The Colgate Scene
Kevin Phillips '61
Political and economics commentator [Kevin] Phillips believes we are facing an ominous time: "As 2004 began, [a] Machiavellian moment was at hand. U.S. president George W. Bush . . . was a dynast whose family heritage included secrecy and calculated deception." Phillips perceives a dangerous, counter-democratic trend toward dynasties in American politics -- he cites the growing number of sons and wives of senators elected to the Senate as an example.
Perhaps less convincingly, he compares the "restoration" of the Bushes to the White House after an absence of eight years to the royal restorations of the Stuarts in England in 1660 and the Bourbons in France in 1814. To underscore the dangers of inherited wealth and power, Phillips delineates a complex case involving a network of moneyed influence going back generations, as well as the Bushes' long-time canny involvement in oil and foreign policy (read: CIA) and, he says, bald-faced appeasement of the nativist/fundamentalist wing that, according to Phillips, is now "dangerously" dominating the GOP.
Casting a critical eye at the entire Bush clan serves the useful function of consolidating a wealth of information, especially about forebears George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush. Phillips's own status as a former Republican (now turned independent) boosts the force of his argument substantially. Not all readers will share Phillips's alarmist response to the Bush "dynasty," but his book offers an important historical context in which to understand the rise of George W. [Bush].
This review originally appeared in Publishers Weekly. Reprinted with permission.
The Birth of Caribbean Civilisation: A Century of Ideas about Culture and Identity, Nation and Society
O. Nigel Bolland
(Ian Randle Publishers)
For more than a century, Caribbean intellectuals have created a substantial body of work expressing their ideas about culture, identity, and society in the region, ideas that have contributed to the development of a distinctive Caribbean civilization. Many of them consciously contributed to the formation of their particular nation or, through forging links between their own national culture and others in the region, to the formation of a Caribbean nation.
Many made wider connections with Latin America and Africa, or the African diaspora, and have contributed to leading ideas in the world about Pan-Africanism, or negritude, nationalism, and socialism. This collection of readings shows some of the variety, commonalities, contrasts, and connections in the ideas of these intellectuals, from J.J. Thomas and Jose Marti in the late 19th century to the present day.
The book is edited to provide essential biographical and contextual introductions to each selection, and notes to clarify points and references in the texts that may not be clear to the average educated reader to whom the collection is addressed. There is a general introduction that explains the purpose of the book and briefly discusses the general intellectual and cultural context of Caribbean ideas in the 20th century. A broad range of selections has been made, including writings and speeches by famous and by less well-known political and literary people, women and men, of very different opinions, throughout the period and from most parts of the Caribbean.
O. Nigel Bolland is Charles A. Dana Professor of sociology and Caribbean studies, emeritus.
Harry O. Lang Jr. '44
(Sage Creek Press)
In August 1944, soon after graduating from Marine Corps Officers Training School, Harry O. Lang Jr. visited his parents' Michigan farm on a 30-day leave. While he was home, he reluctantly agreed to a date with the next-door neighbor's daughter, Ginny McCullough. Expecting the worst, instead Lang soon found himself becoming infatuated with the smart and pretty McCullough. The end of his leave came much too quickly, but before leaving for the South Pacific, Lang and McCullough promised to write to each other.
Through additional training at Camp Pendleton, a seemingly endless ocean voyage on a troopship, the living hell of combat on Okinawa (in which he earned a Bronze Star), and his recovery from wounds suffered in battle, Lang kept up his correspondence with McCullough. His plainly written, direct, and heartfelt letters capture the drama, danger, and occasional moments of joy experienced by men under arms who are a long way from home. Lang's reward for his diligence and devotion came after World War II ended, when he married McCullough and the couple went on to raise a brood that now includes their five children and 12 grandchildren. -- GEF
Joe Castiglione '68
(Taylor Trade Publishing)
In Broadcast Rites and Sites: I Saw It on the Radio with the Boston Red Sox, Joe Castiglione combines the story of his baseball adventures with the Cleveland Indians, the Milwaukee Brewers, and for 20 years, the Boston Red Sox with a travelogue of major American cities. He freely gives his educated opinions on his favorite sightseeing, shopping, and restaurants from coast to coast. Yet, at the heart of the book is baseball as seen from Castiglione's unique perspective and longevity in the [broadcast] booth -- from witnessing seven no-hitters to having a catch with Bob Feller; from Roger Clemons's 20-strikeout game to the fateful, unforgettable Game Six of the 1986 World Series. In chapters devoted to favorite players, spring training, managers, major league cities, and the business of baseball broadcasting, Castiglione offers an intimate, entertaining, and insightful look at [more than] 30 years of baseball's people and places.
Colgate bestsellers at the Colgate Bookstore*
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