Amherst Magazine

Short Takes

New books, articles and music

Compiled by Katherine Duke ’05

Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching Philosophy Through Children’s Literature
By Thomas E. Wartenberg ’71 (Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group)
Wartenberg, a professor at Mount Holyoke College, on how to use picture books to introduce young children to philosophical concepts

Cheap Meat: Flap Food Nations in the Pacific Islands
By Deborah Gewertz, the G. Henry Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology, and Frederick Errington (University of California Press)
The two anthropologists explore the controversial trade of lamb flaps—fatty cuts of mutton—from Australia and New Zealand, where they are seen as unfit for human consumption, to Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Fiji, where they have become a dietary staple. 

Debt Spiral: How Credit Failed Capitalism
By Martin Lowy ’61 (Public Policy Press)
Lowy, who has studied banks and bank reg­ulation since 1966, explains the history and causes of the recent financial crisis. His book High Rollers was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Learn more at www.publicpolicypress.org.

Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything
By Daniel Goleman ’68 (Broadway Books)
The author of the bestsellers Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence heralds a new era in which consumers can be better informed about the environmental effects of the production, packaging, shipping, use and disposal of everyday products.

The Insecure American: How We Got Here & What We Should Do About It
Edited by Hugh Gusterson and Catherine Besteman ’81 (University of California Press)
Essays on racial tensions, debt, problems in the health care system, the War on Terror and other worries 

Lincoln’s Briefs
By Michael Wayne ’69 (Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.)
What if Abraham Lincoln was not really assassinated but instead faked his own death and moved to Canada? In Wayne’s first satirical novel, a history professor uncovers this scandalous truth.

My Name Was Five: A Novel of the Second World War
By Heinz Kohler, Willard Long Thorp Pro­fessor of Economics, Emeritus (Mill City Press)
Learn more about Kohler's book at mynamewasfive.com.

Pizza for Breakfast
Music by Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer ’89) (Coil Records)
The 12 children’s songs on this CD include “Don’t Waste Stuff,” “Sneaky Chihuahua” and “Pony with a Problem.” Visit mistergsongs.com

“Politics and Prosecution: A Historical Perspective on Shifting Federal Standards for Pursuing the Death Penalty in Non-Death Penalty States”
By Eric A. Tirschwell and Theodore Hertzberg ’04 (University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, October 2009)
This article explores historical, recent and possible future developments in the federal Department of Justice’s pursuit of death penalty sentences in states that do not ordinarily practice capital punishment.

Queer Externalities: Hazard­ous Encounters in American Culture
By W.C. Harris ’94 (State University of New York Press)
Harris examines the increasing visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the mainstream media and argues that activists should preserve a separate and visible queer identity within American culture.

Schooling Citizens: The Struggle for African American Education in Antebellum America
By Hilary J. Moss, assistant professor of history and black studies (University of Chicago Press)
Moss describes how, in the early 19th century, common schooling helped to redefine American citizenship along racial lines. White Americans in Boston and New Haven, Conn., opposed the education of blacks, but whites in slaveholding Baltimore did not forcefully oppose it.