Amherst Magazine

Short Takes

Compiled by Katherine Duke ’05

Bureau of Missing Persons: Writing the Secret Lives of Fathers
By Roger J. Porter ’58 (Cornell University Press)
Focusing on 18 examples, Porter explores and contextualizes the recent spate of memoirs by adult children whose fathers have led secret lives. 

Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles
Edited by Andrew S. Erickson ’01 and Lyle J. Goldstein (China Maritime Studies Institute and the Naval Institute Press)
The fifth book in the series “Studies in Chinese Maritime Development,” this volume evaluates the advances that China has made in its aerospace operations and the implications of this advancement for U.S. naval strategy.

Fifty Years with the Beatles: The Impact of the Beatles on Contemporary Culture
Edited by Jerzy Jarniewicz and Alina Kwiatkow­ska, with an essay by David B. Reck, professor emeritus of music and Asian languages and civilizations (Łódz´ University Press)
To this anthology of writings by 22 scholars, Reck contributes an essay titled “The Inner Light: George Harrison’s Indian Songs.”

Forgotten Gods
By S.B. Stewart-Laing (Shaylon Blair Stolk ’10) and Michael J. Chernicoff ’09 (Self-published)
In this novel—available as an e-book—magical creatures make a deal with humans to get involved in a war for Scottish independence in 1745.

It’s Probably Nothing: More Adventures of a Vermont Country Doctor
By Beach Conger ’63, M.D. (Chelsea Green)
In this collection of stories, Conger writes about living and working in the small town of Dumster, Vt., where he returned to practice internal medicine after five years in Philadelphia.

The Primordial Mind in Health and Illness: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
By Michael Robbins ’55 (Routledge)
Robbins, a psychoanalyst, puts forth the concept of “primordial mental activity”—in contrast to conscious, rational thought—and uses examples from the Maori and other shamanistic cultures to illustrate its central role in human affairs.

Relative Strangers: Italian Protestants in the Catholic World
By Frank Cicero Jr. ’57 (Academy Chicago Publishers)
The author delves into his Italian heritage, his grandparents’ immigration to Chicago and the religious differences between the two sides of his family.

The Russian Word’s Worth: A Humorous and Informative Guide to Russian Language, Culture, and Translation
By Michele A. Berdy ’78 (Glas New Russian Writing)
This collection covers the first five years of Berdy’s popular weekly column in The Moscow Times.

The Spite House
By Elizabeth Knapp ’96 (C&R Press)
Knapp is an assistant professor of English at Hood College and winner of the 2007 Discovered Voices Award from Iron Horse Literary Review. The dozens of poems collected here include “Medusa in Hawaii” and “Spiderman Converts to Buddhism.”

Uneasy Allies: Working for Labor Reform in Nineteenth-Century Boston
By David A. Zonderman ’80 (University of Massachusetts Press)
This book, on the changing alliances among workers and middle-class reformers in 1800s Boston, includes descriptions of the key historical roles of Amherst graduates W.D.P. Bliss and Robert A. Woods.

Unfinished Travels and On the Wings of the Condor
By Seth E. Frank ’55 (New Eden Press)
These are the sixth and seventh collections of poetry by Frank, who also practices law.

Wasting the Night: Songs
Music by Scott Wheeler ’73 (Naxos)
An album of 24 songs composed between 1984 and 2007 and set to texts by Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Billy Collins and other poets