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Stanford Magazine

Books, Etc.


Frank Lloyd Wright and San Francisco, PAUL V. TURNER; Yale University Press, $65. While Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t hide his disdain for cities, he liked San Francisco. Charmed by the City’s landscape and people, he reserved his zingers for its buildings, at one point remarking, “It’s time you had another earthquake here.” Turner, professor emeritus of art history, discusses Wright’s plans, correspondence and idiosyncrasies in this survey of the architect’s 29 Bay Area projects — including an ambitious industrial complex in San Carlos and a “Butterfly-Wing Bridge” to link the City and Oakland, neither of which was built (nor were two-thirds of the others). Photos and Wright’s drawings lead to thoughts of what might have been.

The Veteran

My father came down not killed
from among others, killers or killed,
for whom he’d worn a uniform,
and he lived a long afterward,

a steady man on the flattest of plains.
I called after him many times, surprised
when I heard the catch in my own voice.
He didn’t know how to find the solace

of listening to someone else speak of
what he’d seen and survived.
He himself closed his own
mouth against his own words.

In the wrong sequence, his spirit,
then his mind, and last his body
crossed over that infamous, peat-inky,
metaphorical water that has no far shore.

I think he was carried like a leaf
in currents so gentle that a duckling,
had it been alive, could have braved them,
but too strong for a leaf. And saturated

with minerals that steadily replaced
organic cells, the water turned my father,
an ex-soldier, to leaf-delicate stone inscribed
with the axioms of countless veins.

— REGINALD GIBBONS, MA ’71, PhD ’74, in Last Lake; University of Chicago Press, $18.

“Once again, the path of joy was connection, and the path of sorrow was separation.”

— ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU, with HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA and DOUGLAS CARLTON ABRAMS, ’89, in The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World; Avery, $26.

Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life, JESSICA NUTIK ZITTER, ’87; Avery, $27. When Zitter became a doctor, her initial years of practice focused on “keeping hearts beating at all costs.” Later, she’d embrace an approach that prioritized a “good death.” This is the story of how she came to understand the nuances of patient-centered care, as compared with a single approach, at the end of a person’s life.

Should I Still Wish: A Memoir, JOHN W. EVANS; University of Nebraska Press, $19.95. In his first memoir, Young Widower, Evans, a Jones Lecturer and former Stegner fellow (2008–10), narrated his grief after the death of his first wife. While Wish is focused on his rebuilding a life, his sense of shame and loss is nearly palpable. A somber but hopeful love letter, Wish views his young family’s shared joys with an eye toward the future.

The Telomere Effect: The New Science of Living Younger, ELIZABETH BLACKBURN and ELISSA EPEL, ’90; Grand Central Publishing, $28. Nobel laureate Blackburn and psychologist Epel discuss the role that telomeres, chromosomes’ protective caps, play in the complex cellular aging process. Longer telomeres, the researchers found, are associated with people who maintain a healthful diet, stay active, manage their stress and sleep well. Nutrition and lifestyle changes, they say, can bring results to those with room for improvement.

The Revolutionaries Try Again, MAURO JAVIER CARDENAS, ’97; Coffee House Press, $16.95. In Cardenas’s bold and modern debut novel, Antonio has left Ecuador to study in America, but he hopes to return one day to lead the country with his friend Leopoldo, who stayed. Years later, Leopoldo calls to tell him the time is right, sparking a coming to terms with the state of their country, a meditation on what it means to write the story of one’s life, and a journey home.

American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason, CAROLINE WINTERER; Yale University Press, $35. What was the “American Enlightenment”? In a careful exploration of 18th-century texts, Winterer, a history professor and director of the Stanford Humanities Center, asks readers to look past modern myths about the era to better understand the multifaceted ways in which early Americans themselves understood their historical moment.

We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, JEFF CHANG; Picador, $16. Consider this a guide to understanding America’s racial reckoning. Chang, executive director of Stanford’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts, reimagines diversity as a liberating force, not as “a mark of Otherness” or “a term of corporate management.” Among the ideas he presents are that peace and justice are inextricable, protests by vulnerable people hold a moral weight, and grace is a powerful force for integration.

Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles: The Enigma of Francis Crawford, SCOTT RICHARDSON, MA ’80, PhD ’84; University of Missouri Press, $50. Fans of the “Lymond Chronicles” series of historical fiction, set in 16th-century Europe, will enjoy this journey into the psyche of Francis Crawford of Lymond. Richardson tracks the clues to the Scottish rogue’s motivations and troubled nature, and also discusses the games — social, metaphorical and physical — that mark Dunnett’s writing.


The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas, ADRIAN MILLER, ’91; University of North Carolina Press, $30. Throughout U.S. history, African-Americans have worked in presidential kitchens. These chefs, cooks, stewards and servers have stood at a unique intersection of class, personal relationship, race and power, writes Miller, a former special assistant to President Clinton. In a tone both intimate and scholarly, the book tells the story of “presidential foodways” from their perspectives. Recipes are included, a tangible reminder of the power of food to bring history to life.

The following did not appear in the print version of Stanford.

Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform, and the Politics of Influence, MEGAN E. TOMPKINS-STANGE, ’00, PhD ’13; Harvard Education Press, $31. Through 60 confidential interviews with key players and outside observers of four philanthropic foundations, Tompkins-Stange offers insights into the values and beliefs that shape the foundations’ strategies. Throughout the book, she explains how each has shaped education policy, practice and decision-making.

A Passion for Society: How We Think about Human Suffering, IAIN WILKINSON and ARTHUR KLEINMAN, ’62, PhD ’67; University of California Press, $29.95. Wilkinson and Kleinman argue that modern social science should not be a dispassionate study, but that it should reflect a moral commitment to addressing social suffering. Through a study of social science’s development, they argue that its original concern with care should be revitalized.

Bar Yarns and Manic-Depressive Mixtapes: Jim Walsh on Music from Minneapolis to the Outer Limits, JIM WALSH; University of Minnesota Press, $22.95. Walsh, a veteran music journalist and former Knight fellow, explores 30 years of music criticism of funk, pop and rock in Minneapolis, from Bob Marley to the Belfast Cowboys. You don’t have to know a thing about the Twin Cities to happily lose yourself in the nostalgia packed inside this collection of Walsh’s columns.

The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner, edited by RON RAPOPORT, ’62; University of Nebraska Press, $39.95. Lardner was an accomplished journalist as well as one of America’s great short story writers of the early 20th century. Former sports columnist Rapoport has gathered Lardner’s musings on sports, politics, war, poems and the American way of life into this archive, which covers his beginnings at the South Bend Times through his time at the Chicago Tribune and beyond.

What Universities Can Be: A New Model for Preparing Students for Active Concerned Citizenship and Ethical Leadership, ROBERT J. STERNBERG, PhD ’75; Cornell University Press, $29.95. In an accessible argument spanning all aspects of the university, Sternberg calls for a revision to higher education for the common good. Universities, he says, should produce critical thinkers who are also ethical leaders.

The National Mall: No Ordinary Public Space, LISA BENTON-SHORT, ’86; University of Toronto Press, $32.95. The Mall is often referred to as our nation’s front yard, yet it’s a significant public place that suffers bouts of disinterest and neglect, says Benton-Short. Throughout the book, she discusses the increased demands for access and security at the Mall after 9/11, the fragmented management by federal authorities, and how future plans for the Mall might take shape, with the public playing a role.

Navigating an Organizational Crisis, HARRY HUTSON, MA ’72, and MARTHA JOHNSON; Praeger, $37. Combining their own interviews with research on risk management and emergency preparedness, the authors analyze how individuals at the helm of major organizations respond to disaster — whether hurricane or financial meltdown — and look at how those decisions affected the institutions.

From Prisoner to PhD: Reflections on My Pathway to Desistance from Crime and Addiction, ANTHONY BAXTER, PhD ’89; self-published, $19.99. Tangling with the law and alcohol put Baxter on the fast track to destruction. He tells a frank and inspiring story about what finally spurs him to turn his life around, overcome his addictions and fight for a better future — one in which he envisions fulfilling his highest potential.

Private Tales, LEE AMOND (aka BILL NILLI), ’54, MBA ’59; self-published, $11.95. Being drafted into the military straight out of Stanford will make a young man grow up in a hurry. The author, a first-time novelist, turns his real-life memories into rollicking tales of a private who got more than he bargained for during his short tour in the 1950s from the sandy dunes of Fort Ord, Calif., to the Champs-Élysées and the Pigalle.

Painted Doll, JONELLE PATRICK, ’80; Bancroft & Greene, $15.99. When a mysterious phone caller suggests that Detective Kenji Nakamura’s mother’s death was no accident, he sets out to discover the truth — and its consequences.

Fire Angels, ELIZABETH KERN, MLA ’96; Chicago Review Press, $14.99. Based on the real-life school fire that devastated Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood in 1958, Fire Angels takes readers behind the tragedy that killed 92 children and 3 nuns. But the blaze was only the beginning, as the community questions who started the fire and what to do with the perpetrator.

Student Stress at the Transition to Middle School, ANN VANDER STOEP, ’73, and KELLY THOMPSON, ’76; Norton Books in Education, $24.95. Drawing on their backgrounds in children’s mental health, the authors offer teachers, parents and counselors a clear guide to determine whether students’ stress is becoming problematic, and share guidance on helping them navigate the choppy waters between elementary school and middle school.

Vignettes of Yvette at Vi, JOHN G. GURLEY, ’42, PhD ’51; self-published, $11.95. A four-part series of love stories for his wife (More Vignettes of Yvette at Vi, Even More Vignettes of Yvette at Vi and Bringing Back Yvette), Vignettes recalls the author’s memories of Yvette, his struggle to relinquish his partner to dementia, and the final coda to their nearly 70 years together.

Composing Science, LESLIE ATKINS ELLIOTT, KIM JAXON and IRENE SALTER, ’97, MA ’97; Teachers College Press, $32.95. Whether it’s for writing research papers or grants, scientists must develop the skills to convey their ideas clearly and effectively. This guide, designed for secondary- and university-level faculty, offers classroom models and strategies for teaching students to be better science communicators.

Objectives and Key Results, PAUL R. NIVEN and BEN LAMORTE, MS ’98; John Wiley & Sons, $49.95. In their guidebook to OKRs, the authors walk readers through this “critical thinking framework and ongoing discipline” that’s relevant to any organization. Supported by examples from companies like IBM and Flipkart, the book offers personal experience and best practices from around the business world.

Antigua: Photographs 1967–1973, MARGO DAVIS; Nazraeli Press, $75. Davis, who taught at Stanford in the 1980s and in the mid-2000s, presents her collection of photos showing the faces and landscapes of Antigua. The close ties between the island’s rural population and its heritage and culture are apparent; the villagers’ ancestors arrived from Africa by ship centuries ago to work as slaves in sugarcane and cotton fields.

Oola, BRITTANY NEWELL, ’16; Henry Holt and Company, $16. Leif, a 25-year-old drifter, connects with Oola, a music-school dropout, in Newell’s debut novel. Narrated from Leif’s point of view, the novel chronicles his project to map Oola’s every thought, gesture and emotion.

Growing a Life: Teen Gardeners Harvest Food, Health and Joy, ILLÈNE PEVEC, ’70; New Village Press, $21.95. Community gardening researcher Pevec interviews over 90 youths and adult mentors involved in urban gardening programs. The teens describe in their own words how gardening has improved their physical and mental well-being, and how it has helped build a nurturing environment within their neighborhoods.



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