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Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance
Edited by Scott L. Newstok, Rhodes Associate Professor of English, and Ayanna Thompson, Associate Professor of English, Arizona State University. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. 308 pp. $28.95 paperback, $90 hardcover

A volume of more than two dozen essays provides innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to the various ways Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” has been adapted and appropriated in the context of American racial constructions. It explores “Macbeth’s” haunting presence in American drama, poetry, film, music, history, politics, acting and directing—all through the intersections of race and performance.

 

 

 

Mapping Morality in Postwar German Women’s Fiction: Christa Wolf, Ingeborg Drewitz & Grete Weil
By Michelle Mattson, Rhodes Associate Professor of German. Rochester, NY: Camden House. 194 pp. $75

Christa Wolf (1929-), Ingeborg Drewitz (1923-86) and Grete Weil (1906-99) occupy very different positions in postwar German literature, yet all three challenge readers to consider how individuals understand their roles in history and how they negotiate their personal responsibilities based on those roles.

They ground their projects in the family, an institution often left out of such inquiries, giving them a different starting point for moral reflection. Each attempts to map a geography of morals that begins within the structures of the extended family but examines individual responsibility in an increasingly globalized environment.

 

 

Beyond All Price
By Carolyn Poling Schriber, Rhodes Professor Emerita of History. Memphis: Katzenhaus Books. $14.95

A work of historical fiction about Nellie M. Chase, the famous Civil War nurse who developed her career with the 100 Pennsylvania Roundhead Regiment following brief service for the 12 Pennsylvania Volunteers.

The book weaves a story of an independent young woman with a stormy past trying to give meaning to her life by dedicating herself to the Union cause as a regimental nurse, a “matron of mercy.” A battered wife, at the outbreak of war in 1861, Nellie chooses to escape this dismal existence and finds her way into the service of the Roundheads.

 

 

The Conversion of Herman the Jew: Autobiography, History and Fiction in the Twelfth Century
By Jean-Claude Schmitt, translation by Rhodes Assistant Professor of History Alex J. Novikoff. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 320 pp. $59.95

Sometime toward the middle of the 12th century, it is supposed that an obscure figure who was born a Jew in Cologne and later became a priest in Cappenberg in Westphalia, wrote a Latin account of his conversion to Christianity. Known as the Opusculum, the book was purportedly written by “Herman, the former Jew.”

French historian Jean-Claude Schmitt examines this singular text and the ways in which it has divided its readers. Some have taken it as an authentic conversion narrative, while others have asked if it is a complete fabrication forged by Christian clerics.

Schmitt examines the text to explore its meaning within the society and culture of its period. He seizes upon the debates surrounding the Opusculum (the text of which is newly translated for this volume) to ponder more fundamentally the ways in which historians think and write.

 

The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy
By Hardy Green ’70. New York: Basic Books. 264 pp. $26.95

Hershey bars, Kohler bathroom fixtures, Tabasco sauce, Spam, even Google are products come from “company towns,” in which one business dominates the local economy and culture. Hardy Green shows how company towns (including Oak Ridge, TN) are the essence of America and offers a compelling analysis of the effect these towns have had on the development of U.S. capitalism since the late 1700s. Green is a former associate editor at BusinessWeek, where he was responsible for the magazine’s book review coverage.

 

 

 

Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries
By Molly Caldwell Crosby ’95. New York: Berkley Books. 304 pp. $24.95

In 1918, World War I was raging and a lethal strain of influenza was circling the globe. Yet, another disease appeared in Europe—encephalitis lethargica, sleeping sickness, also spread across the world, leaving millions dead or institutionalized. Then, in 1927, it seemed to have suddenly disappeared. The book, set in 1920s and ’30s New York, follows a group of neurologists through hospitals and asylums as they try to solve this worldwide epidemic.

 

 

 

Redeeming the Wounded
By Bruce Cook ’68. Longwood, FL: Xulon Press. 232 pp. $15.99

Bruce Cook has served as a chaplain who has ministered both to prisoners, and crime victims who have experienced the homicide of a loved one. The book reveals there are spiritual and practical ways to enable the process of healing the wounds and repairing the harm. The inspiration behind substantive victims’ rights legislation in Georgia for the past 25 years, Cook, a crime victim himself, challenges the reader to recognize that ministry is where retributive and restorative patterns of justice intersect.

 

 

 

The Frozen Rabbi
By Steve Stern ’70. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books. 384 pp. $24.95

The latest novel by Steve Stern, professor of English at Skidmore College, deals with what happens when Bernie Karp, the impressionable 15-year-old son of the Memphis couple in whose home a rabbi lies frozen, inadvertently thaws out the ancient man. When the rabbi comes fully and mischievously to life, Bernie finds himself on an unexpected odyssey to understand his heritage (Jewish), his role in life (nebbish hero), and his destiny (to ensure the rabbi’s future).

The reader enters the lives of the people who struggled to transport the holy man’s block of ice, surviving pogroms, a transatlantic journey (in steerage, of course), an ice-house fire in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and finally, a train trip to the city on the Mississippi.

 

 

Planet Cancer
By Heidi Schultz Adams ’88 and Christopher Schultz. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press. 272 pp. $19.95

Heidi Adams is founder of Planet Cancer, an advocacy group for young adults with cancer, and director of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Grassroots Engagement. Every year, nearly 700,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 40 in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer. Since Adams’ own treatment at age 26 for Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, she has been an advocate for these young adults.

The book explores the myriad issues unique to this segment of the population. A down-to-earth guide, it includes deeply personal and unflinching essays designed to remove some of the mystery and fear of the unknown for patients and their loved ones.

 

 

I’m Stalking Jake!
By Becky Heineke ’04. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse. 288 pp. $20.95

It was 2006, Brokeback Mountain was inspiring critical acclaim and Becky Heineke, two years out of college, was thinking Jake Gyllenhaal was looking pretty good. With nothing better to do, she joined a girl she’d never met to write a blog called Jake Watch. The blog ran for 19 months.

While countless books have been written about celebrities, blogs and the impact of the Internet on our changing culture, I’m Stalking Jake! exemplifies their influence on the first generation to grow up obsessed with all three. It is a memoir unique to the age in which it was written, a comedy about the drama of growing up and reaching out in the era of Internet addiction and celebrity infatuation.

 

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