Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2006
In This Issue:

Alumni Bookshelf

Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin MurdersDeath in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders

by William R. Drennan, (English, 1966)

Available through Amazon

"The future lives of those directly involved (not the least of whom was considered to be the most influential and gifted architect of the time), but likely, the whole course and development of modern architecture.”

-Craig Jacobsen, Taliesin Preservation, Inc.

“Drennan retells the story, sparing no details and judiciously placing them in the context of Wright’s legendary career and tangled personal life. . . . Memorable crime books are about revealing character, and this one’s best when plumbing the psyches of the murderer . . . and the self-absorbed genius who buried his grief in 45 more years of work.”

-Harold Henderson, Chicago Reader

Born to RunBorn to Run

by James M. Grippando (Political Science, 1982)

Available through Amazon

Veteran thriller writer Grippando has been known to inject presidential politics into his thrillers before, most notably in The Abduction (1998), which featured a heated contest between a female Democratic nominee and an African American Republican. In this eighth Jack Swyteck novel, the politics turn deadly when the vice president, out hunting crocodiles in the Everglades, ends up dead. Jack’s father, Harry, is asked to take over as the president’s number-two man, but Jack suspects the late vice president might have been murdered and that his father might be next. When Jack receives an e-mail offering to sell information about President Keyes—information that could make Jack’s dad the next president—he starts to dig deeper, gathering information from everyone from the late vice-president’s widow to the sister of a slain tabloid reporter. And as if Jack didn’t have enough trouble, he also must deal with the fact that he’s turning 40. This, of course, is a subject of great humor for Jack’s best friend and all-around wiseacre, ex-con Theo Knight. But Jack’s more visible political profile spells trouble for his relationship with FBI agent Andie Henning, who fears her boyfriend’s newfound status will negatively affect her career. Grippando ratchets up the action to a breakneck pace in the last half of the novel, stopping to liberally sprinkle the proceedings with snarky dialogue, pointed satire, and some touching father-son moments. Everything you expect in a Grippando novel and more.

The Ghosts of WaldenThe Ghosts of Walden

by John P. Hussey (English, 1971)

Available through Amazon

These riveting and intensely human stories describe the turbulent history of 19th century Concord, Massachusetts. Staying close to the historical record, Jack Hussey creates a vivid tapestry of the conflicts, dreams and fears that animated Concord's famous writers Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott as well as local doctors, teachers, shopkeepers and many others. They struggle with their own demons and with the conflicts of their times: slavery, temperance, Irish immigrants, the status of women and the new railroads. In the first story, young Henry Thoreau, scorned by his neighbors, flees town in order to decide where and how he must live, and with whom. The second story describes the night when an abolitionist couple shelter a fugitive slave, uncover an enemy and are shocked to see the vulnerability of the town's anti-slavery leader. In the final story, Concordians gather at Walden Pond to celebrate their storied past, but all goes awry when an Irish boy gets lost in the woods and the Judge who has organized the celebration realizes he might lose the woman he loves. Jack Hussey has taught, written and lectured on film and American literature for four decades. In 1992, he produced a video documentary, Neighbors in Eden, about Emerson, Hawthorne, Dickinson and Thoreau. The Ghosts of Walden is his first work of fiction. He and his wife Nancy live in Fairmont WV.

Skin of SunsetSkin of Sunset

by David S. Johansson (English, 1986)

Available through Amazon

Sensually rich and darkly funny, full of energy and light, Johansson's writing pulsates with fresh images. At once serious, frightening, comic and wistful, this novel is the epitaph of one generation and a warning to the next. Brashly funny and genuinely moving, Skin of Sunset shows both brains and heart as it peels off the outer layers of relationships, rivalry, marriage and sex. Best friends in college, Barton, Jordan and Helmut, drift into the bewildering world of American adulthood. Together they establish a law firm, but then the marriage of Barton and Jordan tests their relationship with Helmut. Barton and Jordan, faced with their fading youth, doubt their roles as husband and wife, and when a financial crisis hits - loyalties are tested - both to each other and to their past notions of themselves. Rife with love and betrayal, sex and rivalry, Skin of Sunset explores the new pursuit of happiness, while an unexpected fate sweeps the three friends toward revenge and murder. Skin of Sunset delivers the saddest words in the English language - it's too late, even as a shiver of delight descends before the sunset's fiery end.

The New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly WealthyThe New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly Wealthy

by Jim Taylor, Doug Harrison, and Stephen J. Kraus (Psychology, 1986)

Available through Amazon

We are all fascinated by them--that enigmatic class of peo ple often referred to as the rich. With all the emphasis on the rich and famous in America, we would think we know everything about them. In reality, very few of us truly under stand those who make up the very wealthiest Americans--those with liquid assets of $5 million or more. What is this new class of people and how did they get that way?

In The New Elite, the authors reveal what motivates our country's most powerful and influential class, what they want, where they shop, and how they really spend their money. With candor and unique insight, they reveal that the people who drive our economy are not Ivy league- educated, luxury-seeking socialites. While they include lumi naries like Bill Gates, David Geffen, Ralph Lauren, and Donald Trump, they also include the small business owner next door. Based on unprecedented research with hundreds of interviews with members of this unique group, The New Elite uncovers the five classes of America's newly wealthy--including those who struggle with its implications, those who refuse to let it change them, and those who give it away, and how each of them is changing our culture and economy. This is an entertaining and enlightening look at America's ruling class, the profound ways they have redefined what it means to be rich, and how we court them.

Biology and Conservation of Florida TurtlesBiology and Conservation of Florida Turtles

by Peter A. Meylan (Zoology, 1985), editor

Available through NHBS

Comprehensive summary of all 25 freshwater turtle, marine turtle, and tortoise species occurring in Florida, including descriptions, distributions, habitats, ecology and natural history, threats, status, and conservation. Thorough species accounts and family overviews by 39 leading turtle biologists with extensive field experience with Florida turtles.

The New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly WealthyThe Lone War Cry: A Western Novel

by George E. Miller (Political Science, 1972)

Available through Amazon

The Oregon Territories circa 1850 are home to the Blackfoot, Shoshone, and Crow, among many other warring tribes. The majesty of the untamed rivers and mountain ranges have provided a backdrop to the ever-present conflicts between these proud peoples, but contact with the white man is changing the balance of power in unimaginable ways.

Bitter events make enemies of Lame Elk of the Shoshone, tragic in his rise to prominence, and Two Horns of the Blackfoot, reluctant in his call to leadership. Separately, these two warriors must lead their people against a myriad of threats, not the least of which include disease, famine, and almost constant battle.

As life continues unabated in the Indians' struggle for dominance, the white man is making deeper inroads into the western United States, with adventurers and criminals seeking their fortunes in a lawless land. Driven into the mountains to escape a manhunt, a falsely accused young man named Corby ends up saving Donovan, the ex-marshal pursuing him. The two unlikely friends travel through the Oregon Territories, where Corby finds he has an uncanny ability with a gun -- and establishes something of an unwanted reputation.

The Lone War Cry follows these unforgettable characters through numerous hardships and challenges until circumstance links their stories together, driving them to their dramatic conclusions.

The Cracker KitchenThe Cracker Kitchen

by Janis J. Owens (English, 1983)

Available through Amazon

Though our roots are in the Colonial South, we Crackers are essentially just another American fusion culture, and our table and our stories are constantly expanding -- nearly as fast as our waistlines. We aren't ashamed of either, and we're always delighted with the prospect of company: someone to feed and make laugh, to listen to our hundred thousand stories of food and family and our long American past.

Crackers, rednecks, hillbillies, and country boys have long been the brunt of many jokes, yet this old Southern culture is a rich and vibrant part of Amer-ican history. In The Cracker Kitchen, Janis Owens traces the root of the word Cracker back to its origins in Shakespeare's Elizabethan England -- when it meant braggart or big shot -- through its proliferation in America, where it became a derogatory term to describe poor and working-class Southerners. This compelling anthropological exploration peels back the historic misconceptions connected with the word to reveal a breed of proud, fiercely independent Americans with a deep love of their families, their country, their stories, and, most important, their food.

With 150 recipes from over twenty different seasonal menus, The Cracker Kitchen offers a full year's worth of eating and rejoicing: from spring's Easter Dinner -- which includes recipes for Easter Ham, Green Bean Bundles, and, of course, Cracklin' Cornbread -- to summer's Fish Frys, fall's Tailgate Parties, and winter's In Celebration of Soul, honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

Recounted in Owens's delightful and hilarious voice, the family legends accompanying each of these menus leap off the page. We meet Uncle Kelly, the Prince of the Funny Funeral Story, who has family and friends howling with laughter at otherwise solemn occasions. We spend a morning with Janis and her friends at a Christmas Cookie Brunch as they bake delectable gifts for everyone on their holiday lists. And Janis's own father donates his famous fundamentalist biscuit recipe; truly a foretaste of glory divine.

The Cracker Kitchen is a charming, irresistible celebration of family, storytelling, and good old-fashioned eating sure to appeal to anyone with an appreciation of Americana.

Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World WarAnthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War

by David H. Price, (Anthropology, 1993)

Available through Amazon

By the time the United States officially entered World War II, more than half of American anthropologists were using their professional knowledge and skills to advance the war effort. The range of their war-related work was extraordinary. They helped gather military intelligence, pinpointed possible social weaknesses in enemy nations, and contributed to the army’s regional Pocket Guide booklets. They worked for dozens of government agencies, including the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Office of War Information. At a moment when social scientists are once again being asked to assist in military and intelligence work, David H. Price examines anthropologists’ little-known contributions to the Second World War.

Anthropological Intelligence is based on interviews with anthropologists as well as extensive archival research involving many Freedom of Information Act requests. Price looks at the role played by the two primary U.S. anthropological organizations, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology (which was formed in 1941), in facilitating the application of anthropological methods to the problems of war. He chronicles specific projects undertaken on behalf of government agencies, including an analysis of the social effects of postwar migration, the design and implementation of OSS counterinsurgency campaigns, and the study of Japanese social structures to help tailor American propaganda efforts. Price discusses anthropologists’ work in internment camps, their collection of intelligence in Central and South America for the FBI’s Special Intelligence Service, and their help forming foreign language programs to assist soldiers and intelligence agents. Evaluating the ethical implications of anthropological contributions to World War II, Price suggests that by the time the Cold War began, the profession had set a dangerous precedent regarding what it would be willing to do on behalf of the U.S. government.

The Transformation of the Supreme Court of CanadaThe Transformation of the Supreme Court of Canada

by Donald R. Songer (Political Science, 1967)

Available through Amazon

In the last half-century, the Supreme Court of Canada has undergone major upheaval. The most drastic change occurred with the adoption of the Charter of Rights in 1982, which substantially increased the Court's role in resolving controversial political and social issues. The Transformation of the Supreme Court of Canada examines the impact of institutional changes on the proceedings and decisions of the Court from 1970 to 2003.

The first book on the Supreme Court to incorporate extensive in-depth interviews with former justices, this study provides both insiders' accounts of how decisions are made and an empirical analysis of more than 3,000 Court decisions. Drawing on this extensive commentary and statistical data, Donald R. Songer demonstrates that the Court has remained a politically moderate and democratic institution despite its considerable power and influence. The most comprehensive account of its kind to date, The Transformation of the Supreme Court of Canada makes a significant contribution to the literature and will be of particular interest to scholars and students of judicial behaviour and comparative law.

--> home     --> top