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On the shelf

On the Wing, edited by Karen Yelena Olsen, AM’68, University of Iowa Press, 2005. A pilot and poet, Olsen has pared a jumbo collection of aerospace poems down to some 100 high-flying selections for On the Wing. With an overview of flight literature from biblical times to the 19th century and a short history of U.S. aviation, the book offers insights into the myths, adventures, tragedies, and triumphs of humans taking to the sky.

photo:  on the shelfBodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History, edited by Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton, AM’84, PhD’90, Duke University Press, 2005. Nations flexing their political and military muscles in acts of conquest and empire are often tangled up with notions of manliness. Bodies in Contact examines the body as “a site of cultural encounter”—from the role of celibacy in Indian nationalism to “comfort women” forced into prostitution by WW II Japan—focusing on gender and sexuality in the colonial process and women’s place in the imperialist narrative.

Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity, by Susan Starr Sered, AB’78, and Rushika Fernandopulle, University of California Press, 2005. The federal government estimates that 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance. In Uninsured in America, Sered and Fernandopulle interview 120 such men and women, along with medical providers, policy makers, and advocates, arguing that Americans are all “potentially one illness, one family crisis, one pink slip away from sliding into a lethal vortex of ill health, medical debt, and marginal employability.”

photo:  on the shelfThe Common Law Tradition: A Collective Portrait of Five Legal Scholars, by George W. Liebmann, JD’63, Transaction, 2005. Commemorating a tolerant, practical, empirical approach to law, Liebmann considers the legacies of Chicago professors Edward H. Levi, PhB’32, JD’35, Harry Kalven Jr., AB’35, JD’38, Karl Llewellyn, Philip Kurland, and Kenneth Culp Davis.

Heirs of the Fisherman: Behind the Scenes of Papal Death and Succession, by John-Peter Pham, AB’90, Oxford University Press, 2004. The world watched as a plume of white smoke drifted skyward and bells pealed through the Vatican. Pham, a former Vatican diplomat, explores the mysterious process of papal succession, blending ecclesiastical and political history and looking forward to the challenges now faced by John Paul II’s successor.

photo:  on the shelfRevisiting The Waste Land, by Lawrence Rainey, AM’81, PhD’86, Yale University Press, 2005. Overturning longstanding interpretations of T. S. Eliot’s masterpiece, Rainey focuses on how the poem was written, published, and read, examining the body of manuscripts and typescripts that make up The Waste Land’s publication material. Comparing his work to a detective’s examination of a murder victim, Rainey hopes “that in the reconstructed light of our imagination, the corpse once more takes on the semblance of life and once more speaks its strange and haunting tongue.”

Dance of Divine Love: India’s Classic Sacred Love Story: The Rasa Lila of Krishna, by Graham M. Schweig, AM’77, Princeton University Press, 2005. India’s own Song of Songs, the dramatic love poem Rasa Lila, features a youthful and amorous Krishna, who, with his beloved maidens, dances the “dance of divine love.” Schweig offers a new translation along with an exposition of the tale’s religious and ethical nuances.