space holder space holder Previous issue's reviews | Next issue's reviews | February Contents | Gazette Home Off the Shelf overline
BRIEFLY NOTED
A selection of recent books by alumni and faculty, or otherwise of interest to the University community. Descriptions are compiled from information supplied by the authors and publishers.

TO LIVE IN THE NEW WORLD
A.J. Downing and American Landscape Gardening.
By Judith K. Major, G'87, Gr'92
Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1997. 242 pp., $40.00.
Order this book
   "When a man goes into a country without understanding its language, he is likely to comprehend little of the real character of that country." A seemingly self -- evident statement, but when the "language" is landscape design, the country America, and the speaker is Andrew Jackson Downing (1815 -- 1852), such a sentiment is nothing short of revolutionary. Downing wrote the first American treatise on landscape gardening. To Live in the New World examines in detail his growing conviction that landscape gardening must be adapted to the American people and the nation's indigenous landscapes. His gardens in the Hudson Valley, his magazine Horticulturist, and his pathbreaking theoretical treatise all argued for a specifically American mode of landscape gardening-one that responded to his era's demand for nationally -- appropriate cultural expression; one that broke away from European standards to truly "live in the new world." Major has practiced as a landscape architect and is associate professor in the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas.

FUNNY, I DON'T FEEL OLD!:
How to Flourish After 50.
By Carter Henderson, W'52.
San Francisco, Calif.: ICS Press, 1997,294 pp., $25.95.
Order this book
   Meet "Banana" George Blair, an 82 -- year -- old champion barefoot water -- skier who says he's "just getting warmed up." T. Burton Smith, MD, came out of retirement and moved across the country to meet the challenge of becoming the White House physician. And then there's Mary Fasano, who at age 89 recently graduated from Harvard University. Funny, I Don't Feel Old! brings together personal accounts, the latest research, and other resources to show how people can make the years from 50 on up their most exciting and rewarding. Henderson, a former Wall Street Journal London bureau chief and front -- page editor, is the author of several other books. He is also engaged in business and financial consulting, fundraising, speechwriting, developing minority businesses, and teaching-with no plans of retiring.

RAHEL VARNHAGEN:
The Life of a Jewess.
By Hannah Arendt. Edited, with an introduction, by Liliane Weissberg, Faculty. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston.
Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. 400 pp., $29.95.
Order this book
   Political theorist Hannah Arendt's 1958 biography of 18th -- century Geman -- Jewish noblewoman Rahel Levin Varnhagen portrays the life of an accomplished woman whose literary salons were the talk of Germany. Edited by Weissberg, the first complete edition of Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess restores Arendt's extensive and illuminating notes and makes clear the importance of this biography on Arendt's later writings. In her introduction Weissberg reflects on the meaning that Rahel's life had for Arendt, on Arendt's empathetic reading of Rahel's writings, and the extent to which Arendt projected her own life onto Rahel's. The introduction also uncovers new facts about Arendt's life that have, until now, remained hidden, such as her falsification of documents relating to her biography of Rahel in order to enhance her qualifications for a university position and her exaggerated claims for substantial postwar reparations from the German state. Weissberg is professor of German and comparative literature and chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory.

THE RICH AND FAMOUS MONEY BOOK:
Investment Strategies of Leading Celebrities.
By Jean Sherman Chatzky, C'86.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997. 210 pp., $19.95.
   How much money did Mike Ditka lose on his failed "Ditka Dogs" wiener franchise? How much of Jeff Blake's investments are in real estate? Chatzky, senior writer for SmartMoney magazine, answers these questions as she looks at the investment strategies of leading celebrities while providing financial -- planning advice for everyone else. Celebrities such as Matt Lauer, Dennis Rodman, Dave Barry, Nicole Miller, and Ivana Trump-whose portfolios are as diverse as their personalities-speak candidly about a wide range of money issues. Along with the details of what company stocks these rich and famous names hold, and how they're allocated, there's advice on how to apply their tactics to your own portfolio, as well as guidelines on starting your own business, saving for retirement, and more.

WHAT AMERICANS KNOW ABOUT POLITICS AND WHY IT MATTERS.
By Michael X. Delli Carpini, C/G'75, and Scott Keeter.
New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1996. 412 pp., $45.00 (cloth); $18.00 (paper).
Order this book
   Released in paperback in 1997, this book explores how the public's knowledge of politics has changed over the past 50 years, how knowledge is distributed among different groups, and how it is used in political decision -- making. The authors draw on extensive survey data, much of it original, to provide evidence for the individual and collective benefits of a politically -- informed citizenry-and the cost of a citizenry that is poorly and inequitably informed. Delli Carpini is associate professor and chair of the political science department at Barnard College, Columbia University.

MEDIA MADNESS:
Public Images of Mental Illness.
By Otto F. Wahl, Gr'74.
New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1996. 260 pp., $17.00 (paper); $25.95 (cloth).
Order this book
   From Psycho and Silence of the Lambs, from books, music, cartoons, advertising, and newspapers, we all derive our images of mental illness. These portrayals, Wahl argues in Media Madness (released in paperback in 1997), are at the least insensitive and inaccurate, and at the worst, stigmatizing and pernicious. Wahl, a professor of psychology at George Mason University and winner of the American Psychiatric Association's Patient Advocacy Award in 1997, examines the prevalence, nature, and impact of such depictions, using numerous examples from film, television, and print media. He documents the frequency of these images and demonstrates how the media has stereotyped the mentally ill through exaggeration, misunderstanding, ridicule, and disrespect. He also shows the damaging consequences of such stereotypes-stigma; rejection; loss of self -- esteem; reluctance to seek, accept, or reveal psychiatric treatment; discrimination; and restriction of opportunity. His book offers readers alternatives to these misleading images in the hopes of creating a better understanding.

WHORES AND OTHER FEMINISTS.
Edited by Jill Nagle, CGS'91.
New York: Routledge, 1997. 291 pp., $18.95.
Order this book
   This book fleshes out feminist politics from the perspective of sex workers-strippers, prostitutes, porn writers, producers, and performers, dominatrices -and their allies. Comprising a range of voices from within and outside the academy, this collection continues the debate that feminism's stigmatization of sex workers reproduces patriarchal values, this time giving primacy to the voices of feminist sex workers themselves. The book's contributors divorce the notions of sexual commerce and sexist oppression. Nagle has taught at the Harvey Milk Institute, and has published her essays and fiction in Girlfriends, Anything That Moves, Black Sheets, and a number of anthologies. This is her first book.

COREL WORDPERFECT 8 SUITE:
The Official Guide.
By Alan Neibauer, WG'71.
Berkeley, Calif.: Osborne/McGraw -- Hill, 1997. 900 pp., $34.99.
Order this book
   Neibauer, the author of more than 20 popular books on computer hardware and software, explores the all -- new features of Version 8 of Corel's office suite, with a focus on the improved integration of the suite's components with the Internet. This is the second edition of his bestseller, The Official Guide to Corel WordPerfect 7 Suite. Following a user -- friendly format, with plenty of hands -- on examples throughout, the book presents modules of information about each of the suite's components. It offers special coverage of WordPerfect, the cornerstone of the suite, which now includes updated and more tightly integrated Internet capabilities, including HTML and Web page creation features. In addition, a graphically enhanced chapter entitled "What You'll Learn Inside," highlights some of the projects that can be accomplished with the suite and offers a preview of the skills readers will master in subsequent chapters.

PASSIONS OF THE TONGUE:
Language Devotion in Tamil India, 1891 -- 1970.
By Sumathi Ramaswamy, G'86, Faculty.
Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1997., 326 pp., $50.00 (cloth); $20.00 (paper).
Order this book
   Why would love for their language lead several men in southern India to burn themselves alive in its name? Passions of the Tongue analyzes the discourses of love, labor, and life that transformed Tamil into an object of such passionate attachment, producing in the process one of modern India's most intense movements for linguistic revival and separatism. Ramaswamy, assistant professor of history, uses the concept of "language devotion" to track the many ways in which Tamil was imagined by its speakers and connects these multiple imaginings to their experience of colonial and post -- colonial modernity.

AFTER THE LOVEDEATH:
Sexual Violence and the Making of Culture.
By Lawrence Kramer, C'68.
Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1997. 281 pp., $30.00.
   Kramer, a professor of English and music at Fordham University, traces today's sexual identities to their 19th -- century sources. He draws on the music, literature, and thought of the period to show how "normal identity" both promotes and rationalizes violence against women. Kramer explores this "fatal normality" in the self -- contradictions of masculinity, the shifting alignments of femininity, authority, and desire, and the interdependence of heterosexuality and homosexuality. At the same time, he offers glimpses of a "saving counternormality" through which gender can free itself from a rigid system of polarities. After the Lovedeath is organized as a series of reflections, formal and informal, on what can be learned about sexual violence from sources ranging from operatic "lovedeaths" to psychoanalysis, Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata and the novella that Tolstoy named after it, erotic poetry, and dreams.

ENDLESS NOVELTY:
Specialty Production and American Industrialization, 1865 -- 1925.
By Philip Scranton, C'68, Gr'75.
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997. 432 pp., $39.50.
Order this book
   Challenging the orthodox in business and technological history, Endless Novelty asks the reader to reconsider America's second industrial revolution (1865 -- 1925), during which time the U.S. rose to global leadership in manufacturing. This achievement is most often credited to the innovation of mass production and the nascence of the giant corporation (steel, oil, autos). Without minimizing the importance of these initiatives, Scranton argues that popular wisdom does not cast its net wide enough and thus misses taking into account the equally propulsive growth in other crucial industrial trades doing specialty production. These enterprises (ranging from jewelry to furniture to locomotives to newspapers) relied on flexibility; skilled labor; close interactions with clients, suppliers, and rivals; and opportunistic pricing to generate profit streams. The result was thriving industrial districts supporting millions of jobs and spin -- off alliances, such as trade schools, banks, and sales consortia, all of which acting together created regional synergism and economies of such scope and diversity that it is difficult to understand why the importance of this other side of America's dynamic manufacturing history has been unacknowledged until now. Scranton is the Kranzberg Professor of the History of Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

THE STUDENT ATHLETE'S HANDBOOK:
The Complete Guide for Success.
By Perry Bromwell, C'87, and Howard Gensler, C'83.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997., 247 pp., $14.95.
Order this book
   Which school can offer me the most athletically and academically? That is the tough question facing many college -- bound student -- athletes. Bromwell, a former Penn basketball player who coaches and plays professionally in Norway, and Gensler, a sportswriter in Philadelphia, have put together this guide as a resource in this complicated decision -- making process. It addresses subjects such as handling the recruitment process and dealing with college pressures. It also provides details on the latest NCAA regulations, academic requirements, and gender -- equity issues; advice on coping with life during and after college; and words of wisdom from sports stars, including Hershel Walker and Detroit Pistons head coach Doug Collins.

PUNCH: The Lively Youth of a British Institution, 1841 -- 1851.
By Richard D. Altick, Gr'41.
Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1997. 776 pp., $59.50.
Order this book
   From its beginnings in 1841, the popular Victorian weekly, Punch, mirrored the interests and mindset of its predominantly middle -- class British audience. Altick, the Regents' Professor Emeritus of English at Ohio State University, describes Punch's humorous treatment of events, public personalities, and current issues against a background of historical evidence culled from The Times (of London) and other contemporary documents.



Previous issue's reviews | Next issue's reviews | February Contents | Gazette Home

Copyright 1997 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 1/29/98
Amazon.com icon Book sales are made in association with Amazon.com. By purchasing a book using a link above, a percentage of the profits go to the University of Pennsylvania.