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Thursday, 08 July 2010

Digging Up the Dead

by Michael Kammen (Chicago)

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Several notable Americans were not allowed to rest in peace after death. For whatever reason—cemeteries hoping to become tourist attractions, grave robbers looking for skulls, or patriotic veneration— Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Sitting Bull, Daniel Boone, John Paul Jones, Edgar Allan Poe, Jesse James, and others were subjected to reburial. Kammen, a Pulitzer Prize winner and professor of American cultural history at Cornell, explains how pride of place and pride of possession were at stake and rivalries between regions, states, and families often determined the final resting place of the famous.

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This Is a Soul by Marilyn Berger '56 (Morrow). Berger, a contributing writer at the New York Times, tells the story of Dr. Rick Hodes's work with impoverished children. Hodes first went to Ethiopia as a medical relief worker during the 1984 famine. In 1990, he oversaw the medical care of several thousand Ethiopian Jews who immigrated to Israel. He stayed in the country and is now the director of the Joint Distribution Committee's medical programs and an attending physician at Mother Teresa's Mission in Addis Ababa, where he specializes in treating tuberculosis of the spine, heart disease, and cancer.

Science vs. Religion by Elaine Howard Ecklund '95, PhD '04 (Oxford). Are science and religion diametrically opposed? "Much of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong," says Ecklund, associate director of the Rice University Institute for Urban Research. "The 'insurmountable hostility' between science and religion is a caricature, a thought-cliché, perhaps useful as a satire on groupthink, but hardly representative of reality." She hopes that dispelling the myths religious people believe about scientists and the misconceptions scientists hold about religious people will foster understanding and help bring our pluralistic nation closer together.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer '94 (Knopf). In her first novel, the author of the collection How to Breathe Underwater balances youthful expectations against the tragedy of war. Andras Lévi leaves Hungary for Paris in 1937 to study architecture, and there he falls in love with Claire Morgenstern, a ballet teacher whose past holds a terrible secret. When war approaches, the visas of all Hungarian Jews are revoked and Andras must return to Budapest, where he is separated from Claire and conscripted into the Hungarian Labor Service. Despite hardship and deprivation, Andras's love for Claire sustains him.

Spider Silk by Leslie Brunetta and Catherine L. Craig, PhD '85 (Yale). The vertical orb web spun by the heroine of Charlotte's Web combines four kinds of silk, but some spiders can produce up to eight. All spiders make silk, and it has remarkable qualities. Its tensile strength is greater than steel and as strong as Kevlar. It can stretch more than twice its length without breaking, and it's tougher than the strongest man-made polymer. Craig, an evolutionary biologist and arachnologist, and her co-author trace 400 million years of spiders "spinning, waiting, snagging, and mating."

Fiction

Cold Snap by Cynthia Morrison Phoel '94 (Southern Methodist). The linked stories in Phoel's debut collection reveal the hardships, quarrels, longings, and endurance of the townsfolk in a Bulgarian village.

Non-Fiction

The Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University: A History and Personal Reflections by Malden C. Nesheim, PhD '59 (eCommons@Cornell). The provost emeritus and professor emeritus of nutrition provides a history of the study of nutrition and the pioneering faculty at Cornell. Available online at http://hdl.handle.net/ 1813/14711.

Kissing the Mask by William T. Vollmann '81 (Ecco). The National Book Award-winning novelist and essayist uses Japanese Noh drama as the springboard for a meditation on the nature of feminine beauty.

American Foreign Policy by Bruce Jentleson '73, PhD '83 (Norton). A professor of public policy and political science at Duke offers a framework for understanding current U.S. foreign relations strategies. This updated fourth edition includes changes introduced during the Obama Administration.

Reckoning with Pinochet by Steve J. Stern '73 (Duke). A history professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, examines Chile's struggle to confront General Pinochet's legacy of political violence and human rights abuses.

Losing Our Religion by S. E. Cupp '00 (Threshold). A television commentator and political columnist for the New York Daily News contends that the mainstream media promote an anti-Christian agenda.

Crossing the Hudson by Donald E. Wolf '48, BArch '51 (Rivergate). A civil engineer explores the history of the Hudson River's bridges and tunnels, from early timber arch and truss structures to the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the Tappan Zee and Newburgh-Beacon bridges.

Politics in China edited by William A. Joseph '69 (Oxford). A collection of essays examines the People's Republic of China's transformation from one of the world's poorest countries to an economic powerhouse.

Eat, Sleep, Poop by Scott W. Cohen '96 (Scribner). An award-winning pediatrician offers commonsense advice for parents on what to expect during their baby's first year.

Modernism in the Magazines by Robert Scholes, PhD '59, and Clifford Wulfman (Yale). A professor of modern culture and media at Brown and his co-author analyze the role of early twentieth-century popular and literary magazines in the development of modern culture.

Materials, Methods, and Masterpieces of Medieval Art by Janetta Rebold Benton, BFA '67 (Praeger). The color of many medieval paintings, books, and tapestries has faded over time. A professor of art history at Pace University identifies the materials used in creating the Book of Kells, the Bayeux Tapestry, and works of van Eyck and Giotto.

The Smart Parent's Guide to Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg '89, with Ron Geraci and Eileen Norris (Free Press). The chief pediatric officer for RealAge.com discusses the best ways for parents to make health-care decisions for their children.

The Next Wave of Technologies by Phil Simon, MILR '97, et al. (Wiley). The author of Why New Systems Fail and his co-authors address the opportunities and pitfalls of social networking, open source software, cloud computing, and other new information technologies.

Climate Change—Past, Present & Future by Warren D. Allmon et al. (Paleontological Research Institution). A professor of pale-ontology at Cornell and his co-authors address the complexities of climate science and "the lack of understanding of the nature of the scientific process and scientific conclusions."

Health Care Turning Point by Roger Battistella (MIT). A professor emeritus of policy analysis and management at Cornell argues against single-payer health-care coverage.

The Experience Effect by Jim Joseph '85 (Amacom). The president of Lippe Taylor Brand Communications presents up-to-date advice for marketers on how to create a consistent brand experience.

Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909 by Edward F. Levine '84 (Arcadia). A collector features vintage exhibition cards from the tercentennial of Henry Hudson's discovery of the Hudson River and the centennial of Fulton's steamboat.

Online Interviews in Real Time by Janet Salmons '83 (Sage). A business professor at Capella University examines the way the Internet is changing interview practices.

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