for her favorite “wonders of nature,” Joan Zipperer Calder ’70 has penned the nonfiction children’s book Airplanes in the Garden: Monarch Butterflies Take Flight (Patio Publishing). Enhanced by beautiful illustrations, it educates, captures the imagination, and nurtures empathy for these fragile creatures. The book includes an information section, migration maps, tips on growing a butterfly-friendly garden, and a song. Calder teaches garden design and is the greenhouse manager at the University of California-Santa Barbara.


Lawrence Baron MA’71, PhD’74 has edited what Brandeis University Press hails as “the first global investigation of Jewish experiences in film.” The Modern Jewish Experience in World Cinema covers the geographical, ideological, political, religious, and social aspects of Judaism that have been conveyed in film from the silent era to the present in this anthology of fifty-four new and classic essays from scholars in a variety of disciplines. Baron is the Nasatir Chair in Modern Jewish History at San Diego [California] State University.

Sara Rath ’74 is continuing her Northwoods-Wisconsin saga with The Waters of Star Lake (University of Wisconsin Press), the affirming and often humorous tale of a widow finding unlikely romance — as well as facing perilous mysteries swirling around the local timber wolves and John Dillinger’s hidden loot. Rath, of Spring Green, Wisconsin, is a MacDowell fellow and the author of Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages and Night Sisters.


George Fox MS’75 of Little Suamico, Wisconsin, has blended a healthy dose of Wisconsin into his new thriller, The Moonhawker (iUniverse). In it, the ever-resilient Atticus Gunner begins his new high school administrator’s job, but very soon finds himself and his young daughters aboard a sloop headed for Washington Island, off the state’s Door County peninsula — and an adventure involving intrigue, romance, murder, and self-discovery. Kirkus Reviews has awarded the work its Kirkus Star.

After covering the UW for Madison’s Capital Times, Joe Schoenmann ’86 moved to Las Vegas in 1997 to “see what journalism was all about in the shadow of the mega-casinos.” Some of what he’s learned has become a work that he’s co-authored with the book’s subject, Wendy Mazaros, called Vegas Rag Doll: A True Story of Terror and Survival as the Wife of a Mob Hitman (Stephens Press). Schoenmann also covers government and politics for the Las Vegas Sun.


In Betting on Biotech: Innovation and the Limits of Asia’s Developmental State (Cornell University Press), author Joseph Wong MA’96, PhD’01 examines the emerging biotechnology sector in Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. He writes that the billions of dollars invested since the 1990s have not generated the expected profits, which has forced these industrial powerhouses to confront a new logic of industrial development. Wong is an associate professor, the Canada Research Chair in political science, and the director of the Asian Institute at the University of Toronto [Canada]’s Munk School of Global Affairs.


As discussions continue about linking students’ performance to educators’ pay, a new book edited by Sean Kelly MS’01, PhD’05 is very timely. In Assessing Teacher Quality: Understanding Teacher Effects on Instruction and Achievement (Teachers College Press), education scholars show why, in addition to test performance, instructional processes and school context must be closely examined. Kelly is a visiting assistant professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Published in the Summer 2012 issue


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