Bookshelf: Summer 2013
Like a Waking Dream: The Autobiography of Geshé Lhundub Sopa (Wisdom Publications) is authored with Paul Donnelly PhD’97 and includes a foreword by the Dalai Lama. In 1967, Sopa was invited to teach in the recently formed UW Buddhist studies program and is now a professor emeritus. In 1979, he became the founding abbot of the Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, and remains one of the greatest living masters of Tibetan Buddhism. Sopa’s also orchestrated several visits to the Madison area by the Dalai Lama. The book covers these accomplishments and more, but also his extraordinary experiences in Tibet prior to the Chinese occupation and his flight over the Himalayas into exile. Geshé-la, as Sopa is affectionately known, turns ninety this year. Donnelly is an associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
On May 8, 1983, biographer Diane Middlebrook left Carl Djerassi PhD’45. In the despondent wake of losing his life’s great love came literary revenge: a “poetic volcanic eruption” of brutally open and vulnerable free-verse poems, now collected in both German and English as Tagebuch des Grolls, A Diary of Pique, 1983–1984 (Haymon Verlag). Middlebrook unexpectedly returned to him in 1984 and became his wife. Djerassi, of San Francisco, London, and Vienna, is known as the “Father of the [birth-control] Pill” and is an eminent scientist, author, playwright, and Stanford University professor emeritus of chemistry. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Wisconsin Alumni Association in 2012.
Barbara Klessig Oehlberg ’54 of Solon, Ohio, has long taught child-assault prevention, is a certified child trauma consultant, and has studied extensively how early trauma alters brain development. In her latest book, Ending the Shame: Transforming Public Education So It Works for All Students (RoseDog Books), she asserts that teachers alone cannot ameliorate the nation’s achievement gap or drop-out rate: policymakers must also commit to a leadership role in forging school reform. Ending the Shame outlines how this can be accomplished through a “trauma-informed education system” and closes with advocacy recommendations.
Ecology is at the heart of many of the most important decisions that face humanity. Roots of Ecology: Antiquity to Haeckel (University of California Press) is the only work to gather a vast literature that chronicles the deep ancestry of this science from the early ideas of Herodotus, Plato, and Pliny, through Linnaeus and Darwin, to those that inspired zoologist Ernst Haeckel, and ultimately informed our modern view. The book is based on Frank Egerton PhD’67’s long-running series of columns. He’s a UW-Parkside professor emeritus of history who lives in Racine, Wisconsin.
For centuries, arsenic has been a staple of murder and suicide in literature and real life, and now John Parascandola MS’67, PhD’68 examines the surprising history of this lethal element in King of Poisons: A History of Arsenic (Potomac Books). In the past, it was frequently found in wallpaper, paint, cosmetics, medical treatments, and even candy, and today arsenic remains a major public-health menace as an industrial toxin and agent of chemical warfare. Parascandola has served as chief of the National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine Division and as the historian of the Public Health Service. He’s currently a historical consultant and teaches at the University of Maryland in College Park.
Neal Samors ’65 is “Mr. Chicago”: he’s authored, co-authored, and/or published twenty books on its downtown, landmarks, neighborhoods, and city life through the company he founded in 2003, Chicago’s Books Press. Windy City foodies may start rejoicing because his latest work is Chicago’s Classic Restaurants: Past, Present, and Future. Prior to this second career in writing and publishing, Samors spent twenty-five years with the Educational Testing Service, including a post as executive director of market development. He lives in suburban Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
Would you like to grow delicious, healthful fruits — easily? Then listen to the advice of horticulturist Lee Reich ’69, MS’76, MS’77 as he adds Grow Fruit Naturally: A Hands-On Guide to Luscious, Homegrown Fruit (Taunton Press) to his gardening series. Reich gives guidance on using natural controls and highlights the importance of choosing the right fruits for your locale. He’s worked in fruit research for Cornell University and the USDA, and now writes, consults, and works in his “farmden” in New Paltz, New York.
The name Harold Scheub PhD’69 is both familiar and fond to many readers as a folklorist and longtime UW professor of African languages and literature who’s perfected his storytelling art through years of listening to indigenous tale crafters as he’s traversed Africa. Scheub’s latest book is Trickster and Hero: Two Characters in the Oral and Written Traditions of the World (University of Wisconsin Press), which surveys a rich array of oral traditions, folktales, mythologies, and literature to illuminate two seemingly opposed characters who often unite as one.
Combining memoir, travel literature, and food writing, Christopher Bakken ’89 explores what he sees as an under-appreciated European cuisine in Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table (University of California Press), which is illustrated by Mollie Katzen of Moosewood Cookbook fame. Bakken looks at the traditions, history, and leisurely ceremonies surrounding eight pillars of Greek cuisine and scouts the country looking for stellar examples of each. He’s an associate professor and chair of the English department at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
A sequel to debut novel The Goat Woman of Largo Bay has come from Gillian Royes MA’73 in the form of The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks (Atria Books). It’s the story of a beautiful, but poverty-stricken Jamaican village “in a land where religion is strong, but life is cheap and violence is often the answer.” There the people grapple with family secrets, broken relationships, the quest for love, and a dangerous plot to banish a taboo that threatens their future. Royes was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and now lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How would workplaces be different if the employees were also the owners? In Co-operative Workplace Dispute Resolution: Organizational Structure, Ownership, and Ideology (Gower Publishing), Elizabeth Hoffmann ’91, MS’95, JD’98, PhD’01 focuses on dispute resolution — a key element of work-life quality — and finds several important differences between worker cooperatives and conventional, hierarchical business models. Hoffmann is an associate professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Nearly ten years of research and twenty trips to the UK for archival study — while teaching and studying full time, and caring for two terminally ill parents — have culminated in Paving the Empire Road: BBC Television and Black Britons (Manchester University Press). It’s author Darrell Newton MA’96, PhD’02’s historical analysis of the BBC’s broadcast policies and practices from the 1930s to the post-millennium period as African-Caribbeans have assimilated into “constructs of Britishness.” Newton hopes that his experiences while writing the book will inspire others to persevere despite adversity. “This is particularly important to me,” he writes, “as the first African-American student in the media-studies program at Vilas.” Newton is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication Arts at Salisbury [Maryland] University.
The University of North Carolina Press has published Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 1959–1971, about the tumultuous first years of the Cuban revolution, when Fidel Castro and other leaders saturated the media with their “campaign to win the hearts of Cuba’s six million citizens.” The resulting mass “support” quickly became a requirement for political inclusion in a new Cuba that policed dissent and silenced dissenters. Author Lillian Guerra MA’94, PhD’00 focuses on the experiences of citizens as they struggled to resist repression. She’s an associate professor of Cuban and Caribbean history at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Jeff Strahl ’93 of Denver has written a big, colorful book about small, sometimes colorful homes: a photographic survey of the cottages that frame Madison’s Lake Mendota. In Little House on the Lake (Spring Harbor Press Limited), he explains that as lakefront property values have risen, so has the square footage of these lakefront homes, leading to a more densely packed shoreline and the removal of the cottages that once enhanced Mendota’s charm. Strahl’s goal was to document the remaining homes before they’re gone. Anne Biebel MA’85 of Cross Plains, Wisconsin, summarizes the history of the area in the book’s introduction.
The title of Michelle Richter Dudash ’99’s book, Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love (Fair Winds Press), pretty much says it all. She’s a registered dietitian, columnist, and television personality; has taught at the Arizona Culinary Institute; and earned her toque from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she makes her home.
How political elites use religious language, and how voters respond to expressions of religion in the public sphere are examined in Christopher Chapp ’02’s Religious Rhetoric and American Politics: The Endurance of Civil Religion in Electoral Campaigns (Cornell University Press). One reviewer praises the work as “a thoughtful addition to a continuing, uniquely American, conversation.” Chapp is an assistant professor of political science at UW-Whitewater.
The intimate details of the Civil War and army life, conveyed through the words of those who fought in it, are captured in This Wicked Rebellion: Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers Write Home (Wisconsin Historical Society Press). Editor John Zimm ’03 selected correspondence from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s renowned Quiner Collection of more than eleven thousand Civil War missives to reveal the soldiers’ desperation and fear, encounters with slavery, struggles with the reasons for the war, and visions of disease, combat, heroism, and heartache. Zimm has worked for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press since 2002.
When you flip the cover of the children’s story Open This Little Book (Chronicle Books), you get to open another book, and another, and another, until you come to its heart and then get to close all the little books one by one — definitely a draw for kinesthetes. Along the way, this multi-volume volume teaches kids about colors and reminds us all about the power of friendship and reading. The story is the work of debut author and children’s book editor Jesse Klausmeier ’04 of New York City, who wrote the first draft when she was a mere five years old.
The thought of taking the ACT — perhaps multiple times — has sent waves of dread through many a college-bound high school student. But that’s where Nick LaMantia ’08 comes in. As the owner and senior tutor at Superior Test Preparation in Arlington Heights, Illinois, he developed a popular test-strategy and study-plan program that he’s now published in The ACT Test: Power Preparation (Superior Test Preparation). LaMantia says the book offers a more manageable alternative to giant prep guides and serves as a textbook in several schools and tutoring centers.
Cary (Carolyn) Almond Neeper MS’60, PhD’62 has woven the very real issues of sustainability and equitable economics into the adventures of a human-alien mixed family as it leaves a troubled, twenty-first-century Earth for the promise of stability on a veiled moon of Jupiter. This young-adult/crossover sci-fi novel, The Webs of Varok (Penscript Publishing House), won the silver medal in teen/young-adult fiction in the Nautilus Book Awards. It’s the second in Neeper’s Archives of Varok series. She has also written book reviews for the Christian Science Monitor and two musical science-fiction comedies, plus she paints landscapes, including the book’s cover art. She lives out her earthly existence in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
From their previous appearances in literary journals, John Desjarlais ’76 has reunited a set of his short stories into a new collection, Blood of the Martyrs and Other Stories (Kindle Direct Publishing). He’s a former Wisconsin Public Radio producer who now teaches journalism and English at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Illinois.
Have you ever noticed how often people’s names reflect what they do — Mr. Chop the butcher, for instance? Steve Busalacchi ’84 has done much more than notice: he began collecting aptronyms (yes, they actually have a name) as he went about his work as a former Wisconsin Public Radio news reporter and has now written a book on this phenomenon called Wacky News Names, Monikers That Make You Smirk (Apollo’s Voice). These days, the Madison author is also the proprietor of Steve Busalacchi Communications.
Elliott Fliés ’87 of St. Paul, Minnesota, may have his mind on the law — he’s a VP and associate general counsel for the international division of Travelers Insurance — but his heart is with his family. Fliés and his father, Kenneth, have written the heartwarming Retrieving Isaac & Jason (Hiawatha Press) in the voice of the family dog, Kai: the story of how Elliott and his partner adopted their two sons from Southeast Asia and “how Kai brought four people together who are not related by blood, but by love.” Proceeds go to the Sharing Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers Southeast Asian youth.
In The Empire Abroad and the Empire at Home: African American Literature and the Era of the Overseas Expansion (University of Georgia Press), John Cullen Gruesser PhD’89 shows how African-American writers at the turn of the twentieth century responded to imperialism and its implications for domestic race relations. The complexity of the debates and the rapid pace of change caused these authors to shift their positions often. Gruesser is a professor of English at Kean University in Union, New Jersey.
A redesigned, fifteenth-anniversary edition of By the Balls: The Complete Collection (Akashic Books) is introducing the classic hard-boiled detective Ben Drake to a new generation through essays by genre luminaries, new short stories, and all the early writing of Tom Fassbender ’91 and Jim Pascoe, including the bowling-alley murder mystery that launched their crime-fiction publishing company, Uglytown. Fassbender is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, and content strategist who’s worked with both novels and comics; he manages a financial institution’s creative team; and he tends bees, runs long distances, and seeks adventure.
Here’s a book you might not have thought existed, but it does: English for the Fashion Industry (Oxford University Press). A very specialized textbook, it’s the first of its kind in the English-for-business market. Its author, Mary Ward ’91, MA’95, teaches at a postsecondary institute for fashion and marketing studies in Rome, Italy.
The pragmatic Federal Cloud Computing (Cavalier Trail Books) examines how federal agencies can use technology to become more efficient, cost-effective, and secure — and who wouldn’t like that? It’s the work of Michael Biddick ’95, CEO of Fusion PPT in Vienna, Virginia, and a frequent contributor to InformationWeek and Network Computing magazines on the subject of information-technology efficiency. He’s also served as the director of information technology for the UW Law School.
New Routes for Diaspora Studies (Indiana University Press) “provides a useful frame for reimagining locations, movements, identities, and social formations.” Its co-editors are Steven McKay MA’96, PhD’01, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California-Santa Cruz, and UW–Milwaukee associate professors Sukanya Banerjee and Aims McGuinness.
First of all, we love this Badger author’s name: Carly Winer Ubersox ’96. But second, her passion for the whole-foods movement has inspired her debut children’s book about a fussy eater who comes to love a rainbow of tastes in Phoebe the Foodie (CreateSpace). Ubersox collaborated with illustrator Dawn Madison Rewey ’93, a muralist and the purveyor of her own hand-painted tableware. Ubersox is a former entertainment publicist who’s now a newsletter contributor and blogger. These Chicago residents knew each other at the UW and reconnected to create this book.
Slow Print: Literary Radicalism and Late Victorian Print Culture (Stanford University Press) is Elizabeth Miller MA’97, PhD’03’s exploration of the literary culture of Britain’s radical press from 1880 to 1910. “Slow print,” like today’s “slow food,” actively resisted industrial production and the commercialization of new domains. Miller is an associate professor of English at the University of California-Davis.
Brandie Gowey ’99 is a naturopathic physician, a botanist, the founder of Naturopaths International, and the owner of both the Gowey Research Group and Dr. B’s Natural Remedies in Flagstaff, Arizona. In her new book, Your Cervix (Just) Has a Cold: The Gowey Protocol (Gowey Research Group), she discusses the global health problem of human papillomavirus (HPV), the many reasons for an abnormal pap result, and lifestyle changes that readers can implement to improve their health.
Steven Belletto MA’00, PhD’06’s first book is No Accident, Comrade: Chance and Design in Cold War American Narratives (Oxford University Press), which explains how “associations of chance with democratic freedom and the denial of chance with totalitarianism circulated in Cold War America.” Belletto is an assistant professor of English and chair of the American Studies program at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and a co-editor of American Literature and Culture in an Age of Cold War: A Critical Reassessment (University of Iowa Press).
In writing his debut novel, Ben Mulhern ’04 grappled with the questions, “What would the world’s coolest dude do if he ended up the number one suspect in a brutal crime, and how would the experience change him?” The answers became the premise for Everybody Wants You Dead (Amazon Digital Services), whose characters and dialogue were heavily inspired by his student days in Madtown. Mulhern has written a staggering variety of things, including copious lesson plans as an educator in the Twin Cities.
Having no educational background in writing did not stop Dana Sitar x’12 from leaving Madison for San Francisco in 2011 to pursue her passion to become a full-time writer — and now that’s how she makes her living … except, currently, in Seattle. Sitar also has a blog called DIY Writing and has published her first e-book, A Writer’s Bucket List: 99 things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket.
Published in the Summer 2013 issue