TRAVELING SPIRIT MASTERS: Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Marketplace By Deborah Kapchan Gr’92. (Wesleyan University Press, 2007. $75 cloth, $27.95 paper.) “Of all the mystic cults in Morocco that employ trance as a way of communing with the spiritual world, the Gnawa are the least understood,” writes Kapchan, an associate professor of performance studies at NYU. In addition to her first-hand observations of these Moroccan musicians and mystics—who believe they can heal those afflicted with possession and other ills by offering music, incense, colors, and animal sacrifice to the offending spirits—Kapchan shows how the trance-inducing rhythms of the Gnawa have made their way into American jazz and popular French music. Buy this book

YOUR DEVELOPING BABY: Conception to Birth By Peter M. Doubilet and Carol B. Benson M’80. (McGraw-Hill/Harvard Health Publications, 2008. $18.95.) Prospective parents can now take a (virtual) guided tour of the hidden world inside the womb, from the time before conception when a woman’s body prepares for the possibility of pregnancy through labor and birth. Full of two- and three-dimensional ultrasound images and original drawings, the book offers tips to help patients understand what they’re seeing during their own ultrasounds as well as doctors’ signposts for normal fetal development. Benson is a professor of radiology at Harvard (as is Doubilet) and director of ultrasound at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston; she and Doubilet are married and have five children. Buy this book

HOT TIMES DURING THE COLD WAR: An American Comes of Age in West Germany By Scott W. Hawley C’92 W’92. (iUniverse, 2007. $11.95.) While Hawley and his friends studied calculus and chemistry at the Frankfurt American High School and sold candy bars to send the track team to Brussels, their parents commanded tank battalions, flew transport aircraft, and honed their combat skills. A memoir in verse about an American teenager’s years in a U.S. military installation in West Germany during the last few years of the Cold War. Buy this book

VOICE IN MOTION: Staging Gender, Shaping Sound in Early Modern England By Gina Bloom C’94. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. $59.95.) In early modern English drama and culture, the human voice was frequently represented as struggling, even failing, to work. Bloom, who teaches English at the University of Iowa, examines a wide range of late-16th and early-17th-century plays, sermons, and other texts to examine the “unruly matter” of the voice and its implications for men and women. Buy this book

NOT JUST CHILD’S PLAY: Emerging Tradition and the Lost Boys of Sudan By Felicia R. McMahon G’89 Gr’92. (University Press of Mississippi, 2007.  $50.00.) This study of the DiDinga, a group of Sudanese “Lost Boys” who now live in Syracuse, New York, is the first publication to document their dance and song traditions. McMahon, a research professor in anthropology at Syracuse University, argues that the playful traditions of these young men constitute a strategy by which they position themselves as preservers of their culture and as harbingers of social change, not victims of war. Buy this book

THE MEDIUM By Noelle Sickels G’71. (Five Star, 2007. $26.95.) Helen Schneider is 13 years old in 1937 when she has a psychic vision of a neighbor caught in a catastrophic fire. Though she resists her grandmother’s efforts to help develop her clairvoyance, she has a powerful premonition in 1941, and finally agrees to hold séances for the families of dead U.S. servicemen, despite the opposition of her skeptical fiancé. Sickels’ third historical novel explores the inner life of a psychic as well as everyday life on the East Coast home front of World War II. Buy this book

NEW YORK CITY’S CHINESE COMMUNITY By Josephine Tsui Yueh Lee C’92 W’92. (Arcadia, 2007. $19.99.) In the late 19th century, Chinese immigrants began arriving in New York City, looking for a better life. Their rich cultural traditions, documented in the many photographs that illustrate Lee’s book, have contributed to the city’s vibrant multicultural community. Buy this book

STAY HEALTHY, LIVE LONGER, SPEND WISELY By Davis Liu W’93. (Stetho Publishing, 2008. $24.95.)  Ever wondered if body scans and herbal supplements are worth your money? When a generic medication is appropriate? Liu, a family physician with the Permanente Group in California, provides medical information as well as advice on choosing the right health-care plan and getting the most out of your doctor visits. Buy this book

A REFLECTION ON (LIFE IN) LAW SCHOOL By Jenny L. Workman C’01. (PublishAmerica, 2007. $24.95.) The three years at Franklin Pierce Law School turned out to be a lot more interesting than Workman had expected. Instead of being swallowed up by competition and stress, she soon found that she was learning as much about life as she was about the law. Buy this book


ALL THINGS ORNAMENTAL : The Arts

ART Windows on destruction. Remembered Light at Ross Gallery
ART New Ross director Lynn Marsden-Atlass
BOOKS Inexhaustible horror. The Slave Ship
BOOKS (Really) brief lives. Not Quite What I Was Planning
Briefly Noted
Arts Calendar


©2008 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 04/24/08