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Winter 2005
Political Animal
David Mizner, A91
Soho Press

In his first novel, Political Animal, David Mizner, A91, takes his readers behind the scenes of a primary campaign of a New York congressman running for the Senate. The book’s protagonist, Ben Bergin, is a gifted young speech writer whose life seems to be unraveling as he becomes more disillusioned with his job. Mizner, a former Washington campaign worker, lives on a Maine island where he is working on his second novel. Here he discusses the lure of politics and what keeps Ben in the game.

"Most books and movies about politics are Capra-esque fables in which people struggle against not-such-long odds to do the right thing or dystopian laments in which people never do the right thing. I had a vague sense that I wanted to write a novel that was neither. Or perhaps both. Something more realistic, in other words.

"At the risk of being obnoxious, I’d like to quote myself. Ben Bergin, the main character, is an ‘idealistic cynic who has a love-hate-hate relationship with politics.’ Ben, a press-release writer on a Senate campaign in New York, hates the lies, the cynicism, the fear that disguises itself as political wisdom. Virtually all major political campaigns are driven by a terror of losing, but Ben’s boss is especially risk-averse. I should mention here that he’s a Democrat.

"Yet for all Ben’s disillusionment, he stays on the job. Why? Because I wanted to write a book about a political campaign. Plus he likes certain aspects of the job. I wanted to make sure that I conveyed the appeal of politics in general and campaigns in particular. Most people work on campaigns for a simple reason: they’re fun. Ben likes the intensity, the competition, the bond with his co-workers, whom he likes more than he lets on. (He might be in love with one of them.) Working on a campaign is like playing in a very long tournament.

"But if politics is a game, it’s one with high stakes. The prospect of helping people appeals to Ben, whose social conscience survives his vanity and selfishness. While he gets high on his whiff of power, he’s daunted by the responsibility that comes with it. When he discovers that one of his lies is literally murderous, he decides, in his half-baked way, to face up to his responsibility. But then the plot thickens: if doing the right thing brings down the campaign, does it serve the greater good? Ben believes, or hopes, that this is a false choice. He has a hunch that the campaign can both tell the truth and win, that voters, given enough information and enough respect, will make an enlightened choice.

The book hinges on Ben’s testing this hopeful—naive?—premise."

The First Desire

Nancy Reisman, J84

In The First Desire, author Nancy Reisman, who teaches creative writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, takes her readers to 1929 Buffalo, New York, to meet the Cohen family. Their story, stretching from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II, is told from the various perspectives of siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving—each of whose worlds is upended over the course of the novel. Although tumultuous times threaten to tear them apart, the family manages to stay together, showing how emotions can bind a family. The First Desire has been selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2004.
Millard Fillmore, Mon Amour
John Blumenthal, A71
St. Martin’s Griffin

From the author of What’s Wrong with Dorfman? comes another humorous novel. Once a gangly teenager in oversized clothes, Plato G. Fussell is now handsome and independently wealthy. But inside he’s still a bundle of neuroses and anxieties. While working on his definitive ten-volume biography of Millard Fillmore, Plato finds himself dodging his vile ex-wife, trying to please his demanding elderly mother, and attempting to remain verbally coherent while courting a young woman. As Plato blunders on in search of romance, true love, and an acceptable degree of worldwide cleanliness, he discovers that loving someone and knowing them needn’t go hand in hand.

Mourning Wood
Daniel Paisner, A82
Volt Press

A frequent collaborator on celebrity biographies, Daniel Paisner turns to fiction in his new novel, Mourning Wood. When a fading Hollywood icon, Terence Wood, stages his own death and disappears into a Maine coastal town, he leaves behind a couple of ex-wives and a son—all of whom love and hate him. As he becomes enmeshed in the everyday goings-on in Bar Harbor, a writer hired to pen a memoir of the “dead” star turns up in Wood’s new world.

The Second Rule
Al Taricco, A57, M61

Retired surgeon Al Taricco takes on the issue of the world’s energy needs in his first novel. A family of chemists discovers a method to harness the electrical power of hydrogen, locked in a molecule of water, to provide an alternative fuel to oil as the world’s main energy source. The geopolitical intrigue and industrial espionage that surround this new fuel demand attention from the OPEC countries, the governments of the world, Congress, and, eventually, the president of the United States.

Daughter of
Kathleen Aguero, J71
Cedar Hills Books

In her new collection of poems, Kathleen Aguero, professor of English and director of the College Composition Program at Pine Manor College, documents the private and public lives of girls and women. The volume opens with a series of poems based on the married life of Miranda, the heroine of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

I Can’t Tell You
Hillary Frank, J97

In her second young-adult novel, Hillary Frank introduces Jake, a college student who, after a big fight with his best friend, concludes that talking equals trouble and decides that writing is safer. Through notes scribbled on napkins and in notebooks, on upside-down calculators, and on walls, Jake explores new ways to express himself. The entire novel unfolds in these written communications between Jake and his friends and family. And through writing, Jake finds a friend in Xandra, without saying a word.
Forever Poems for Now and Then
Sonya Kurzweil, G71, and Amy Kurzweil
BenBella Books

This blending of poetry and painting is the product of a ten-year collaboration between a mother and daughter. Each original poem in this collection is matched with a classic work of art. Examples of realism, impressionism, expressionism, pop, folk, and abstract art accompany poetry that offers simple truths and reveals a moving mother-daughter relationship that will appeal to young readers.

The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss:
A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel

Charles D. Cohen, D87
Random House Books for Young Readers

Theodor Seuss Geisel, creator of Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and a madcap menagerie of some of the best-loved children’s characters of all time, stands alone as the preeminent figure of American children’s literature. But Geisel was a private man who was happier at the drawing table than he was across from any reporter or would-be biographer. Under the thoughtful scrutiny of dentist and Seussiana collector Charles D. Cohen, Geisel’s lesser-known works yield valuable insights into the imaginative and creative processes of one of the 20th century’s most original thinkers.
Lech Lecha: The Journey of Abraham and Sarah
Alison Greengard, J76, and Carol Racklin-Siegel, illustrator
EKS Publishing Co.

Lech Lecha is the Lord’s commandment to Abraham instructing him to leave his homeland. With only the reassurance that they will have descendants as numerous as the stars, Abraham and Sarah embark on a journey into the unknown. Alison Greengard, the author of five Hebrew/English children’s books, tells this ancestral story using the language of the Hebrew Bible along with an English translation.

Max’s Rules
Sandra J. Philipson, G72, and Jenny Campbell, illustrator
Chagrin River Publishing Co.

The latest in picture-book author’s popular Max and Annie series, Max’s Rules is the story of what happens when a new puppy joins Max and Annie’s family. Annie feels motherly, but Max is mad and sad, feeling as if he’s been replaced. The only way to get everyone’s attention and to keep the puppy under control is to devise a new set of rules. As usual, Max goes overboard, and Annie must step in and help everyone in the family appreciate each other.
Money, Money, Money: Where It Comes From, How to Save It, Spend It, and Make It
Eve Drobot, J73
Maple Tree Press

Money, Money, Money, written for grade schoolers, delves into the myths, history, and future of money through informative and amusing anecdotes. From ancient barter systems to today’s digital transactions, the story of currency is explored in age-appropriate language and through a rich array of photographs and illustrations. The basics—the history of money, banks and how they work, the stock market, how interest is calculated—are covered in a clear, simple fashion.

Harry Potter and Philosophy:
If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts

David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein, A95, editors
Open Court

Harry Potter has put a spell on millions of readers, and they all want to find out more about the deeper meaning of his adventures. David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein, a doctoral student in philosophy at Arizona State University, have gathered the writings of 17 experts in the field of philosophy to unlock some of Hogwarts’ secret panels, uncovering surprising insights that are enlightening both for wizards and for the most discerning Muggles. Individual chapters look at such topics as life revealed in the Mirror of Erised; the ethics of magic; Moaning Myrtle, Nearly Headless Nick, and the relation of the mind to the brain; and the character of Hermione as a case of “sublimated feminism.”
The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan
John Ehrman, A81
Yale University Press

During the Reagan years, Americans witnessed an extraordinary array of changes, from major technological advances to sweeping revisions of the tax code to the deregulation of major industries and the advent of the culture wars. America emerged from the decade completely transformed into a highly competitive, technology-driven society. John Ehrman, a foreign affairs analyst for the federal government, tracks this transformation in the context of Ronald Reagan’s policies and convictions, and examines the broader trends that enabled Reagan to achieve so much of his agenda.
Debt for Sale: A Social History of the Credit Trap
Brett Williams, J69
University of Pennsylvania Press

Credit and debt appear to be natural, permanent facets of Americans’ lives, but as Brett Williams, professor of anthropology at American University, uncovers, a debt-based economy and debt-financed lifestyles are actually recent inventions, and have had profound implications for us all. From the first Diners Club cards issued in 1951 to today’s check-cashing stores and pawnshops, the credit industry has used aggressive marketing to reap enormous profits. Debt for Sale shows how the role of credit and debt has become one of the most important social and economic issues of our age.
Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health
Helen Osborne, BSOT 70
Jones & Bartlett Publishers
Clear communication of your health message can make all the difference in effective patient care. Helen Osborne, president of Health Literacy Consulting, has compiled an easy-to-use handbook designed for the busy health professional, filled with ideas and strategies that can be used in everyday practice. The key principles and strategies of effective health communication are presented in a simple, informal manner by one of the nation’s leading experts in health literacy.
Effects of and Interventions for Childhood Trauma from Infancy Through Adolescence
Sandra B. Hutchison, J86
the haworth maltreatment & trauma press

Sandra B. Hutchison, a child therapist and independent consultant, explores an array of trauma-related topics pertaining to children of all ages in her new book. Looking at children from a variety of cultures and countries, the book covers the various ego stages of child development and addresses how each one is affected by traumatic experiences. It also provides an extensive list of organizations and crisis hotline numbers as well as recommended reading, video, and curricula resources.
Handbook of Research Methods in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Steven G. Rogelberg, A85, editor
Blackwell Publishers

Handbook of Research Methods in Industrial and Organizational Psychology is a comprehensive and contemporary treatment of research philosophies, approaches, tools, and techniques indigenous to industrial and organizational psychology. Edited by Steven G. Rogelberg, associate professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University, the volume includes leading methodological and measurement scholars discussing topics from research ethics to computational modeling.