#b#Non-Fiction: Public Affairs/Politics#/b#

William G. Bowen & Michael S. McPherson, “Lesson Plan: An Agenda for Change in American Higher Education,” Princeton University Press. www.press.princeton.edu

American higher education does face serious problems but Bowen and McPherson demonstrate that many of the so-called crises are over stated or simply false. The perception is that typical students are drowning in debt and tuition increases are driven by administrative bloat.

However, many real problems such as high dropout rate and inefficient faculty staffing have been given short shrift. William Bowen and Michael McPherson assess the biggest challenges confronting higher education and propose an agenda for restructuring elements of the system to meet them.

James Axtell of the College of William and Mary writes that “this short book is big in design, research, and smarts. After winnowing the key issues in American higher education from the noisy multitude, Bowen and McPherson apply the latest data to clarify each before offering a series of astute suggestions for solving them. Their lesson plan should be required reading for every academic administrator and trustee in the country.”

Bowen, president of Princeton from 1972 to 1988, is president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the founding chairman of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that works improve teaching and learning through the use of digital technologies. He is also the author of Higher Education in the Digital Age, published by Princeton University Press.

Michael S. McPherson is president of the Spencer Foundation, former president of Macalester College, and the author of many books.

David Greenberg, “The Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency,” W. W. Norton and Company. www.wwnorton.com

Presidential historian David Greenberg explores the rise of the White House spin machine, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama. He delves into the tools and techniques of image making and message craft work. Bob Woodward, associate editor of the Washington Post, says that The Republic of Spin shows that behind the power to persuade is the power to inform-and also to mislead.

Greenberg is an associate professor of History and of Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers and a frequent commentator on contemporary politics and public affairs. He is also the author of “Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image.”

Peter Conti-Brown, “The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve,” Princeton University Press. www.press.princeton.edu

Princeton PhD candidate Peter Conti-Brown is assistant professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. This new book uses scores of examples from the Fed’s history to show that much common wisdom about the nation’s central bank is inaccurate.

Conti-Brown explores the Fed’s place in government, its internal governance structure, and its relationships to such individuals and groups as the president, Congress, economists, and bankers. He examines the foundations of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which established a system of central banks, and the ways that subsequent generations have redefined the organization.

Kevin A. Hassett of the Wall Street Journal wrote “A respectable scholar might be shy about engaging in a critical analysis of the Fed for fear of being branded a kook. But Mr. Conti-Brown, a gifted legal historian, bravely enters the foray — and to excellent effect.”

Sean Wilentz, “The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics,” Norton. www.wwnorton.com

Sean Wilentz, professor of history at Princeton University begins his latest works with the statement: “There are two keys to unlocking the secrets of American politics and American political history.” The first premise is that America is built on an egalitarian tradition. In the beginning, Americans believed that extremes between the rich and poor would destroy the nascent republican government. The second is that partisanship is a permanent fixture in America, and Wilentz believes America is better for it.

He posits that every significant egalitarian victory has resulted from a convergence of protest and politics, refined by struggles led by principled and effective party politicians.

Beyond his academic work in politics and history, Wilentz is a contributing editor at the New Republic, where he has written about music and the arts.

David Listokin, Dorothea Berkhout, and James Hughes, “New Brunswick, New Jersey: The Decline and Revitalization of Urban America,” Rutgers University Press. www.rutgerspress.rutgers.edu

New Brunswick has transformed itself at a time when many American cities struggle to stay alive. By adapting to new forms of commerce and a recognizing a changing population, it has enjoyed a renaissance that has led many experts to cite this New Jersey city as a model for urban redevelopment. Featuring more than 100 photographs and many maps, this book explores the history of the city since the 16th century, emphasizing the many changes of the past few decades.

Authors David Listokin, Dorothea Berkhout, and James W. Hughes used oral histories, archival materials, census data, and surveys to explore the decision-making and planning process that led to New Brunswick’s revitalization, describing the major redevelopment projects that demonstrate the city’s success in capitalizing on funding opportunities.

While positing the positive effects of the transformation, the authors delve into the often heated controversies about demolishing older neighborhoods and ask whether new construction benefits residents. By contrasting the successes and failures in downtown revitalization, they reveal the lessons to be learned for national urban policy.

David Listokin is a professor at the Center for Urban Policy Research of Rutgers and has recently been analyzing strategies to quantify the economic benefits of historic preservation. Dorothea Berkhout is an associate dean of Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and has served on several cultural, public, and private boards in New Brunswick. James Hughes is a professor and dean of the Bloustein School.

Lisa Hetfield and Dana Britton, editors, “Junctures in women’s Leadership: Business,” Rutgers University Press. www.rutgerspress.rutgers.edu

Lisa Hetfield, associate director as well as director of development for the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University, and Dana Britton, professor of labor studies and director of the Center for Women and Work also at Rutgers University have studied the lives and strategies of a large, diverse population of women leaders to determine how they have responded to critical leadership challenges.

Junctures in Women’s Leadership: Business addresses the questions of how have women managed to break through the glass ceiling of the business world, and what management techniques do they employ once they rise to power by highlighting the professional accomplishments of 12 women, including Martha Stewart, Chef Alice Waters, Subha Barry of Merrill Lynch, and Madame C. J. Walker. Hetfield and Britton analyze what difficult situations these female business leaders faced, and what strategies they used to resolve those challenges. The book offers a composite portrait of women succeeding in the business world and provides leadership lessons that will benefit readers regardless of gender.

Mary Trigg and Alison Bernstein, editors, “Junctures in Women’s Leadership: Social Movements,” Rutgers University Press. www.rutgerspress.rutgers.edu

Junctures in Women’s Leadership: Social Movements introduces 12 women who spearheaded a wide array of social movements from the 1940s to the present. Their causes range from working for indigenous peoples’ rights, gender equality, reproductive rights, labor advocacy, to environmental justice, and other causes.

Mary Trigg is an associate professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers and serves as director of leadership programs and research at the Institute for Women’s Leadership. Alison Bernstein is a professor of history at Rutgers and director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) Consortium.

Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel and Sarah Tobias, editors, “Trans Studies: The Challenge to Hetero/Homo Normativities,” Rutgers University Press. www.rutgerspress.rutgers.edu

‘Trans Studies brings together some of the most challenging and compelling recent work in the field of transgender studies,” writes Heather Love of the University of Pennsylvania. “The collection includes voices from inside and outside the academy and it makes activists’ contributions central. The fact of this diversity makes the project extremely vibrant: it will have a broad appeal across disciplines and for activists and community members as well.”

Trans Studies is an interdisciplinary essay collection that brings together leading experts to offer insights about how transgender activism and scholarship might transform scholarship and public policy. The book addresses real-world concerns and analyzes the gaps between activism and academia by offering examples of activism, research, and pedagogy.

Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel, a professor of Latino studies and comparative literature at Rutgers, has also taught at Princeton. Sarah Tobias is the associate director of the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers.

David A. Baldwin, “Power and International Relations: A Conceptual Approach,” Princeton University Press. www.press.princeton.edu.

Power and International Relations traces the change in attitude of international relations scholars toward the concept of power since World War 1 through the 1920s and ’30s when it was largely ignored to today. By exploring intellectual history and conceptual analysis, Baldwin examines the increased presence of power in the international relations arena and discusses how realism, neoliberalism, and constructivism treat power.

Baldwin is senior political scientist in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.

Scott Crass, “Statesmen and Mischief Makers,” Xlibris. www.xlibris.com

The period from Kennedy to Reagan was one of tumult, progress and discord. This two volume work details the lives and contributions of numerous participants in the events of the time, participants who may or may not be household names. Family members and aides of many of those profiled have been interviewed.

Crass has been a devoted student of Presidential and Congressional politics since childhood. He earned his B.A. in political science and communications and his masters in counseling from Monmouth University. He lives in South Brunswick.

#b#Down the Shore#/b#

Diane C. Bates, “Superstorm Sandy: The Inevitable Destructions and Reconstruction of the Jersey Shore,” Rutgers University Press, www.Rutgerspress.rutgers.edu

Sandy was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history after Katrina, but the storm was barely over before efforts began to “Restore the Shore.”

Drawing on a variety of resources from environmental sociology, Diane Bates, above left, investigates the question of why people keep building in areas subject to recurring natural disasters. Bates examines the motivations of local business owners, politicians, real estate developers, and residents who have vested interests in the region, exploring why the Shore was developed intensively and why restoration became imperative.

Bates is a professor of sociology at the College of New Jersey. Her primary research interests are in environmental sociology with dual research projects centered on development in Latin America and in New Jersey. She is currently working with colleagues at TCNJ and nationwide to determine if work-family balance and/or the promotion process varies by gender, discipline, or cohort. She also has served as the lead writer and academic consultant for the Trenton Prevention Policy Board, which seeks community-based solutions to curb juvenile delinquency.

Karen O’Neill and Daniel J. Van Abs, “Taking Chances: The Coast after Hurricane Sandy,” Rutgers University Press, www.Rutgerspress.rutgers.edu

Mankind has lived close to the sea for eons. Karen O’Neill and Daniel Van Abs, above right, explore the diverse challenges wrought by Hurricane Sandy and analyzes whether this massive event will change how coastal living and development are managed. Bringing together biologists, urban planners, utilities experts, and climatologists, among others, this work highlights the diverse reactions to the dangers revealed by Sandy.

O’Neill is an associate professor in the department of human ecology at Rutgers. Van Abs is an associate professor of practice in Rutgers’ department of human ecology.


J. Richard Gott, “The Cosmic Web: Mysterious Architecture of the Universe,” Princeton University Press. www.press.princeton.edu.

The Cosmic Web starts with the contributions of modern pioneers of extra-galactic astronomy, such as Edwin Hubble and Fritz Zwicky. During the Cold War, the American school of cosmology favored one distinct a model of the universe and the Soviet school a completely different approach. Gott shares the path of his own solution to the puzzle which began with a high-school science project.

Based on Gott’s own work with many of today’s leading cosmologists, The Cosmic Web describes the telescope surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey that are beginning to transform our understanding of the cosmos, and how the cosmic web holds vital clues to the origins of the universe as well as insights into the next trillion years. David Eicher in Astronomy Magazine calls the book “must reading for anyone interested in cosmology and the universe’s large-scale structure.”

Gott, a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton, discovered exact solutions to Einstein’s field equations for the gravitational field around one cosmic string (in 1985) and two moving cosmic strings (in 1991).

Kurt Stenn, “Hair: A Human History,” Pegasus Books. www.pegasusbooks.com.

Princeton resident Kurt Stenn has over 30 years of expertise studying hair. Most recently, he helped found and served as Chief Scientific Officer for a biotech startup focusing on hair follicle regeneration.

Stenn weaves the history of hair using sources as varied as renaissance merchants’ diaries and interviews with wig makers, modern barbers, and more. Hair is put into context: its history (as tied to textile mills and merchant associations), as a construct for cultural and self-identity, hair as commodity (for everything from the inner lining of tennis balls to an absorbent to clean up oil spills), and hair as evidence in criminology.

Anthony Acciavatti, “Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River,” Applied Research and Design. www.appliedresearchanddesign.com.

The new work by Princeton PhD candidate Acciavatti explores the mythic Ganges River basin. Reaching through some of India’s most densely populated cities, small towns, industrial zones, sacred sites, and mountainous forests, the river has affected the land and the people and vice versa.

Ganges Water Machine is the result of eight years of field and archival research. It is an atlas of the Ganges River basin viewed as a highly engineered landscape. Acciavatti relates the narrative that allowed engineers and planners to realize fantasies previously only imaginable on paper or in myth.

#b#Art & Criticism#/b#

Denis Feeney, “Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature,” Harvard University Press. www.hup.harvard.edu.

The development of Latin literature began with Roman stage productions of plays that represented the first translations of Greek literary texts into another language. Feeney shows how literary translation allowed Romans to transform Greek forms of tragedy, comedy, and epic, into what became Latin literature.

Spanning history from 240 to 140 BCE, Feeney demonstrates that the growth of Latin literature coincided with a period of dramatic change. In 320 BCE, a geographically limited city-state began expanding and over the next 50 years had gone on to conquer all of Italy. During the next century, Rome became dominant in the Mediterranean and at the same time developed a distinct literary and historical tradition.

Feeney is a professor of Latin at Princeton. His book, he says, is “about why Rome developed a literature in Latin when it shouldn’t really have done so.”

Rachel Price, “Planet Cuba: Art, Culture, and the Future of the Island,” Verso Books. www.versobooks.com

Rachel Price, a professor in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University, examines the lives of artists and writers who are drawing a new socio-cultural map of Cuba. Planet/Cuba explores how art and literature have responded to a globalized reality that is grounded in daily concerns such as the possibilities of capitalism and the threats of climate change rather than international politics and the role of the nation’s government.

Publisher’s Weekly says of Planet Cuba, “This meticulously detailed text is a productive exploration of globalized Cuban art and culture.”

Emily Van Buskirk, “Lydia Ginzburg’s Prose: Reality in Search of Literature,” Princeton University Press. www.press.princeton.edu

Emily Van Buskirk is associate professor in the Department of Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages at Rutgers. Her newest work analyzes the writings of Russian writer Lydia Ginzburg (1902-90) who is best known for her Notes from the Leningrad Blockade and for critical studies, such as On Psychological Prose, investigating the problem of literary character in French and Russian novels and memoirs.

This account of Ginzburg’s writing provides the basis of rethinking the experience of Soviet intellectuals and reveals a new understanding of their writing during a the 20th century.

Christy Wampole, “Rootedness: The Ramifications of a Metaphor,” University of Chicago Press. www.press.uchicago.edu

An assistant professor of French at Princeton, Wampole has produced a deeper look at the concept of rootedness and how people perceive themselves as bound to something.

With a focus on this concept’s history in France and Germany, Wampole explores various diverse areas, including the disturbing portrayal of the Jews as an unrooted, and thus unrighteous, people.

Alexander Nehamas, “On Friendship,” Basic Books. www.basicbooks.com

Alexander Nehamas, a professor of philosophy and comparative literature, has taught at Princeton since 1990. The multilingual Nehamas has published and lectured on diverse topics such as classical philosophy, philosophy of art, literary theory, friendship, popular culture, and television.

In a recent Princeton University press release, Nehamas shared his thinking on a number of subjects:

“Feeling happy is not nearly as important as accomplishing something in your life. Nietzsche wrote: “What matters my happiness? What matters to me is my work.” Happiness as I see it is not only the feeling of pleasure with yourself or with life, it’s also the sense that you have actually accomplished something worthwhile.

“I am challenging my students to think about what makes a good life. Nietzsche was thought to have a very bad life because he was completely ignored, he was very sick most of his life, he had continuous migraines, he never found a woman he could marry, he was in love with a woman but she wasn’t interested in him, he had very few friends and had not very much money. So people say, his work is great but his life is terrible. We define the life as everything but the work – and I think that’s a really terrible mistake. But if you include in the life writing all these magnificent books and having all those incredible ideas, is that a bad life? I think that in a way is what happiness may be. Feeling “that’s me” in your work, I think that’s one of the greatest feelings you can have — ever.

“I am also challenging my students to think about what they do for a living. You shouldn’t do something primarily as a means to something else, for example, you shouldn’t do something just as a means to make money. You should do something because you love it. If it’s a kind of thing that brings you money, fine. But to think of what you’ll spend most of your life doing as only a means for something else I think is a very demeaning way to live.

“The questions that undergraduates ask you can be fantastic. They’re really trying to learn how to live. It’s a terrific responsibility. I don’t know that I can actually show them how to live, I don’t think anyone can show people how to live. The best we can do is give them an example of how one can live. Each one has to figure that out by himself. That’s both a Socratic view and a Nietzschean view; it has to come from within.”

Noriko Manabe, “The Revolution Will Not be Televised: Protest Music after Fukushima,” Oxford University Press. www.global.oup.com

Manabe is an assistant professor of music at Princeton. Her research focuses on the study of the relationships between music and social movements, language, new media, and the music business. She works primarily on popular music and on the musics of Japan and Latin America. Her latest monograph is described as an exploration of “the role of musicians in (self) censored environments and the ways they choose to convey their political messages in music in four different performance spaces-cyberspace, demonstrations, festivals, and recordings.”

The Oxford University Press publication statement notes that Manabe shows how the performance and reception of music played at public demonstrations are shaped by the urban geographies of Japanese cities. While short on open public space, urban centers in Japan offer protesters a wide range of governmental and commercial spaces in which to demonstrate, with activist musicians tailoring their performances to the particular landscapes and soundscapes of each.

Manabe plays keyboards, sings, and writes songs for Wayside Shrines, musicians performing original songs based on lyrics by Princeton poet Paul Muldoon.

#b#Hard Truths for Black Liberal Politics#/b#

Eddie Glaude Jr., “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul,” Crown Publishing Group. www.crownpublishing.com

Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard says “Eddie Glaude speaks some hard truths in this important new book. Glaude is the fiercest of thinkers, and this book is a brilliant and crucial prescription for necessary change.”

And Cornel West, Glaude’s colleague at Princeton who now teaches at Union Theological Seminary, has written “this powerful and timely book should shape the framework for a post-Obama America — a bold rejection of black liberal politics and a prophetic call for a revolution of value that reinvigorates our democratic life.”

Glaude teaches in the religion department and chairs the Department of African American Studies at Princeton. In a press release from the university, Glaude provided insights into his thinking on race and family:

“My mother left school in the eighth grade, had her first baby. She worked in fast food restaurants for a while then got a job cleaning toilets at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. She then rose to the level of supervisor of the cleaning detail. My dad was the second African American postman hired by the post office in Pascagoula — my dad’s hometown, the hometown of [former Senator] Trent Lott, and the place where William Faulkner had his honeymoon.

“We were the third black family in the neighborhood when we moved from the east side of Moss Point to the west side – the white side. My dad saw he had precocious kids so he wanted to move. We were now middle class. The police drove by slowly as we were moving in. My dad dangled the keys and said, ‘Yes, I own it.’

“I jumped out of high school after my junior year, but I had been elected the youth governor of the state of Mississippi. It was a huge deal that the youth of Mississippi had elected this black kid youth governor. I was part of the Mississippi delegation at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. I was sitting right there listening to the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ speech by Mario Cuomo. I watched Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, all those folks, all of that conflict, up close. I was on my way to college [Morehouse, Class of 1989] with the idea that I was going to major in political science, become a lawyer, then I was going to come back to Mississippi and run for office. [Instead he earned a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton and began his teaching career at Bowdoin.]

“Princeton is a liberal arts institution at heart. It’s on steroids, but it’s still a liberal arts institution. The power of a liberal arts education is rooted in the claim that we’re all engaged in the art of living. A liberal arts education gives one the resources to think of oneself in the most expansive way.

“If I could tell incoming freshmen one thing, it would be: Try on as many selves as you can.

#b#Pro-Choice, Anti-Violence#/b#

Johanna Schoen, Abortion after Roe (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), http://unc­press.unc.edu

Johanna Schoen, associate professor of history at Rutgers, views the current political controversy and incidents of violence involving Planned Parenthood as the most recent episodes in the ongoing battle over access to reproductive health in the United States.

Schoen has been studying reproductive rights issues since graduate school at the University of North Carolina. Her first book, Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare (University of North Carolina Press, 2005), was based on research that was shared with journalists and resulted in North Carolina becoming the first state to offer restitution to victims of state-ordered sterilizations carried out between 1929 and 1975.

Abortion after Roe, Schoen’s second book, sheds light on the experience of performing and receiving abortion care from its legalization in the 1970s to the rise of the antiabortion movement in the 1980s. Following is an excerpt of an interview by Rutgers Today.

Rutgers Today: How does the 2015 shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs fit into the history of abortion since Roe v. Wade?

Schoen: This is not a new cycle. It follows a long-established link between inflammatory language surrounding the fetus and violence against abortion providers that dates back to the creation of an anti-abortion propaganda campaign in the 1980s, which cast fetuses as babies and people who performed abortions as murderers. In fact, abortion providers do not murder babies, because fetuses are not babies and do not have the developmental capacity to experience their own abortions. Most women who have abortions do not regret them, and the American Psychological Society in 2008 concluded that abortion does not result in negative mental health outcomes for women.

But this false propaganda has been used as a recruiting tool and incitement for violence — harassment of patients and staff, the bombing of abortion clinics, and, starting in the early 1990s, the murder of abortion providers and staff.

Rutgers Today: Your first book was about reproductive issues in general, for men and women. Your most recent book was focused on abortion. How did the first topic lead you to the second one?

Schoen: While I was working on my first book, I met an abortion provider who wanted to donate his papers to an archive. He asked for my help and after surveying his papers, I decided to make his archival collection and others like it the center of my next project. Archival collections documenting the history of legal abortion did not really exist in the early 2000s. I convinced a number of abortion providers to donate their professional papers to archives and began to interview them about their work.

Working on the history of legal abortion sharpened questions about women’s reproductive health care. Researching legal abortion meant that I could try to understand how women and their physicians negotiated women’s most intimate and political health care needs.

Rutgers Today: You maintain that the anti-abortion movement has succeeded in stigmatizing abortion and the people who provide abortion services. Do you see any way for pro-choice advocates to reverse that stigmatization?

Schoen: While there is no immediate solution to the stigmatization of abortion care, women have begun to speak more publicly about their positive abortion experiences. And providers and their supporters have begun to articulate why abortion care is moral work. Education and the ability to discuss the positive aspects of abortion publicly are crucial to our ability to remove the shame and stigma surrounding abortion care, correct the misconceptions, and offer women the opportunity to consider their reproductive choices without the misinformation and shame that currently prevail.

Thomas C. Leonard, “Illiberal Reformers; Race, Eugenics and America Economics in the Progressive Era,” Princeton University Press. press.princeton.edu

Revealing what he calls the “dark side” of U.S progressivism, Leonard explores the influence of Darwinism, racial science, and eugenics on both scholars and activists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He reveals a reform community that at best can be called ambivalent about America’s poor. Economic progressives fought for labor legislation in the hope that it would benefit the deserving poor while excluding immigrants, African Americans, women, and “mental defectives.”

Leonard is research scholar at Princeton University, where he is also lecturer in the Department of Economics.


Jhumpa Lahiri, “In Other Words,” Knopf Doubleday. www.knopfdoubleday.com.

Pulitzer Prize winner and professor of creative writing at Princeton’s Lewis Center, Lahiri has made her nonfiction debut with what is in essence a love story between a writer and a language.

Italian became her passion during a trip to Florence after college. Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery always eluded her. In order to achieve full immersion, she moved to Rome and began reading and writing only in Italian. This work is her autobiography written in Italian and explores how someone can find a complete voice and full expression in a new language. The work is presented in a dual-language format.

Marylou Kelly Streznewski, “Heart Rending-Heart Mending: Saved by Medical Science — Healed by Ancient Wisdom.” www.streznewskiwrites.com.

A retired school teacher and prolific writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, Marylou Kelly Streznewski drew on her own harrowing medical journey for her latest book.

After 18 months of five doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with her, Streznewski awoke one night unable to breathe. She underwent seven hours of open heart surgery that included a replaced mitral valve and a triple bypass. But the main impetus for her book was the realization that during the 18 months leading up to the emergency, the medical community had failed to fully consider the possibility of heart disease as the cause of her symptoms — a course that would have been different if she had been a man.

Streznewski’s memoir aims to educate women about the dangers of heart disease as their number one killer. Using the actual surgeon’s notes, prose, letters, and her own poetry, Streznewski recreates the surgery and its aftermath, and recounts her use of integrative medicine modalities to help heal herself.

Streznewski’s previous non-fiction book is “Gifted Grownups: the Mixed Blessing of Extraordinary Potential.” Her short story, “Slow Burn,” appeared in the summer, 2015, issue of Genesis.

Richard Alexander, My Other Life: A Combat Soldier in Vietnam. The Darwin Press, www.darwinpress.com.

Richard Alexander writes not only of his military experiences during his tour of duty in Vietnam in the late 1960s but also his growing disillusionment about the war and how it was being fought. Alexander, a Pennington resident who retired several years ago as head of risk management at Ann Klein Forensic Center, writes that this memoir had been “swirling around” in his mind ever since he came back from war.

The press statement for the book says the memoir is about “the ineffectual search and destroy tactics and the use of ‘expendable’ soldiers such as himself as ‘bait’ who, day in and day out, were sent into the heavily mined and booby-trapped jungles and rice paddies in order to lure an otherwise elusive and often unseen enemy, into fighting. And for what?”



Dexter Palmer, “Version Control: A Novel,” Pantheon Press. www.pantheonpress.com

Version Control is set in a possible near future, but it’s also about smart phones and self-driving cars and how we approach people we meet on the Internet. A couple, Rebecca and Philip have experienced a tragedy. How they help and fail to help each other cope might well be tied to Philip’s seemingly failed invention, the causality violation device, which may not have been a failure at all.

Nancy Hightower of the Washington Post says “Dexter Palmer’s Version Control explores the complexities of narrative. . . . with time travel as a fascinating backdrop.”

Palmer, who lives in Princeton and has done test writing for Educational Testing Service, holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton. His first novel, “The Dream of Perpetual Motion,” was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2010.

Edmund White, “Our Young Man: A Novel,” Bloomsbury. www.bloomsbury.com

White is professor of creative writing at the Lewis Center of Princeton University. His most recent book, Our Young Man, follows the life of Guy — from his youth in an industrial city in France to becoming a top model in New York City as well as the darling of Fire Island’s gay community. Like Dorian Grey, Guy never seems to age. Even at 33, he looks 10 years younger. But it all comes at a price.

John Irving says “Edmund White is one of the best writers of my generation; he’s certainly the contemporary American writer I reread more than any other, and the one whose next book I look forward to reading most.”

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