Professor of French and Milwaukee-Downer College and College Endowment Association Professor
Recommended for those who wish to keep up their French, “Grandir” offers a good example of the celebrated wit and beauty of the French language. In this gentler and more uplifting variation on Simone de Beauvoir’s “Une Mort très douce,” Sophie Fontanel writes about caring for her elderly mother. Fontanel’s underlying claim – not terribly original, to be sure – is that the child becomes parent to her aging parent. What is original in these short bursts of anecdote and reflection is Fontanel’s recognition that her mother, even in decline, makes discoveries about life that can astonish her daughter. A tender, wise little book.
Professor of anthropology
In 1951, Henrietta Lacks walked into Johns Hopkins Hospital complaining of vaginal pain and bleeding. A physician found a cervical tumor and took a biopsy. The tumor was cancerous. Nine months later Lacks was dead. Her tumor lives on. Indeed, her tumor is arguably the most widespread living thing on earth. Virtually every cell biology lab in the world has several million copies of HeLa — as these cells are called — either purposefully or by contamination, for which they are notorious. More than 60,000 scientific articles have been written about them. HeLa were instrumental in testing the polio vaccine, were the foundation for many advancements in understanding cell structure and function and have been become indispensable to drug development and testing.
And yet Henrietta Lacks’s husband and children knew nothing about her cells or their importance until 1973, when contacted by Yale University researchers who wanted cells from HeLa relatives for comparative genomics. In 1951, as is the case still today, tissue voluntarily removed from an individual becomes the property of the person who removed it. Johns Hopkins “owns” HeLa. They have given copies of HeLa away for half a century. Do they, therefore, “own” Henrietta Lacks? Should they be able to give away copies of someone’s cells without explicit permission? Should they notify relatives about the use of their deceased loved one’s cells? If a company profits from someone’s cells, should the person get royalties (courts have repeatedly said no)? This book raises those questions, and many more.
Associate professor of economics
Economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) is best known for characterizing capitalism as a “process of creative destruction,” with new ideas, new products, new markets and new organizational forms displacing the old, and entrepreneurs playing a starring role. With innovation at the fore of business and policy discussions, Schumpeter has recently reemerged as an important figure. McCraw masterfully captures Schumpeter’s intellectual contributions, and even offers a provocative interpretation of the 1942 classic, “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy.”
But Schumpeter wasn’t just a big brain, and the biography also offers a portrait of a notoriously colorful character. By his 40th birthday, for example, Schumpeter had already “played many parts — boy genius, Austrian aristocrat, English gentleman, Cairo attorney, Viennese economist, university professor, minister of finance, investment banker, socialite and free-spirited Casanova.”
For those celebrating Lawrence’s theme year of “Innovation through Collaboration,” this is a great read.
JANE PARISH YANG
Associate professor of Chinese
Leslie Chang, former Wall Street Journal correspondent in China, writes about the incredibly dynamic, huckster Wild West capitalism in the southern factory town of Dongguan near the Chinese border with Hong Kong. But the book is also an intimate portrait of the women who leave their rural villages to work, remake themselves and get ahead. In one chapter, “The Village,” Chang follows a young worker to her home over the New Year’s holiday and describes how Chinese family dynamics are altered when it is a female who holds economic power over her parents.
Professor of history and Robert S. French Professor of American Studies
Robert Kennedy’s raw, haunted 1968 campaign for the presidency was like no other, before or since. Quoting Aeschylus and Camus, racing the ghost of his dead brother, Kennedy challenged Americans to imagine their country in radically new ways. Thurston Clarke captures the atmosphere of hope and doom surrounding RFK, as well as the what-could-have-beens that will forever attach to his life, in a moving book that reminds us of what we have lost. Had he lived, Robert Kennedy would be 84 years old today.
Rashne Rustom Jehangir ‘93
Jehangir offers readers a rich understanding of the experience of students who are first in their family to attend college. Her book contends that first-generation students (FG) are isolated and marginalized at many large college campuses and considers learning communities and critical multicultural pedagogies as vehicles to cultivate community, voice and place for this new majority of students. This book is a theoretically informed study of the lived experience of FG students and draws on their voices to demonstrate how their insights interface with what educators think they know about them.
Rosemary Freeman Lehman ’55, co-author
The authors have created a resource that shows how a strong sense of online presence contributes to greater student satisfaction and retention. The book explores the psychological and social aspects of online presence from both the instructor and student perspective and provide and instructional design framework for developing effective online learning.
Jack H. Morris ‘60
Newmont Mining, the world’s second-largest gold miner and a Fortune 500 company, is the link between the early days of gold mining and today’s technology-driven industry. Morris tells the story of discovery and advances in technology, strong-willed leaders, corporate raiders such as T. Boone Bickens and Jimmy Goldsmith, a lawyer who read a poem in Russian to win access to gold in Uzbekistan, attempted shakedowns by the Indonesian government and the monumental battle with the French over control of the richest gold mine in Peru. He also examines Newmont’s environmental record and its struggle learning to operate under new standards of social responsibility.
Richard Bressler ‘75
Bressler explores the life of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, one of the most remarkable personalities of the Middle Ages. Born in 1194 to the reigning Holy Roman Emperor and the heiress to the Kingdom of Sicily, Frederick II went on to rule the joint kingdom in spite of being condemned by Pope Gregory IX.
and “A Return Journey”
Sue Matthews Petrovski ‘54
Petrovski’s “Wild Apples” examines the self as a blank piece of paper affected by every life event, large or small. The book describes love found in a potato patch, a cup of tea with a friend and what a grown woman can learn from Winnie the Pooh. It will inspire readers to look at the events of their lives more carefully, using them to help shape a personal life philosophy.
In “A Return Journey,” Petrovski provides a unique look at the environment of Alzheimer’s by discussing the true survivors left behind to deal with the disease’s aftermath: the caregivers. Offering caregivers hope, support and a sense of oneness, “A Return Journey” demonstrates that as painful as it is to watch a loved one vanish bit by bit, there is grace and wisdom to be found on the way.
Paul Sise ‘97
A book for beginning fencers that doesn’t impose one method, but fills in the blanks, supplementing foil classes and beginner instruction with helpful hints, reminders and reviews of what the fencer has already been taught. Sise’s text doesn’t read like a textbook, but has a conversational tone that stays informative but simple.
“Of Fences and Fields of Harvest”
Ralph Freeman ‘56
“Of Fences” is a collection of Freeman’s hymn texts and poems. Composers throughout the United States who write music to the words have used his book as a text source. The resulting hymns and choral pieces, along with many of Freeman’s subsequent writings, have been published both in the United States and internationally.
Michael Johnson ‘75
Johnson’s book serves two purposes: to detail the personal triumphs, tribulations, joys, and sorrows of the Johnson family in Kenya; and to bring to light the cultural and racial imperialism in Christian missionary work.
“Scholarly Writing: Ideas, Examples, and Execution”
Jessica Wherry Clark ’96, co-author
This book guides students through the process of constructing their legal research papers, from topic selection to finishing the final product.
Marte Brengle ‘72
Brengle’s first novel in a series about the fictional town of Lyric, Iowa, and long-time resident Ruth Peyton, who thinks she has everything she needed until mysterious strangers arrive and everything began to change.
Rick Davis ’80, co-author
This compact book depicts Henrik Ibsen in the context of social, historical and political events of his day, other writers of influence, and his personal life giving readers a deep understanding of Ibsen and the plays he wrote. “Ibsen in an Hour” is part of a series of short books called “Playwrights in an Hour.”