The Colgate Scene
January 2000
Table of contents
Reviews

  Fishing Trip and Other Stories
By Paul L. Field '46, Artistree Publishing, Woodstock, GA, 1999. 287 pp.

After many years away in the midwest, Tod Oliver, college professor, rejoins four old buddies for a fishing trip off the coast at Montauk. Facing a crucial decision in his own life, Tod looks forward to the camaraderie and distraction only a reunion can provide. But he soon finds the time and the tides of their own lives have worn away at the easy friendship the men once shared. At dawn, a strange sense of fear comes over Tod, and later, on the deck of the pitching OKEE DOKE II, things happen that make him rue his decision to participate. Tod begins to wonder what he's really fishing for. Before the trip ends, he finds his answer, as each man unexpectedly comes face to face with his own mortality.

     In the book's eight other stories, unforgettable characters emerge.

     After writing for films and television, and directing TV commercials and documentaries, former New Yorker Field now lives on the waterfront in Florida. A member of the Alumni Corporation Board, Field reports he is "living the good life with his good wife."


William P. Major: A Bergenfield Life
By William D. Major '53, David C. Major and John S. Major, The Bergenfield Museum Society, Bergenfield, NJ, 1999. 111 pp.

William P. Major '26 was only able to attend Colgate for two years before transferring to Columbia for financial reasons, but he loved the university and was a dedicated supporter. According to his sons and biographers, one of Major's "happiest days in his great old age was when he returned for the 70th reunion of the Class of 1926."

     This book about "Mr. Bergenfield" recounts Major's full and rich life -- his early years on West Central Avenue, marriage to Kathryn Demarest, work on Wall Street and, from 1941 to 1972, his job as Bergenfield postmaster. His myriad civic contributions are also highlighted, as well as his staunch support of Old South Church.

     Spanning most of the 20th century, Major's life is set against the growth of Bergenfield, from semi-rural town to a densely developed, multicultural suburb.


Root & Branch: African Americans in New York & East Jersey, 1613-1863
By Graham Russell Hodges, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1999. 413 pp.

In this remarkable book, Professor of History Graham Hodges presents a comprehensive history of African Americans in New York City and its rural environs from the arrival of the first African -- a sailor marooned on Manhattan Island in 1613 -- to the bloody Draft Riots of 1863. Throughout, he explores the intertwined themes of freedom and servitude, city and countryside, and work, religion and resistance that shaped black life in the region through two and a half centuries.

     Hodges chronicles the lives of the first free black settlers in the Dutch-ruled city, the gradual slide into enslavement after the British takeover, the fierce era of slavery, and the painfully slow process of emancipation. He pays particular attention to the black religious experience in all its complexity and to the vibrant slave culture that was shaped on the streets and in the taverns. Together, Hodges shows, these two potent forces helped fuel the long and arduous pilgrimage to liberty.

     Writes Wilson Moses of Penn State, "This well-crafted and thoughtful work is a splendid addition to the literature on African societies in North America from first arrivals through the triumph of the abolition movement."

     Hodges' books include New York City Cartmen, 1667-1850 and Slavery and Freedom in the Rural North: African Americans in Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1660-1860.

University of North Carolina Press


Pacifism in the Twentieth Century
By Peter Brock and Nigel Young, Distributed by Syracuse University Press, 1999. 452 pp.

by Theodore Herman

At the end of this century of horrors, we are grateful for this reminder that opposition to war is still with us. Professor emeritus of history Peter Brock, University of Toronto, and Nigel Young, director of peace studies at Colgate, have produced a history of a movement mostly in England and the United States that has gone through important changes as war has spread through all parts of modern society.

     They trace the course of pacifism through the small peace churches, especially the Quakers, organizations like the Fellowship of Reconciliation and, in the UK, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, with much discussion of issues facing conscientious objectors. Pacifists have also spread out into nonviolence, environmental concerns, war tax resistance, reconciliation work, etc., but have had very little political impact for basic social change where the inequalities breed war and violence.

     Full as their history is of movements, people, and issues; the authors have somehow overlooked what may be the most promising long-term result of the pacifist movement -- the spread of peace education around the world. In this, Nigel Young has been a pioneer.


Theodore Herman is director emeritus of peace studies at Colgate and consultant to the Balkan Peace Studies Center, University of Saints Cyril & Methodius, Skopjie, Macedonia.


Century Dead Center
By George Economou, Left Hand Books, Barrytown, NY, 1997. 124 pp.

Century Dead Center contains George Economou's prose, poetry, translations and visual art -- a selection of work spanning 18 years. In this collection the phantasmagorical information age eclipses the sleep of reason.

     "If the center has not held it's because it has become selfcentriful-gal and keeps the appearance of not running away altogether by clinging by its nails to its circumargin long enough to give the prophet a picture of imminent disaster. The archaeologist sees no such thing and keeps circling and diving. Whatever she can clutch radiates, a pressed flower that blooms in her head. Justitia still rides her circuit, knees gripped at a 45 degree tilt. And the mythomaniac concurs with them all by telling tales from the book of virus."

     Among the five paintings by Economou reproduced in this book is 1892. It and its companion poem were made in response to Pierre Bonnard's painting Crépuscule or La partie de croquet. The poem reflects the painting at the level of the simplest telling. Of the group at play depicted in Bonnard's painting, Economou writes:

     "Their pleasure at dusk/exists in the image he has pictured/of it for them -- held back in the picture,/ the right of girls that almost slips his gaze/but stays, secure I the last light of dusk./Serene mystery becomes the invention/of the carefree account of happiness/they figure un-invisibly for Pierre."

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