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On the shelf

The Magazine publishes a selection of general-interest books by alumni authors. For additional alumni books, see “In Their Own Words.”

Adolescent Self-Injury, by Amelio A. D’Onofrio, AM’87, Springer Publishing Company, 2007. For teachers, coaches, social workers, and guidance counselors, this book helps “first-responders” recognize and treat teenage self-injury. D’Onofrio examines the social and emotional issues associated with the illness, integrating psychological theory with possible treatment practices.

The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 1770–1870, by Trish Loughran, AM’94, PhD’00, Columbia University Press, 2007. Loughran argues that early American nationalism stemmed from texts produced in and consumed by politically and geographically distinct regions. Even documents like the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which today are often seen as symbols of unity, were actually limited in distribution. When a continental book market arose in the 1830s, she says, it exposed a fractured American identity, exacerbated local differences, and helped push the nation toward the Civil War.


Tell Borges If You See Him: Tales of Contemporary Somnambulism, by Peter LaSalle, AM’72, University of Georgia Press, 2007. The characters in LaSalle’s collection of 11 short stories range from a wealthy college girl abroad in Paris to four people on a bus in the Mexican desert on Christmas Eve. In each story, space and time blur, making the waking world seem hazy and dreamlike. The winner of the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction, Tell Borges If You See Him smudges the line between real and unreal.

More than Neighbors: Catholic Settlements and Day Nurseries in Chicago, 1893–1930, by Deborah A. Skok, AM’92, PhD’01, Northern Illinois University Press, 2007. In the early 20th century Chicago’s Catholics organized settlement houses and day nurseries for their communities in part to counter increasing stereotypes of Catholics as illiterate laborers. Bringing together Catholic women from all walks of life, the institutions offered opportunities for poor women—social services, child care, and employment—and gave upper-class women the chance to volunteer and play a role in the city’s cultural and political life.

 The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas, by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, PhD’90, Portfolio/Penguin, 2007. The ability to woo is good for more than private relationships, Shell and Moussa argue. A step-by-step guide to “winning others over,” the book presents persuasion as an audience-centered art, where people appeal to their audience’s needs and wants to sell their ideas. A self-assessment determines the reader’s “persuasion role”—Driver, Commander, Promoter, Chess Player, and Advocate—offering suggestions for persuasive success according to individual strengths and weaknesses.


Health Care at Risk: A Critique of the Consumer-Driven Movement, by Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, JD’75, Duke University Press, 2007. Policy-makers and analysts promote consumer-driven health care (CDHC)—consumers save money in health savings accounts to fund their medical expenses—as a possible solution to problems with the American health-care system, including high costs and low service quality. Jost offers an alternative option: low-cost, high-quality universal health care that incorporates elements of CDHC, such as eliminating tax subsidies for wealthy people’s health insurance. 

Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, by Norman L. Macht, PhB’47, University of Nebraska Press, 2007. Baseball catcher, manager, and club owner Connie Mack helped launch the American League in 1901. While simultaneously holding several positions with the Philadelphia Athletics, including treasurer, general manager, and scouting director, Mack saw the Athletics win six of the league’s first 14 pennants. Macht chronicles Mack’s first 52 years.

From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became and Academic Discipline, by Fabio Rojas, AM’99, PhD’03, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. In the 1960s the black power movement redefined African Americans’identity. This historical study of the radical political organization, as well as of American higher education, addresses how universities, including the University of Chicago and Harvard, have adopted and adapted black power’s ideology for the classroom.


A Problem of Presence: Beyond Scripture in an African Church, by Matthew Engelke, AB’94, University of California Press, 2007. Zimbabwe’s Friday Masowe apostolics pray without using the Bible; instead they receive the “Word of God” directly from the Holy Spirit. The Bible, the apostolics say, separates them from the divine. In this historical ethnography, Engelke, an anthropology lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science, examines how the Masowe construct their relationship with the spiritual world.

The Sanctity of Human Life, by David Novak, AB’61, Georgetown University Press, 2007. Jewish theologian David Novak investigates three contemporary moral issues—stem-cell research, socialized medicine, and physician-assisted suicide—through the writings of philosophers such as Plato, Kant, and Nietsche, as well as Jewish thinkers like Maimonides and Rashi. Rabbinic texts inform Novak’s conclusion, for example, that using stem cells from embryos is ethically wrong.