Brandeis Magazine

Winter 2023/2024

On the Bookshelf

Faculty Books

Book cover for American Anarchy

By Michael Willrich
Basic Books, $35

Imagine a world without states, laws, or private property. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, anarchists like Emma Goldman did just that, becoming heroes to many working-class immigrants and traitors in the eyes of powerful elites. Willrich, the Leff Families Professor of History, describes these battles over freedom, social order, and capitalism, which continue to color political discourse today.

Book cover for The Saga of Edmund Burke

By Mark Hulliung
Routledge, $170

Everyone claims Edmund Burke as their own, writes Hulliung, the Richard Koret Professor Emeritus of the History of Ideas, in this reexamination of the 18th-century British political philosopher’s reach. Modern-day conservatives regard him as their father. At the same time, as one 20th-century Marxist averred, his ideas offer “deep comfort” to those “of liberal temper. The book ends with a chapter that considers the “Americanization” of Burke.

Book cover for Earthsea

By John Plotz
Oxford University Press, $24.95

The Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities plumbs his “deeply personal” experience of reading Ursula Le Guin’s “Earthsea” cycle of fantasy novels. “What makes readers fall in love?” Plotz writes. “I can only speak for one childhood — and one adulthood — spent reading Le Guin, but I would bet my last nickel there are thousands of us out there. It had me from the start.”

Book cover for The Gastronomical Arts in Spain

Edited by Frederick A. de Armas and James Mandrell
University of Toronto Press, $75.35

Co-editor Mandrell, associate professor of Hispanic studies, assembles essays that sample Spanish cuisine from medieval times to today. Drawing on literature, cookbooks, and periodicals, the book offers a historical look at what Spaniards ate and how, modern appetites, and culinary fashions.

Book cover for Germany’s Other Modernism

By Meike G. Werner, Translated by Stephen Dowden
Camden House, $125

Dowden, a professor of German, writes an English translation of a 2003 German volume studying the rise of European modernism. Instead of concentrating on a capital like Paris or Vienna, the book takes stock of the social and intellectual transformations within a small provincial city — Jena, Germany.

Alumni Books

Book cover for Golda Meir: Israel’s Matriarch

By Deborah E. Lipstadt, GSAS MA’72, PhD’76, H’19
Yale University Press, $26

Historian Lipstadt, now the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, paints a comprehensive portrait of Golda Meir, H’73, who served as Israel’s prime minister from 1969-74. Not surprisingly, gender politics played a significant role in Meir’s career; she was only the third woman to serve as a head of state in the 20th century.

Book cover for The Controversialist

By Martin Peretz ’59, H’89
Wicked Son, $28

Peretz, former publisher and editor-in-chief of the New Republic, revisits his controversial life and career, including his anti-war activism and decades-long stewardship of a high-profile opinion journal. ”I am a marginalized man,” he writes, partly because “everything I have believed always turned out to be somewhat on the margins; people who are held up as paragons have never been my people.”

Book cover for The One-Idea Rule

By Mark Rennella, GSAS MA’94, PhD’01
Matt Holt Books, $19.95

Every component of a successful piece of writing — title, section heads, paragraphs, sentences — ought to express just one idea. So goes the elegantly simple rule at the heart of this writing guide, which pinpoints a lack of focus as the problem that sinks many a research paper, newspaper article, or business report. Rennella is a writing coach at Harvard Business School.

Book cover for A Tour De Farce

By Gary Lassin ’77
The Stoogeum, $49.95

Lassin, founder of the Stoogeum, a Three Stooges memorabilia museum in Pennsylvania, documents his favorite trio’s performances at theaters, fairs, and military bases around the world. Not content to be mayhem makers on-screen, the boys showed off their patented eye pokes and head boinks at live shows from the 1920s to the 1960s. Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk!
Book cover for The Great Dismissal

By Henry Sussman ’68
Bloomsbury Academic, $26.95

In a series of essays, literary scholar Sussman laments the loss of humanistic traditions and ideals in the public and political spheres. Anti-intellectualism, the siren call of self-interest, and the normalization of pathological narcissism among politicians are some of the topics he bitingly, carefully addresses.

Book cover for Love Letter From Pig

By Julie Kabat ’68, ’70
University Press of Mississippi, $28

Kabat (whose childhood nickname was Pig) mines letters, diary entries, and essays written by her older brother Luke for a firsthand look at 1964’s Freedom Summer, when hundreds of students descended on Mississippi to register Black voters, challenge white supremacy, and work for civil rights. Kabat presents a moving tribute to these young activists, especially her brother, who died just two years after that summer in the South.

Book cover for No Longer Radical

By Rachel Brem ’79, P’08, and Christy Teal
Simon Element, $18

A comprehensive survey of treatment options for patients diagnosed with breast cancer, now the most common cancer in the world. Thanks to advancements in treatment, 40% fewer diagnosed patients die of the disease today compared with two decades ago. Brem is a radiology professor and the director of breast imaging and intervention at The George Washington University.

Book cover for Fragile Victory

By James E. Cronin, GSAS PhD’77
Yale University Press, $40

Liberal democracies no longer seem secure. But they never really have been, argues Cronin, a Boston College research professor in history. Maintaining liberal order required constant readjustment after upheavals like the Cold War and the collapse of communism, a reminder that offers useful context for those who fear for peace and democracy in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, Brexit, and the war in Ukraine.

Book cover for The Book of Almosts, Nice Tries, and Good Attempts

By Seth Goldberg ’90, Illustrated by Stephen Stone
Goldberg Agency, $29.99

This collection of brief illustrated satirical stories — for adults, not children — catalogs epic fails you’re happy haven’t happened to you (yet). Titles include “The Man Who Sat Behind Lincoln’s Hat,” “The Woman Who Claimed To Have Exact Change,” and “The Second Person To Discover Fire.”

Book cover for  Outermost Writing From Cape Cod

By Christopher Ward Ellsasser ’86
Outermost Enterprises, $15.95

Cape Cod resident Ellsasser taps into the silences and physical beauty of his home to craft spare, affecting ruminations on the human condition: “For those of us who live by the ocean, the echo of the colliding sea and land is where the self encounters the world, where we realize that nothing stands apart.”

Book cover for Love Betrayal Murder

By Adam Mitzner ’86, GSAS MA’86
Blackstone Publishing, $26.99

In this suspenseful thriller, Matthew and Vanessa, attorneys at a high-powered law firm, are having an affair, provoking Vanessa’s husband’s suspicions. Vanessa, strangely, fails to make partner at work. Then someone in the lovers’ triangle meets a bloody end on a Manhattan street. Throughout the gathering intrigue, Mitzner demonstrates his sure-handed mastery of gasp-out-loud plot twists.

Book cover for Her Honor: Stories of Challenge and Triumph From Women Judges

Edited by Lauren Stiller Rikleen ’75
American Bar Association, $24.85

A selection of essays about 25 influential women judges in the U.S., filled with stories of personal struggle and hard-won accomplishment. The jurists featured come from all levels of state and federal courts, including two Supreme Court justices.

Book cover for Who Wrote This? How AI and the Lure of Efficiency Threaten Human Writing

By Naomi S. Baron ’68
Stanford University Press, $30

The new tug-of-war between people’s millennia-old ability to communicate with words and machines’ recent, uncanny capacity to do the same represents a “historic human moment,” says linguist Baron. With this watershed comes urgent questions: “What writing tasks should we share with AI? Which might we cede? How do we draw the line?”

Related article: ‘Language Is Something Very Personal’

Book cover for Interpreting Sports at Museums and Historic Sites

Edited by Kathryn Leann Harris with Douglas Stark ’94
Rowman and Littlefield, $40

A collection of essays by museum professionals, historians, and sports experts, advising curators of all stripes on how to include sports history in their exhibitions. Stark, the former museum director at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, has also worked at the United States Golf Association Museum and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Book cover for Dwell Time: A Memoir of Art, Exile, and Repair

By Rosa Lowinger ’78
Row House Publishing, $27.99

Art conservator Lowinger’s Cuban Jewish family endured double losses, during the Holocaust and, later, the Cuban Revolution. In the midst of a celebrated career restoring artworks around the world, she realizes, while on a job in Havana, how the repair of damaged beauty could serve as a metaphor for the journey to much-needed family healing.

Book cover for Fundraising for Introverts

By Brian Saber ’84
Amarna Books, $19.95

Too shy to make an ask? This volume shows hesitant advocates how to leverage their strengths and bring in big gifts for their causes. Saber is a lifelong fundraiser (who happens to be an introvert himself).

Book cover for Angels on the Clothesline

By Ani Tuzman ’69
Dancing Letters Press, $16.99

In this memoir, poet/novelist Tuzman revisits the confusion and wonder of her childhood, which was haunted by the pain of her parents, who were Holocaust survivors, and her schoolmates’ corrosive bigotry. During moments of private reverie on the family farm, she found healing in dreaming of a better way to live.

Book cover for Defender of the Faithful

By Arthur Green ’61, GSAS PhD’75, P’98
Brandeis University Press, $40

Green, founding dean of Hebrew College’s rabbinical program, explores the life and ideas of Levi Yitshak (1740-1809), a leader of early Hasidism. The rabbi became a folk hero because of two character traits, writes the author: “his love for Jews, including the most ordinary and unlettered among them, and his willingness to argue on their behalf, both in this world and before the heavenly Throne of Glory.”

Book cover for Experiencing Sacredness

By Lenny Jason ’71
Wisdom-Sacred Publishers, $11.99

Interested in Eastern religions and philosophy, a recent Brandeis graduate shouldered his backpack in 1971 and headed to India via Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Now a psychology professor at DePaul University, the author of this memoir remembers that thrilling, sometimes perilous life-changing journey, which taught him about happiness, fulfillment, and questing for knowledge of the sacred.

Book cover for Strategic Negotiation: Building Organizational Excellence

By Joshua A. Gordon ’96, P’13, and Gary Furlong
Routledge, $39.95

If everything is a negotiation (an adage that seems to ring truer than ever), this how-to guide, which seeks to build negotiation skills across an organization, could become a must-read throughout the ranks at businesses and institutions everywhere. Gordon is a senior instructor in the area of sports business at the University of Oregon.

Book cover for The Holiness of Doubt: A Journey Through the Questions of the Torah

By Rabbi Joshua Hoffman ’96
Rowman & Littlefield, $31.99

The questions posed by God and biblical heroes in the Torah can serve as guideposts for readers interested in spiritual reflection, this book counsels. “What does the Torah look like when you follow the path of verses with the questions as your guide?” Rabbi Hoffman writes. “What new understanding is possible on such a journey?”

Book cover for Ben Seibel Design

By Michael Kaplan ’63
Image Enterprises, $50

A colorful review of the creative output of Ben Seibel (1918-85), a product designer who was a key developer of mid-century modern style. Kaplan is an emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Tennessee.

Book cover for The Evil Inclination

By Daniel Victor ’72
Atmosphere Press, $18.99

Desire (sometimes dubbed the “evil inclination” in traditional Judaism) lies at the heart of this story about a Jewish boy and a Catholic girl in Brooklyn, who must decide whether to put their love or their religious beliefs first. This is a debut novel by Victor, now retired from the practice of law.

Book cover for Warmonger: How Clinton’s Malign Foreign Policy Launched the U.S. Trajectory From Bush II to Biden

By Jeremy Kuzmarov, GSAS PhD’06
Clarity Press, $30.95

According to this volume’s central thesis, the Clinton administration laid the groundwork for rising tensions among the U.S., China, and Russia, establishing a bellicose foreign policy that influenced subsequent presidencies. Kuzmarov is the author of “Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State.”

Brandeis University Press

Book cover for The Common Flaw: Needless Complexity in the Courts and 50 Ways To Reduce It

By Thomas G. Moukawsher

A persuasive argument for — and roadmap to — simplifying the American lawsuit process, thereby increasing public trust in the legal system and making court operations more humane. The author is a Superior Court judge and a former state legislator in Connecticut.