Faculty books

Edited by Sylvia Barack Fishman
Brandeis University Press, $40
Shifting sociocultural norms regarding divorce, LGBTQ rights, single motherhood and more are transforming how Jews see love, marriage and family. These wide-ranging essays by social historians and legal scholars — edited by Fishman, the Joseph and Esther Foster Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life — take stock of changes in Jewish partnering and parenting styles in both the U.S. and Israel, along with their religious and legal implications.

Alumni books

By David Jaher ’88

Crown, $28
Named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015, “The Witch of Lime Street” is a true tale of a Jazz Age battle of wits. In the far corner: A lovely Boston spiritualist, whose apparent successes in contacting the dead impressed many notables (including Arthur Conan Doyle). Her opponent: Harry Houdini, the escape artist who enjoyed debunking con artists lurking in the shadows of the occult. Jaher, who’s worked as both a screenwriter and an astrologer, opens the curtain on a stranger-than-fiction time when, after the horrors of World War I, there was a deep hunger to believe in the paranormal, even among the scientific community.
By Steven Hatch ’91

Basic Books, $27.99
The title refers to a rueful acknowledgment radiologists often make: Finding a tumor in a mammogram is like locating a snowball in a blizzard. Physician Hatch (profiled in his role as Ebola fighter in the Winter 2014/15 issue) probes medicine’s “known unknowns,” believing a better understanding of them can help inform Americans, who tend — incorrectly — to see a West African virus as more threatening to their health than a bacon double cheeseburger.

By Peggy Levitt ’80

University of California Press, $29.95
From Copenhagen to Boston, Singapore to Doha, Levitt, a Wellesley College sociology professor, contemplates the tensions between nationalism and globalism reflected by world-class museums. Curators constantly wrestle with questions related to multiculturalism and national pride, she says, striving to give museumgoers “certain kinds of knowledge based on a certain set of values,” values that vary from curator to curator, museum to museum, city to city.
By William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh ’78

University of North Carolina Press, $25
Last summer’s restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba reversed 54 years of official silence between the two nations. Yet, as this absorbing account proves, the conversation had never really stopped. Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Security Archive, and his co-author detail the secret behind-the-scenes efforts of every presidential administration since Eisenhower to establish detente with Cuba.
By Greg Renoff, PhD’04

ECW Press, $18.95
“Runnin’ With the Devil” is your weekend anthem, but you’ve never considered Van Halen a metal band, exactly. Well, Renoff believes you should. In this exhaustive look at the band’s early years, he details how Van Halen kept heavy-metal music alive by welding pop hooks and choruses onto “monster power chords,” “guitar acrobatics” and “jackhammer rhythms.” He tells plenty of gossipy offstage stories, too. Are you a fan of well-researched, well-written rock-band bios? Might as well jump! This book’s for you.

By Daniel L. Mallock ’86

Skyhorse Publishing, $27.99
They were fellow patriots and fierce rivals. In retirement, they wrote affectionate, self-revealing letters to each other. They died hours apart on the same day, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the original dynamic duo of American politics. Mallock takes a close look at their complicated relationship, and the times that tested and fostered it.

By Becky Winkler ’07

Harvard Common Press, $24.95
Food writer Winkler adopted the paleo diet because she didn’t want to gain weight while developing recipes for her blog A Calculated Whisk. She gives this latest assortment of paleo recipes authentic international flavors — rich with za’atar, garam masala and ancho chile salsa — and also explains how you can make your own spice blends and sauces from scratch. The savory and sweet results range from Yu Hsiang Chicken and Eggplant, to Chiles Rellenos.

By Lewis Carroll and Dan Hirshon ’04

Six State Press, $21.99
Passages from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” turn into a down-the-rabbit-hole tour of urban life when combined with more than 60 black-and-white photos of Manhattan taken by Hirshon, a photographer and filmmaker. An evocative composite of familiar prose and elegant, gritty, intimate images.
By Lawrence Rosen ’63

University of Chicago Press, $27.50
To comprehend the transformation of Morocco from colony to modern Arab state, Rosen, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Anthropology at Princeton, gets inside the head of four ordinary Moroccans, residents of Sefrou whom Rosen has conversed with over the course of four decades. By exploring the intellectual development of these men, Rosen begins to grasp how their country and Arab culture have evolved.
By Ebenezer Wheelwright
, edited by Richard Kopley ’71

Penn State University Press, $64.95
A novel about a beautiful woman accused of being a witch in 17th-century Massachusetts, “The Salem Belle,” published in 1842, served as one of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s sources for “The Scarlet Letter.” Kopley, a Hawthorne scholar and Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Penn State DuBois, not only introduces and annotates this reprint of the Wheelwright novel, he provides analysis that restores it to its place in American literary history.
Edited by Samuel O. Okpaku, Heller PhD’79

Cambridge University Press, $145
As the world becomes smaller, the effects of health problems, including those related to mental health, move swiftly from country to country, eventually touching the lives of all global citizens. Okpaku, executive director of the Center for Health, Culture and Society, has put together a series of essays that define key challenges and best practices for professionals working to ameliorate mental disorders worldwide. This collection received high commendation at the British Medical Association’s 2015 Medical Book Awards.
By Sally R. Gaglini ’81

Zip Celebrity Media, $19.95
You’re convinced your child could be the next Disney Channel megastar. How do you make sure she has a safe and successful career? Gaglini, a Boston-area attorney who teaches at Suffolk University Law School, helps families and professionals navigate the twists and turns along the road to child stardom, such as avoiding scams, signing (and getting out of) contracts, handling money and dealing with unions. A thorough guide, suitable for proud parents, talent managers and entertainment lawyers alike.
By Beth McGuire, MFA’81

Routledge, $34.95
Director of speech and dialects at Yale School of Drama, McGuire assembles a first-of-its-kind workbook to help performers perfect specific African accents (an accompanying website offers access to more than 75 relevant audio clips). McGuire served as vocal and dialect coach for Broadway’s “Eclipsed,” a drama about the abuse of women during Liberia’s civil wars, starring Lupita Nyong’o.
By Rachel S. Schneider ’05

Sensory World, $14.95
Those with sensory processing disorder (SPD) or an autism spectrum disorder contend with a world that can seem too loud, too busy, too bright. Schneider, who was diagnosed with SPD at age 27 and writes the insightful Coming to My Senses blog, offers an advocate’s look at what life is like for those who over- or underreact to sounds, sights, smells, tastes and touch, and what they and their families can do to address their sensitivities.
By Amy Beth Taublieb ’80

AuthorHouse, $37.99
Taublieb, a licensed psychologist, compiles 200 therapeutic life lessons she’s learned from her patients as they struggle with and overcome depression, anger, grief, anxiety and other psychological issues. These insights are based not on approaches academics believe should work but on those Taublieb and her patients have found do work, presented in concise, direct language.

By Jessica Pressman ’97, Mark C. Marino and Jeremy Douglass

University of Iowa Press, $50
A trio of readers — including Pressman, associate editor of American fiction at the journal Contemporary Literature — write about their encounters with “Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit},” a 2005 work of electronic literature by William Poundstone, which combines high-speed, one-word-at-a-time text animation with wild visual and aural effects. This book, the authors explain, “is about reading ‘Project,’ but it also is a project about reading.”

Edited by Cristina Giorcelli and Paula Rabinowitz ’74

University of Minnesota Press, $27.50
In the final volume of their four-part “Habits of Being” series, Rabinowitz and her co-editor present more essays by scholars and artists deconstructing the social, cultural and political expression of clothing. This volume’s topic is extravagance, both in accessories and ornamentation — from earrings, to corsages, to crowns. Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota.

Brandeis University Press

By Edna Aizenberg
Analyzing the literary output of five Latin American writers — Borges, Gerchunoff, Guimarães Rosa, Lispector and Mistral — Aizenberg, professor emerita of Hispanic studies at Marymount Manhattan College, considers what their work reveals about their commitment to anti-fascism during the Nazi era. In doing so, she punctures the popular notion that countries like Argentina, Brazil and Chile overwhelmingly welcomed Nazis and Nazi ideology with open arms.

By Hillel Cohen
Cohen, senior lecturer in the Department of Islam and Middle East Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, presents new research into the 1929 massacres in Mandate Palestine. The detail Cohen uncovers in his extensive exploration of archival materials from Jewish, Arab and British sources sheds fresh light on the Jewish-Arab conflict today.