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The Browser

In this issue's Browser section:
Books: Affirmative Admissions - Open Book: Fragments of a Family Saga - Open Book: Tyranny on Campus - Music: Looking at Lenny - Off the Shelf - Chapter & Verse

A random sampling of current books received at this magazine

Lambert in what he calls training for the 1998 Head of the Charles Regatta. Photograph by Jim Harrison

The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War, by Edward J. Renehan Jr. (Oxford University Press, $30). The author takes his title from the Psalms: "The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God." He begins this poignant book about sons living up to their father's legacy with Teddy Roosevelt, A.B. 1880, LL.D. '02, the only mounted officer on the scene and a conspicuous target, boldly leading the charge up San Juan Ridge on July 1, 1898. "In the evening, Roosevelt stalked happily back and forth across the brow of [the ridge]," Renehan writes. "The trenches below him were filled to capacity with cadavers. Roosevelt seemed to take a grim satisfaction in contemplating the day's carnage. As his close friend and fellow Rough Rider, Bob Ferguson, wrote, 'no hunting trip so far has equalled it in Theodore's eyes....T. was just revelling in victory and gore.'" Roosevelt doted on his children and bathed them in his values. All four of his sons rushed to fight in World War I. Only Kermit '12 emerged relatively unscathed. Theodore Jr. '09 and Archibald '17 were gravely wounded, and Quentin '19 was killed --devastating losses from which the old lion never rebounded. For more about TR and the war, see "A Splendid Little War" in this issue.

Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars, by Kristin L. Hoganson, assistant professor of history and of history and literature (Yale University Press, $30). None of the standard explanations of why the United States got into these wars satisfies the author. She argues that beliefs about gender and the proper roles of men and women--among them, that manly men should lead and women stay out of electoral politics --shaped the nation's bellicosity. These gender concerns still echo, she adds: we might view foreign relations differently if we better understood their ramifications.

Beyond Second Opinions: Making Choices about Fertility Treatment, by Judith Steinberg Turiel, Ed.D. '77 (University of California Press, $45, hardcover; $16.95, paper). The author is a freelance medical writer, health activist, and veteran of fer- tility procedures. This is a bulky, well-informed account of the risks of such treatment and a guide for those seeking it.

Seamus Heaney, by Helen Vendler, Ph.D. '60 (Harvard University Press, $22.95). One of the world's greatest poets gets a critic of renown, the Porter University Professor at Harvard. Heaney, Litt.D. '98, is a Nobel laureate, former Boylston professor, and now Ralph Waldo Emerson poet-in-residence.

Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire, by Wade Davis '75, Ph.D. '86 (Island Press, $22.95). Ethnobotanist Davis writes engagingly of trips to Borneo, the Arctic, Tibet, the forests of Canada, the swamps of the Orinoco delta, and deserts of the Middle East to explore indigenous cultures and the interactions of humans and their environments. (As a graduate student, Davis studied zombies. His work was the subject of a January-February 1986 cover article in this magazine, a piece that caught the eye of Gary Trudeau and inspired a series of episodes in Doonesbury.)

Let Nothing You Dismay, by Mark O'Donnell '76 (Knopf, $22). A comic novel set in the holiday season. It begins with the protagonist--a graduate of an Ivy League college called Hale--dreaming of visiting its secretive Serpent Club, where he is menaced by knife-wielding young men and women who are beautiful, naked, and, worst of all, tall.

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, by Anne Fadiman '74 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16). These essays about books and language contain many delights--as, for example, Fadiman's confession that she never felt truly wedded to her husband until they merged libraries. She was once "Undergraduate" columnist of this magazine, was later a director of it, and is now a member of its Board of Incorporators, but her regular day job is as editor of the American Scholar.

Mind over Water: Lessons on Life from the Art of Rowing, by Craig Lambert '69, Ph.D. '78 (Houghton Mifflin, $22). Lambert is a staff writer and associate editor of this magazine, and contributed the May-June 1996 cover article on men's crew coach Harry Parker. In this, his first book, he shows how rowing can be an exercise in personal exploration. (He began exploring in his freshman year at Harvard. In the 1995 Head of the Charles Regatta, he rowed a single scull and did not finish last.)

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