Faculty books

Ray book cover

Crossing the Color Line
By Carina E. Ray
Ohio University Press, $32.95

Ray, associate professor of African and Afro-American studies, sheds light on the intimate relationships formed between African women and European men during Ghana’s colonial era. These connections, which sometimes grew out of true mutual affection, both bolstered and undercut white imperialism on the Gold Coast, occasionally in unexpected ways. Winner of the 2016 American Historical Association’s Wesley-Logan Prize in African diaspora history.

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New Ghosts
By Laura Quinney
Borderland Books, $15

This collection of poetry by Quinney, professor of English, takes stock of beginnings and endings, and the many passages in between. A poem titled “To the Romans” opens like this: “First comes / the process of building / things up / and then / comes that of / taking them away / as a child is nursed / into a desire for life / and then shown / what living / entails.”

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The Age of Longevity
By Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers
Rowman & Littlefield, $35

Late adulthood — the span of years between 55 and 80-plus — looks and feels much different than it did even five decades ago, when “Hope I die before I get old” was a generation’s banner cry. As life­spans extend, Barnett, a Women’s Studies Research Center senior scientist, and her co-author discuss how to maintain a sense of vitality and possibility in our work; relationships; and intellectual, psychological and spiritual development, whatever our age.

Alumni books

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The Boat Rocker
By Ha Jin, MA’89, PhD’93
Pantheon, $25.95

A deceitful government intent on manipulating its citizens. A novelist willing to be the government’s pawn. An investigative reporter determined to expose lies, including those told by the novelist, who just happens to be his ex-wife. In this latest novel by National Book Award winner Ha Jin, the country in question is China. But the yearning for truth and integrity amid a churn of disinformation will hold resonance for readers everywhere.

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Thank You for Being Late
By Thomas L. Friedman ’75, H’88
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28

Always in a whirl? No time to take a breath? This book by the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times foreign-affairs columnist — subtitled “An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations” — pinpoints the factors (technology, globalization, climate change, biodiversity loss) quickening the transformations around us. It also advises on how to extract the good from some transitions and protect yourself from others. To keep abreast of change, you are going to have to change.

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American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804
By Alan Taylor, PhD’86
W.W. Norton & Co., $37.50

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor, the Thomas Jefferson Professor of History at the University of Virginia, writes the follow-up to his acclaimed “American Colonies” volume. As this epic history makes clear, the struggle for independence wasn’t an exercise in soaring rhetoric; it was a prolonged, bloody birth. Nearly every American felt the brunt of war: “A plundered farm was a more common experience than a glorious and victorious charge,” Taylor notes.

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Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton
By Joe Conason ’75
Simon & Schuster, $30

Whatever your political persuasion, prepare to be fascinated by this detailed account of former President Bill Clinton’s post-White House global philanthropy. With unusual access to the former president and those close to him, journalist Conason attempts to sort fact from fiction in a highly readable account of the Clinton Foundation’s work in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, including its diligent fight against HIV/AIDS.

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Gone With the Mind
By Mark Leyner ’77
Back Bay Books, $15.99

When is an autobiography not an autobiography? When it’s written by Leyner, master of the comic novel. Some of this pseudo-memoir might be true. Much of it is surreal. And all of it is funny. The narrative, structured like a stand-up routine, imagines Leyner delivering a talk to a very small, very bored audience in a New Jersey mall.

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Cruel Beautiful World
By Caroline Leavitt ’74
Algonquin Books, $26.95

Sixteen-year-old Lucy decides to run off with her 30-year-old English teacher. What’s the big deal? It’s 1969, and unconventional behavior is now the norm. Unfortunately, when the new boyfriend turns out to be a control freak who isolates the Waltham, Massachusetts, high-schooler in the middle of rural Pennsylvania, a lot can go wrong, and does. Lucy’s sister and adoptive mother must try to find and retrieve her in this psychological nail-biter of a novel.

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A House Without Windows
By Nadia Hashimi ’00
William Morrow, $15.99

In her latest novel, Hashimi returns to a favorite theme: women’s lives in modern Afghanistan. Jailed for the hatchet murder of her husband, Zeba forms friendships with other female prisoners, who see prison as both a privation and a refuge. Did Zeba really kill her husband? Her Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer isn’t sure, and Zeba won’t say much in her own defense. As the plot unspools, we learn how a dutiful wife might be judged a criminal.

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Siren Sisters
By Dana Langer ’03, MAT’08
Simon & Schuster, $16.99

This fantasy novel for readers ages 9-13, set in small-town coastal Maine, is told from the perspective of a girl on the edge of 13, dreading her impending initiation into the family calling: singing songs to lure sailors to a rocky end. When the girl’s beautiful older sisters are kidnapped, she confronts a new problem: finding a way to get them back, even if it means giving in to her siren side.

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The End of Miracles
By Monica Starkman ’59
She Writes Press, $16.95

After years of difficult fertility treatments, a woman in her late 30s is thrilled to be pregnant. After losing the baby late in the pregnancy, she becomes desolate and increasingly unmoored. Starkman, a psychiatrist, writes a moving novel about the psychic impact of infertility and premature delivery, the debilitating depression that can result, and the solace an insightful psychotherapist can bring to the grief-stricken.

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Cutting Room
By Jessica de Koninck ’75, P’04
Terrapin Books, $16

In her first full-length collection of poetry, de Koninck — who left her law practice to devote herself to writing — assembles a case for joy, without glossing over the grief that has pierced her own life, including the illness and death of her husband, Paul ’80. Simple images offer a reason to embrace the world: sleeping dogs, crocuses, Bruce Springsteen.

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Caring for Red: A Daughter’s Memoir
By Mindy Fried, PhD’96
Vanderbilt University Press, $24.95

Fried’s father, Red, was an actor, a writer and a fearless union organizer. As he entered his mid-90s, however, he could no longer live an independent life, and his children stepped in to help. Fried writes sensitively about what it’s like when an adult child and an aging parent switch caregiving roles and embark on a new, sometimes fraught journey.

Shapiro book

Life Pig
By Alan Shapiro ’74
University of Chicago Press, $18

This collection of poems reflects on the vitality of the human animal by surveying public touchstones (the Holocaust, the first walk on the moon) and moments private to the poet (the death of his elderly mother). Shapiro is a Distinguished Professor of English at UNC Chapel Hill and the author of many poetry collections, including books that were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

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Assassin of Youth: A Kaleidoscopic History of Harry J. Anslinger’s War on Drugs
By Alexandra Chasin ’84
University of Chicago Press, $35

Chasin, associate professor of literary studies at the New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, charts the not-so-high times of America’s first “drug czar”: Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from the 1930s to the ’60s. Using a vivid narrative style, Chasin examines Anslinger’s prohibitionist and punitive bent, and explains how his philosophies still influence U.S. drug policies.

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Native American Almanac
By Yvonne Wakim Dennis, Arlene Hirschfelder ’65 and Shannon Rothenberger Flynn
Visible Ink Press, $24.95

An exhaustive single-volume source of information on Native American culture, organized by geographic region (along with a chapter on city dwellers). Topics range from activist/actor Russell Means (1940-2012), to life in the pueblo villages of New Mexico, to environmental activists’ resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Prison Break: Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration
By David Dagan ’02, MA’03, and Steven Teles
Oxford University Press, $29.95

Tough-on-crime U.S. conservatives were once the energy behind the prison industry’s explosive growth. Now many conservative politicians are increasingly anti-incarceration, motivated in part by fiscal pressures and a mounting desire to roll back big government. The shift, argue Dagan, a PhD candidate in political science at Johns Hopkins, and his co-author, could offer new opportunities for across-the-aisle compromise on criminal-justice reform.

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Ordinary Magic
By Alison Stone ’84
NYQ Books, $14.95

Stone’s poems in her most-recent collection use tarot-inspired imagery and ideas as lenses for examining ordinary life. In the book’s “Pentacles” section, there’s a poem titled “8. Brandeis Senior Year,” which begins “Things sure have changed since Abbie Hoffman started / Sandwhichman and dosed the tuna fish.”

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Human Rights and Social Justice, Second Edition
By Joseph Wronka, Heller PhD’92
SAGE Publications, $79

The second edition of this book for practitioners and scholars working in the helping and health professions is rooted in the idea that human rights form the cornerstone of social justice, and offers a useful framework for policy and practice interventions. Wronka is professor of social work at Springfield College, in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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The Essential Hayim Greenberg
Edited by Mark A. Raider, MA’93, PhD’96
University of Alabama Press, $39.95

Raider, a professor of modern Jewish history at the University of Cincinnati, collects and annotates a new edition of the essays and addresses of Hayim Greenberg (1889-1953), a prominent Jewish thinker and Zionist activist. This is the first collection of Greenberg’s work since 1968.

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The Feet Say Run
By Daniel A. Blum ’80
Gabriel’s Horn Press, $16.99

A novel about the Holocaust and its aftermath that casts aside stereotypes to focus on the complicated humanity of average people caught up in the gale-force winds of history. Marooned on a remote Pacific island, a man now in his 80s remembers his time in the German army, his love for a Jewish girl and the lasting effect the Nazi years had on his life. By turns comic and searing.

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Bedtime Stories for Grown-Up Girls
By E.B. Lande ’73
CreateSpace, $11.99

Frenemies/former business partners Lillian and Cydney haven’t seen each other in 15 years. When they reconnect at a funeral, sparks fly. As they rehash their shared past, amusing confrontations and unexpected revelations abound. Novelist Lande is an entrepreneur and former high-tech executive.

Benjamin book cover

The Catastrophic Self
By Marlene Benjamin, PhD’86
Fisher Imprints, $24

Associate professor emerita in political science at Stonehill College, Benjamin pens a collection of essays that delve into philosophy, memoir and medical trauma. She explains her impetus this way: “I have suffered many illnesses and discovered that my formal training in philosophy has not always helped me to understand these illnesses, despite the fact that philosophy is meant to help us live our lives more fully and self-consciously.”

Worden book cover

Postmodern/Postwar — And After: Rethinking American Literature
Edited by Jason Gladstone, Andrew Hoberek and Daniel Worden, MA’02, PhD’06
University of Iowa Press, $65

The essays collected here reflect on the past, present and future of the postmodern tradition for writers and literature scholars. Worden, whose research focuses on aesthetics and American politics, teaches in the School of Individualized Study at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Kuchinsky book cover

Time’s Hostage
By Brenda Kuchinsky ’71
Self-published, $14.99

A recurrence of epilepsy has Sophia worried, especially since Holocaust-related hallucinations now accompany the seizures. Soon, discoveries about her husband’s sexual life and the affair she has in response lead her into even more dangerous territory. A novel written by a South Florida psychologist, the daughter of Holocaust survivors.

Brandeis University Press

Forgosh book cover

Louis Bamberger: Department Store Innovator and Philanthropist 
By Linda B. Forgosh
$29.95

Like the founders of Macy’s and Filene’s, Louis Bamberger (1855-1944) was a German Jewish businessman who built an eponymous department-store empire, his from humble beginnings in Newark, New Jersey. A marketing trendsetter who became a multimillionaire and a tireless philanthropist, Bamberger was also a reclusive man who never married. This first full-length biography fills in many blanks to reveal an interesting life and enduring legacy.

Schwarz-Friesel and Reinharz book cover

Inside the Antisemitic Mind: The Language of Jew-Hatred in Contemporary Germany
By Monika Schwarz-Friesel and Jehuda Reinharz, PhD’72, H’11
$40

Though antisemitism knows no national boundary, Germany remains a flashpoint for hatred aimed at Jews. To understand the nature of contemporary antisemitism, Former Brandeis President Reinharz and his co-author study the results of a linguistic analysis of thousands of emails, letters, postcards and faxes sent from Germany to that country’s Central Council of Jews and Berlin’s Israeli Embassy between 2002-12.

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A Season of Singing: Creating Feminist Jewish Music in the United States
By Sarah M. Ross
$40

An examination of feminist Jewish songwriting in the United States, the emergence of which paralleled the rising popularity of secular women musicians during the 1970s-80s. The songwriters studied include Debbie Friedman, Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel, along with many others who compose feminist music for Jewish rituals and synagogue services.

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