Non-Fiction

Helen V. Milner and Dustin Tingley, “Sailing the Water’s Edge:The Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy,” Princeton University Press. www.press.princeton.edu.

A professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, Helen Milner, pictured at right, has written on issues related to international and comparative political economy, the connections between domestic politics and foreign policy, globalization and regionalism, and the relationship between democracy and trade policy. Dustin Tingley is a Harvard professor.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Milner by the Princeton Alumni Weekly:

Sixty-eight years ago, Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg said that partisan politics should stop at the water’s edge — meaning U.S. politicians should support the president when it comes to foreign affairs — but the injunction frequently is ignored. Throughout American history, members of Congress, private-interest groups, and public opinion all have played an important role in shaping foreign policy, says Helen Milner in her book “Sailing the Water’s Edge.”

What did you learn about how presidents conduct foreign affairs?

We found that systematically, presidents are much more constrained by domestic forces when they are trying to use economic tools such as trade agreements, tariffs, and economic aid than when they use military force. The upshot is that presidents tend to use the military more because there are fewer domestic costs, relatively speaking.

Wouldn’t the costs of using military force be greater, particularly after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?

Most presidents don’t plan to have a war go on for 11 years. They plan for the first six months. In that environment, the military tools often look less costly because the hope is that you get in, you fix the problem, and you get out. Nonmilitary approaches, such as diplomacy or sanctions, can take longer to implement and to bear fruit, which makes them less attractive. Even today, for example, I believe that if the president made the case to the American public that it was really in the national interest to send ground troops against ISIS, the troops would go.

Laurie Wallmark, “Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine,” Creston Books. http://crestonbooks.co.

Her father was the renowned poet, Lord Byron, but Ada Lovelace made her own mark in history for her collaboration with Charles Babbage that led her in the 1840s to write what is now considered the world’s first computer program.

Wallmark, a resident of Ringoes in central New Jersey, teaches computer science at Raritan Valley Community College, as well as adult education classes on writing for children. She is also pursuing a masters in writing for children and young adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and writes a blog on writing books for children (www.lauriewallmark.blogspot.com).

Wallmark’s biography, illustrated by April Chu, is aimed at children considering the possibilities of science and technology at a young age. According her publicity materials, the book “focuses on her subject’s adolescence, choosing details that highlight Lovelace’s development as a mathematical genius. The girl sketches models for flying machines, works endless calculations to compute the wings’ power — young readers will sympathize as they hear how ‘writing for so long made her fingers hurt’ — and studies a toy boat to see how minute adjustments to its sails affect its speed.

“A bout of measles that leaves her temporarily blind and paralyzed serves to further hone her brilliance, as her mother drills her with math problems. She is positioned for her fateful meeting with Charles Babbage, whose proposed Analytical Engine prompts her to write the algorithm (described as ‘a set of mathematical instructions’) that becomes the world’s first computer program.

Hal Foster, “Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency,” Verso. www.versobooks.com.

‘Bad New Days” examines art and criticism in Western Europe and North America over the last 25 years, exploring the general condition of emergency created by neoliberalism and the war on terror. It explores the ways in which art has anticipated this condition, at times resisting the collapse of the social contract or gesturing toward its repair; at other times burlesquing it. Foster discusses the work of artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Tacita Dean, and Isa Genzken, and the writing of such thinkers as Jacques Ranciere, Bruno Latour, and Giorgio Agamben.

Foster is a professor of art and archaeology at Princeton University, teaching and publishing in the areas of modernist and contemporary art, architecture, and theory.

William S. Moody, “Staying the Course: Reflections on 40 Years of Grantmaking at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund,” Alliance Publishing Trust. www.alliancemagazine.org.

Over four decades William S. Moody directed the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s grantmaking programs in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. “Staying the Course” explores how RBF’s grantmaking programs sought “to enlarge people’s understanding of, and ability to address, sustainable development challenges; to protect human rights and promote international understanding; and to strengthen important dimensions of civil society and democratic practice in transforming societies.”

The work examines approaches that center on helping local people make lasting change within their communities. Moody admits that grants he thought had failed turned out, in many cases, to have seeded positive developments. He concludes the fund’s “long-haul” approach seems to have paid off. Moody hopes that the book will serve as “a practical primer” for grant-makers from any organization. “Staying the Course” is also intended to be a resource for grant-seekers who want to understand why foundations fund what they fund and what they want in return.

Moody earned his BA at Northwestern, and his JD at the University of Michigan Law School. He and his wife, Susan, divide their time between Princeton and New York.

Peter Rupert Lighte, “Host of Memories: Tales of Inevitable Happenstance,” Acausal Books. www.acausalbooks.com.

Peter Lighte has taught Chinese history and philosophy as well as having been founding chairman of J. P. Morgan Chase Bank China, based in Beijing. He lived abroad for almost three decades, dividing his time between London and Asia. He now lives in Princeton.

“Host of Memories” is a memoir that reflects — as his website states — the life of a man who “was determined to become a Sinologist before President Nixon called on Chairman Mao and to be a father when gay still meant festive.”

Upon his parents’ divorce in the late 1950s, Lighte moved with his mother to New York City, where he was raised among “myriad eccentric and loving relatives and quirky friends.” His memoir includes stories of his years “as an awkward only child” and explores his Jewish roots. Lighte describes the encounters with Chinese culture that shaped his future.

A writer, mosaicist, and calligrapher, Lighte received his PhD from Princeton University in East Asian studies and has taught Asian history as well as philosophy at several colleges and universities. Together with his partner, Julian Grant, an English composer, he is the proud father of two daughters. Lighte has also been affiliated with Princeton-in-Asia over many years and has helped to develop an informal summer intern program for Princetonians at JPMorgan in Beijing. In addition to “Host of Memories,” he is the author of “Pieces of China.”

Brian Herrera, “Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in 20th Century U.S. Popular Performance,” University of Michigan Press. www.press.umich.edu

From the conga line to West Side Story to Ricky Martin, Brian Herrera, an assistant professor of theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, explores how popular performance created the image of Latinos as a distinct (non-white) ethnic group for most American audiences.

In this work of performance history, Herrera examines how Latino actors on the 20th-century stage and screen shaped American ideas about race and ethnicity. He traces the “Latin” musical number and the casting of Latino actors and explores the history of West Side Story and other productions.

Jonathan Haslam, “Near and Distant Neighbors: A New History of Soviet Intelligence,” Farrar Straus and Giroux. us.macmillan.com.fsg

Currently at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Jonathan Haslam examines the Soviet intelligence services, from the dawn of the Bolshevik era in 1917 to the end of the Cold War in 1991.

While other histories have focused on the KGB, they pay less attention to military intelligence and the special service, which specialized in codes and ciphers. Haslam studied previously neglected sources to reveal how Khrushchev and his successors resorted to blackmail and bribery as tactics for recruiting.

Steve Mariotti, “An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto,” Templeton Press. www.templetonpress.org.

As the youngest senior analyst at Ford Motor Company and later the founder of a successful import/export business, Steve Mariotti may have felt ready to succeed in another world in 1982 when he became a special ed teacher in challenging neighborhoods in such places as East New York, Brooklyn, and Fort Apache in the South Bronx.

Teaching turned out to be a frustrating experience. But Mariotti found a novel way of dealing with his unruly pupils. “One especially rough day, I stepped out of the classroom to try to compose myself. In a desperate move, I took off my watch and marched back in with an impromptu sales pitch for it. To my astonishment, my students were riveted and stayed with me through a lesson on sales, wholesale and retail costs, and return on investment.

“I had stumbled onto the truth: these kids were far more frustrated than I was. They felt so disconnected from our economic system that they saw no futures for themselves and no reason to pay attention in school. When I taught them how to start and run simple small businesses, they quickly grasped the connection between learning and earning money. They became excited to read, write, do math, and behave better.”

As a result Mariotti, who now lives in Princeton, created the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in 1987. More than 600,000 young people have graduated from NFTE programs, which operate in 22 states and 12 countries.

Mark Lewis Taylor, “The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America,” Fortress Press. www.fortresspress.com.

The new edition of Mark Taylor’s “The Executed God,” originally published in 2001, analyzes mass incarceration, “the largest and most frenetic correctional buildup of any country in the history of the world,” according to the National Criminal Justice Commission, and argues that the use of police, executions, and incarceration in the U.S. is part of the geopolitical strategy America uses in all its wars.

Taylor, a professor of theology and culture at the Princeton Theological Seminary, earned his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Jodi O’Donnell-Ames, “Someone I Love Has ALS — A Family Caregiving Guide,” People Tested Media. www.PeopleTested.com

Jodi O’Donnell-Ames was just 29 years old, when her late husband, Kevin O’Donnell, then 30, was diagnosed with ALS. She and her husband faced a future that had no roadmap. This book grew out of that moment — it is the resource that she wished she had at that time to help prepare her and her family for the journey that lay ahead.

O’Donnell-Ames is the founder and executive director of the Pennington-based Hope Loves Company, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the children and grandchildren of PALS — People living with ALS. She is also the author of “The Stars That Shine,” a book that introduces children to ALS.

Facebook Comments