Amherst Magazine

Amherst College Books

Thinking Through Television. By RON LEMBO, Associate Professor of Sociology. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 270 pp. £12.95.
Divided into three parts, this study examines television-watching as American cultural behavior. The first section explains how social and cultural theory inform concepts of television use; the second reconceptualizes that use and breaks down television viewing into components; the third documents the viewing culture of working people—its politics and practice. The book recognizes the power of television while incorporating social and political factors that affect individual viewers, following how "corporately produced culture" is appropriated as well as distanced.

Gleanings. By HERBERT W. EDWARDS '34. Lincoln, Neb.: Writers Club Press, 2001. 111 pp. $10.95 paperback.
The author has culled more than 100 of his poems to produce this volume. Though the selections were written between 1962 and 1964 they are "not unduly dated," ranging in topic from an ode "To a Graduating Class" to "The Female Form Divine." Reflecting the era of its composition, as well as the adventuresome spirit of today, Edwards writes in "Thule": "No one who has ever gone/Out to the edge of things/Can tell anyone else/Just where the boundary is."

The Billion Dollar Gift. By RICHARD C. PACKARD '45., 2000. $8.95 paperback. $4.95 electronic.
Inspired by a dream, the novel is the story of a man and his money. A young graphic designer is mystically given the unexpected gift of one billion dollars. The protagonist tries in vain to dispose of the money, with eventful confrontations with notorious private and governmental agencies—the Mafia, the FBI and others. As well, the designer's love life stutters as he grapples with his weighty gift, and tries to navigate a safe resolution.

Hidden Faults: Recognizing and Resolving Therapeutic Disjunctions. By STEVEN A. FRANKEL '64. Madison, Conn.: Psychosocial Press, 2000. 212 pp. $35 hardbound.
The author expands upon his descriptive model of the mind—the self and object unit model—to present and prescribe processes of psychotherapy and pyschoanalysis. The theme is disjunction: the space between therapist and patient that must be bridged for successful treatment. Frankel contends, using extensive case material, that progress can not occur unless both parties
are willing to change and take each other seriously, working together to break down the boundaries.

Thematic Preaching. By Jane Rzepka and KEN SAWYER '66. St. Louis, Mo.: Chalice Press, 2001. 232 pp. $26.99 paperback.
Designed as a guide for preachers, this book outlines how sermons may best serve a congregation, recognizing the diversity of individual needs and reasons for attending worship. The first half of the book examines a preacher's audience and the key ingredients of a sermon—what matters—and getting the initial words down on paper. The second half of the book contains essays by various contributing authors that explore sermons "That Engage with the Larger World," "That Inspire," that stimulate and amuse. Discussions of larger ministerial issues compose the third section, examining the speaker's authority and authenticity.

Everyone's Money Book (Third Edition). By JORDAN GOODMAN '76. Chicago, Ill.: Dearborn Trade, 2001.
970 pp. $30 hardbound.
This hefty, reference-like volume includes everything one ever wanted to know about personal finances, and the list is long: picking investments tailored to one's needs; managing credit; selecting insurance of all varieties; minimizing taxes; maximizing employee benefits; financing college or the purchase of a home or car; planning for retirement. In straightforward language accompanied by graphs, charts and worksheets, the author explains investments from mutual funds to real estate and includes planning strategies for the whole family to "make your money work as hard for you as you worked for it."

The Nashville Chronicles: The Making of Robert Altman's Masterpiece. By JAN STUART '77. New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 2000. 376 pp. $26 hardbound.
Film critic Stuart delves behind the scenes for this account of how Nashville (1975) was made—and finds there were times it almost wasn't. The large cast and numerous narrative strands created a challenge for filmmaker Robert Altman; the author explores what Altman and his cast and crew had to overcome—both personally and professionally—to pull the film together. Stuart includes interviews with nearly all of those involved, providing a researched account of the creation of a classic film.

Serious Straw Bale: A Home Construction Guide for All Climates. By PAUL LACINSKI '89 and Michel Bergeron. White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2001. 371 pp. $30 paperback.
Straw bales are shown to be the stuff of houses in this guide that describes the advantages and how-to's of building with the material, both recyclable and a natural insulator. Here is described the allure of building with straw—"one of nature's most resilient, available and affordable byproducts"—as a homemade alternative to the industrial building blocks of metal and plastic. The authors also allay fears and answer questions about the longevity and warmth of straw bales, outlining climate particulars and two different construction methodologies.

The Great Firm Escape: Harvard Law School's Guide to Breaking Out of Private Practice and Into Public Service. By Stacy M. DeBroff, Esq., JILL MARTYN '95, Deborah Reed, Esq., Alexa Shabecoff, Esq., Carolyn Stafford Stein, Esq.. Boston, Mass.: Office of Public Interest Advising, Harvard Law School, 2000. 194 pp. $25 paperback.
This practical guide offers attorneys fed up with "long hours and too little personal satisfaction" a way out of the private sector. The authors have interviewed more than 100 lawyers who made the transition to public service; the book recounts many stories of "firm escapees." Likened to career counseling sessions, the book provides advice on the job search, choosing a public interest practice area, writing résumés and interviewing. The 12-chapter guide begins with a section titled "What Are You Escaping From?" that discusses possible sources of disappointment in working for a law firm, and ends with the conclusive step of leaving.

Education and Democracy: The Meaning of Alexander Meiklejohn, 1872-1964. By Adam R. Nelson. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001. 416 pp. $34.95 hardbound.
President of Amherst from 1912 to 1924, Meiklejohn was a figure known for his strong ideals. This extensively researched book, the first full-length study of Meiklejohn, tells, among other things, the story of his influential and controversial tenure at Amherst, which ended with his dismissal in 1924. Meiklejohn crusaded for democratic government and rigorous, moral, classically-based education. He served as dean of Brown University before coming to Amherst and afterwards was director of the Experimental College at the University of Wisconsin, which he designed as a small, undergraduate program with a core curriculum that shifted away from students' vocational training. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 as a defender of the First Amendment during the McCarthy era.

Compiled by Jennifer Acker '00