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Bookshelf: Spring 2010


Ancient Greek Lyrics

Willis Barnstone '48, distinguished professor emeritus of comparative literature and Spanish and Portuguese at Indiana University, Bloomington, has published nearly 60 books of poetry, scholarship, translation, and memoir. Ancient Greek Lyrics collects his translations of Greek lyric poetry, including the most complete Sappho in English, and a representative sampling of all the significant poets from the Classical to the Byzantine period, as well as a glossary and updated bibliography. A New Letters review describes Barnstone as “one of the greatest translators of literary expression from a foreign language into English.” Indiana University Press, 2009.

An interview from Bowdoin magazine, Fall 2004.
Willis Barnstone's Web site


The Restored New Testament: A New Translation with Commentary, Including the Gnostic Gospels Thomas, Mary, and Judas

In this re-translation of the New Testament from the original Greek, Willis Barnstone '48 aims to restore the Jewish and Greek roots of Jesus and his followers, obscured by centuries of mistranslation. Barnstone conserves the original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew, and he renders much of the text in original poetic 'song' or incantatory blank verse that references its oral origins. "Willis Barnstone's Restored New Testament is the Samson attempt of one great scholar and translator to knock down ancient pillars of error, injustice and persecution," wrote reviewer Jeff Simon of the Buffalo News, who called the collection one of the two most important books of 2009. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2009.

Full Jeff Simon review

Bowdoin News
Library Journal interview


Approaching Ice

This second collection by Elizabeth Bradfield, a former Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University, was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, which recognizes the best book of American poetry in a calendar year. Bradfield is a naturalist as well as a poet, and has worked and traveled extensively in the Arctic. Approaching Ice concerns itself with Arctic and Antarctic exploration, and includes poems about Robert Peary, Class of 1877; Donald MacMillan, Class of 1898; and MacMillan's assistant Matthew Henson. "The obsession kicked off many years ago, since I read Lansing's Endurance," Bradfield explains. "The MacMillan obsession is more recent, and springs from finishing that book. Living in Alaska, I wanted to write about the Arctic from a more personal stance. The poems of Approaching Ice largely are written from imagination/reading/vicarious travel. Before Alaska, I lived for five years in Provincetown on Cape Cod. MacMillan grew up there, and when I realized that, I thought maybe I could work toward writing poems that had a personal stake in them as well as a historic investigation." Persea Books, 2010.

Bradfield's Web site

Listen to poet Elizabeth Bradfield read her poem "Matthew Henson, 1909"...
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The Atlantic Century: Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats who Forged America’s Vital Alliance with Europe

Kenneth Weisbrode '91, Vincent Wright Fellow in History at the European University Institute, traces the diplomatic relationship of America's post-World War II keystone alliance with Europe. It is the first major historical study to re-examine the trans-Atlantic partnership with emphasis on the personalities, including Dean Acheson, W. Averell Harriman, and Henry Kissinger, behind the policy. Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, calls the text "beautifully written and thoroughly researched." Da Capo, 2009.


The Basics of Practical Optimization

This textbook by Professor and Chair of the Mathematics Department Adam Levy, provides undergraduat students with an introduction to optimization and its uses for relevant and realistic problems. Levy presents step-by-step solutions for five prototypical examples that fit the general optimization model, along with instruction on using numerical methods to solve models and making informed use of the results. It includes information on how to optimize while accommodating various practical concerns; three fundamentally different approaches to optimizing functions under constraints; and ways to handle the special case when the variables are integers. The book also includes four levels of learn-by-doing activities. The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2009.


A Bird-Finding Guide to Costa Rica

In his companion guide to The Birds of Costa Rica (Garrigues and Dean), Barrett Lawson '05 describes 53 of the best birding destinations in Costa Rica. With nearly a third of its land area protected in national parks, reserves, and refuges – the greatest percentage of national preserved land worldwide – Costa Rica's tropical regions support an abundant fauna including over 820 species of birds. Praised by professional birders for its organization and detailed description of popular birding locales accompanied by sample itineraries, this guide is relevant to both expert and novice birders. Cornell University Press, 2009.


Grammy nominated BMOP/sound's release of Chamber Concerto’s I-VI, features the six chamber concertos composed thus far by Robert K. Beck Professor of Music Emeritus Elliott Schwartz. "These six works can be thought of as different strategies for dealing with the 'concerto' principle – six variations, not on a theme, but on a genre," explains Schwartz. Each concerto reflects the influence of mid-20th-century Modernism and Schwartz's career as a writer, performer, and teacher for 43 years at the College. The internationally regarded composer is the recipient of awards from both the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP)/sound, 2009.

Listen to clips from Elliott Schwartz's "Chamber Concertos I-VI"...
From "Chamber Concerto III"...
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From "Chamber Concerto IV"...
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Dangerous Economies: Status and Commerce in Imperial New York

Serena Zabin '71 recounts the history of New York as a British colony in the eighteenth century. On the fringe of an empire, enslaved Africans rubbed elbows with white indentured servants while the elite strove to maintain ties with European genteel culture. Zabin analyzes economic growth as a cultural phenomenon in addition to a fiscal one. In doing so, she explains the course of events and fears that lead to the execution of thirty slaves and deportation of one hundred colony members in 1741 after being found guilty of planning a revolt. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.


Dark Berries

Of this new poetry chapbook by Clifford Bernier '81, poet David Gewanter writes: "Yeats twice sailed to Byzantium - on paper.  But what songs are brought back by a truly traveled man‚ who wanders the world, and who has read and thought?...For Clifford Bernier, strangeness and passion move between primordial waters‚ and the frieze of the stars. Imagination's growth, and the body's lethal growth, compete in Dark Berries - compete for blood in the bone of the spine of the book." Pudding House Publications, 2009.

Listen to a podcast of Cliff Bernier (and David Gewanter) read their poems, courtesy of The Library of Congress.


Earth Sweet

Judith McCombs writes of Earth Sweet, the latest poetry chapbook from Cliff Bernier '81: "Bernier's savvy, post-Edenic vision is both pre-national and trans-national; and, like Whitman and Snyder, deeply, profoundly American." Finishing Line Press, 2010.


DES Daughters: Embodied Knowledge and the Transformation of Women's Health Politics

A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences Susan Bell recounts the experiences of millions of women who, from the 1940s-70s, were exposed prenatally to the synthetic estrogen DES, thought to prevent miscarriages. The 'DES daughters' later developed a rare form of vaginal cancer or became infertile. Bell examines the hierarchy of knowledge and power of scientists, doctors, and daughters through the emergence of a feminist health movement. The author writes with "sensitivity and intelligence" as she "brings the reader close to the people she writes about," remarks Phil Brown, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at Brown University. Temple University Press, 2009.


Full Speed Ahead, with a Twinkle in Her Eye: The Life and Legacy of Kate Ireland

David Treadwell '64 narrates the life and many accomplishments of Kate Ireland, a lifelong volunteer whose positions range from Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Berea College to Chairman of the Health Alliance of the South. Having received honors or awards from multiple academic and business institutions, including Allegheny College and the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, Kate has demonstrated both dedication to philanthropic causes and natural born leadership. In this biography, Treadwell follows her life journey from Cleveland to Kentucky to Maine; meeting the many people she has touched along the way. Kate Ireland, 2009.


The Girl of the Early Race

This collection of poetry by Deborah Boe '76 is a long awaited addition to her critically acclaimed 1987 debut book Mojave. Thomas Simmons of the University of Iowa wrote of Boe's work: "Boe's style has the terseness and out-of-left-field vividness of Louise Gluck’s best work, but she has a sharper grip on the immediate situation: her poems of love and abuse against the setting of the desert are as shockingly humane as any I have read." The publication is a true Bowdoin alumni effort, edited by Scott Davis '75, and published by Eric Luft '74. Gegensatz Press, 2009.


Imagining Jewish Art

Aaron Rosen '01 explores modern Jewish painters’ expression of religious identity through a primarily non-Jewish artistic past. The author departs from traditional scholarly critique of Biblical subjects to examine some of the great works of Western art history through Jewish eyes. Included are Matthias Grünewald’s 'Isenheim Altarpiece' re-imagined by Marc Chagall, traces of Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca in Philip Guston, and images by Diego Velázquez and Paul Cézanne reworked by R.B. Kitaj. Rosen's analysis of individual artists further suggests art’s role as a key resource in rethinking fundamental Jewish concepts of family, tradition, and homeland. Legenda, 2009.


Intellectual Property and Computer Crimes

Intellectual Property & Computer Crimes by Peter J. Toren '81 contains an analysis of intellectual property and computer crimes laws in the United States with particular emphasis on criminal copyright, trademark theft of trade secrets and computer intrusions. The book is particularly timely as companies and the federal government has placed increasing emphasis on protecting intellectual capital. Peter was a federal prosecutor for seven years and was one of the first trial attorneys with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice. Law Journal Press, 2003; updated 2009.


The Kalinvar Tapes: As Recorded by James Wescott

The debut novel by John D. Davis '52, author of five previous books, The Kalinvar Tapes, is a fictional account of James Wescott, a CIA agent who becomes involved in events leading to the discovery of an alien base on the Moon. An Apollo-like expedition is mounted, of which Wescott is one of three participating awtronauts led by Russian Nicholai Kalinvar. The expedition lands on the Mare Crisiuim area of the Moon, finds an abandoned base, and returns to Earth with hundreds of audio tapes--The Kalinvar Tapes. An international program involving the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union attempts to translate the Tapes. This leads to much international intrigue and ultimately causes the death of Wescott's two astronaut companions, forcing Wescott and a female associate to flee to Thailand to continue studying the few remaining Tapes. Their journey appears to end with destruction of Korean Airlines flight 007 by attacking Soviet jets on August 31, 1983, but a possibility remains that they may have survived. J.D. Davis, 2008.


The Likeness of the King: A Prehistory of Portraiture in Late Medieval France

Associate Professor of Art History Stephen Perkinson offers up this insightful work of scholarship on late-medieval portraiture that challenges the tendency of recent scholarship to identify likenesses of historical personages as "the first modern portraits." Through an examination of well-known images of the fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century kings of France, as well as largely overlooked objects such as wax votive figures and royal seals, Perkinson demonstrates that changes evident in these images do not constitute a revolutionary break with the past, but instead are continuous with late medieval representational traditions. The University of Chicago Press, 2009.


The Lost Arts of Modern Civilization

This book by Mitchell Kalpakgian '63 examines the humanizing, civilizing, personal nature of traditional customs and arts that have become less common and normative in a culture dominated by electronic media and computer technology. These lost arts are hospitality, letter-writing, conversation, the enjoyment of people, the habit of pleasing, courtship, and tasteful attire--arts that adorn ordinary life and rescue it from becoming drab and banal. Without the habits and manners instilled by these lost arts, the simple pleasures that created the art of living become rare experiences rather than natural events. Neumann Press, 2009.


Lost Souls: Stories by Hwang Sunwon

Translated into English by Bruce Fulton '70 and Ju-Chan Fulton, Lost Souls is comprised of three story collections, dating from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, by Korea's preeminent short-fiction writer. The stories are variously modernist sketches of life in Korea under Japanese colonial rule; realistic accounts of the chaotic period following the end of the Pacific War and Korea's liberation from imperial Japan; and variations on the theme of the dangers of moral transgression in a highly structured society. Columbia University Press, 2009.


Lucy Finds Her Moo

Marie Jo Wade '04 narrates the story of Lucy, a cow with a serious problem: she doesn't know how to moo! Join Lucy as she visits various animals on the farm to find someone who can teach her. Tate Publishing, 2009.


Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria

Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies Kristen Ghodsee narrates the reconfiguration of gender identity in a Bulgarian Muslim community following the demise of Communism and an influx of international aid from the Islamic world. In her description of the replacement of mines by mosques as masculine arenas in a small Slavic Muslim town, Ghodsee intimates how global movements can affect the daily life of small communities. As stated by Sonya Michael of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, this book engages "all seeking to understand the nature and appeal of religion in modern spaces." Princeton University Press, 2009.


Muslim Societies in the Age of Mass Consumption

Michael Hastings-Black '00 contributed a chapter to this anthology edited by Johanna Pink about the intersection of consumerism and Islam. His essay, "American-Muslim Identity: Advertising, Mass Media & New Media," examines how advertising in the United States influences the pop-culture identities of religious and ethnic minorities. To be targeted by marketers is an invitation to join in the national narrative of capitalism. To shop is to be an American. Hastings-Black looks at Muslim identity within American media and how these arenas engage the act of cultural citizenship and the process of "being and or becoming American." Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.


Organic Structure Determination Using 2-D NMR Spectroscopy: A Problem-Based Approach

This textbook authored by Jeff Simpson '86 introduces the conceptual framework and practice of two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy applied to organic molecules. The book contains many 2D spectra to provide the reader with ample opportunity to try their own hand at spectral interpretation, and is designed for upper level undergraduates as well as graduate students. Elsevier/Academic, July 2008.


Otaku: Japan's Database Animals by Hiroki Azuma

In Japan, obsessive adult fans and collectors of manga and anime are known as otaku. Today otaku have had a huge impact on popular culture not only in Japan but also throughout the world. Hiroki Azuma's Otaku offers a critical, philosophical, and historical inquiry into the characteristics and consequences of this consumer subculture. For Azuma, one of Japan’s leading public intellectuals, otaku culture mirrors the transformations of postwar Japanese society and the nature of human behavior in postmodernity. Otaku is a vital non-Western intervention in postmodern culture and theory and has been translated into English by Jonathan Abel and Shion Kono '95. University of Minnesota Press, 2009.


Political Economy and the States of Literature in Early Modern England

Crossing the disciplinary borders between political, religious, and economic history, Associate Professor of English Aaron W. Kitch's innovative new study demonstrates how 16th century treatises and debates about trade influenced early modern English literature by shaping key formal and aesthetic concerns of authors between 1580 and 1630. Kitch draws on an impressive combination of archival research and close reading in a range of subjects—from the herring trade to bills of exchange—to interpret the economic metaphors and assumptions of authors including Spenser, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Middleton, and Jonson. Ashgate, 2009.


William Shakespeare: The Comedies (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)

Associate Professor of English Aaron W. Kitch also has an essay in this edition from Bloom's Modern Critical Views, edited by Harold Bloom. Titled "Shylock's Sacred Nation," the essay originally appeared in Shakespeare Quarterly. It examines the historical emergence of Jewish trading nations who defined themselves in terms of their capacity to aid cities and states like Venice, Prague, Amsterdam, and the Netherlands in trade. "Defining the Jewish nation in trade allowed for new kinds of citizenship (or, technically, 'denizenship') to emerge," Kitch writes, "which encouraged new ways of thinking about Jews in relation to Christians." The second half of the essay explores the connotations of the Jewish "nation" in Marlowe's Jew of Malta and Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Bloom's Literary Criticism, 2009.


Race and Reconciliation in America

In July 2008, William S. Cohen '62, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and his wife Janet Langhart Cohen, an Emmy-nominated journalist, author, playwright and communications specialist, sponsored a conference tackling the legacy of racial oppression in the United States. Featuring participants such as Douglas Blackmon, Deepak Chopra, Sam Donaldson and the Honorable John Lewis, the forum produced honest and constructive discussion working towards the achievement of a more fair and just society. This book is a textual arrangement of the conference's conversations. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2009.

Learn more and continue the discussion


Red to Green: Environmental Activism in Post-Soviet Russia

Assistant Professor of Government Laura A. Henry spent more than a year conducting fieldwork in five regions of Russia to identify the contradictory trends influencing grassroots environmental movements in the post-Soviet period. At the heart of Henry's examination is a fascination with the ability of individuals to protest, organize and work for political change. Drawing on in-depth interviews with activists, she illustrates how green organizations have pursued their goals by "recycling" Soviet-era norms, institutions, and networks and used them in combination with transnational ideas, resources, and partnerships. Henry details how grassroots organizations use the limited economic and political opportunities that are available to them, and when they are able to influence policy and political practice. Cornell University Press, 2010.

From Bowdoin News: Karofsky Prize

From Bowdoin News: Fulbright Fellowship


Roads In

The Milkman's Union is Henry Jamison '10 on guitar and vocals, Akiva Zamcheck '09 on guitar, Sean Weathersby '10 on bass, and Peter McLaughlin '10 on drums. Roads In,, their first album as a band, was recorded on campus in Studzinski Recital Hall. The album was mixed by Technical Director of Studzinski Recital Hall, Chris Watkinson, who as an engineer has worked with James Taylor, The Dropkick Murphys, and Josh Ritter, among others. 2009.

The Milkman's Union Web site

Listen to The Milkman's Union play their song "Emerald Flares"...
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The Runner's Cookbook

The Runner's Cookbook features over one hundred recipes submitted by many of the world's elite distance runners. Compiled by Alison Wade '97, head cross-country coach at Sienna College, recipes range from those aimed to maximize performance and recovery to post-workout indulgence. Dishes range in preparation difficulty from simplistic and time efficient to sophisticated enough to satiate advanced chefs. Contributors include Joan Benoit Samuelson '79, Sebastian Coe, Shalane Flanagan, Alan Webb, Sarah Hall and many others. All proceeds are donated to the Ryan Shay Memorial Fund and the Jenny Crain "Make it Happen" Fund. Lulu.com, 2008.

The Runner's Cookbook Web site


The Scroll and the Marble: Studies in Reading and Reception in Hellenistic Poetry

Peter Bing '76, Professor of Classics at Emory University, explores poetry's accommodation of a variety of audiences during the Hellenistic age. "While people of previous ages relied on public performance as their chief means of experiencing poetry, the Hellenistic age developed what one may term a culture of reading. This was the first era in which poets consciously shaped their works with an eye toward publication and reception not just on the civic stage but in several media—in performance, on inscribed monuments, in scrolls. The essays in Peter Bing's collection explore how poetry accommodated various audiences and how these audiences in turn experienced the text in diverse ways. Over the years, Bing's essays have focused on certain Hellenistic authors and genres—particularly on Callimachus and Posidippus and on epigram. His themes, too, have been broadly consistent. Thus, although the essays in The Scroll and the Marble span some twenty years, they offer a coherent vision of Hellenistic poetics as a whole." (From the publisher.) University of Michigan Press, 2009.


Social Capital in Developing Democracies: Nicaragua and Argentina Compared

This book by Leslie E. Anderson '79 explores the contribution of social capital to the process of democratization and the limits of that contribution.  Drawing on extensive field work in Nicaragua and Argentina and on elite interviews and public opinion data, Anderson finds that in Nicaragua strong, positive, bridging social capital has enhanced democratization, while in Argentina the legacy of Peronism has created bonding and non-democratic social capital that undermines the development of democracy.  In the absence of democratic social capital, Argentina must turn to an alternative resource, institutional capital, to develop its democracy. Cambridge University Press, 2010.


Spirits of the Place: Buddhism and Lao Religious Culture

John C. Holt, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies, has published an important new study of religious culture in Laos offering account of the country's entwined political and religious history from the 14th century to the contemporary era. He advances the argument that common Lao knowledge of Theravada Buddhism has been heavily conditioned by an indigenous religious culture of spirit worship that has withstood synthesis, subordination, and transformation by Buddhist political and ecclesiastical powers. It is the first new scholarly look at Lao religion in almost 40 years.University of Hawaii Press, 2009.

From Bowdoin News


A True Liberal Arts Education

With two co-authors from China — Lin Nie, a student at Franklin and Marshall College, and Li Wan at Bucknell — Yongfang Chen '10 writes about his academic journey and life experiences in A True Liberal Arts Education, a book published in Chinese. Chen interviewed various administrators, including President Barry Mills, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, and Associate Dean of Admissions John Thurston. An English appendix offers a question-and-answer section with President Mills, in which he's asked what liberal arts colleges have to offer. China Publishing Group, 2009.

From Bowdoin News


Waves from a Time-Zoned Brain: Flashes of Place and Memory

This collection of poems by John E. Simonds '57 represents several decades of writing by the retired Honolulu newsman. A former east coast and midwest resident, he has been living in Hawaii since 1970, where he first began to write poetry. Simonds describes his aim in writing to "go beyond opening an eclectic time capsule or an album of verse anecdotes to provide new life to experience" Author House, 2009.

Email the author


The Weltschmerz Plan

In this satire, originally written but not published in the 1960s, Henry S. Maxfield '45 narrates the attempt of Herr Professor Doktor Adolph Kopfschmerz von Weltschmerz to persuade the Russians to install an atomic bomb of his design and manufacture in a New York subway as their guarantee of world peace. Southwick House, 2009.

Henry Maxfield's Web site


Your Money or Your Life: A Practical Guide to Managing and Improving Your Financial Life

A frequent guest on NPR and star of multiple BBC TV series, Alvin Hall '74 deconstructs sound financial planning into basic principles in his latest work. Called an "international financial expert" by the Radio Times, Hall provides a framework for developing strategies towards building financial security. This guide to mastering the basics of personal finance is the latest installment of advice from the prolific finance advisor. Simon and Schuster, Inc., 2009.

From the Bowdoin Daily Sun
From Bowdoin News
Alvin Hall's Web site

Meet the author and hear about another of his recent books, You and Your Money: