The Colgate Scene
July 2006

Books and media
 

Books and media information is provided by publishers, authors, and artists.

Bill Barich '65
(Knopf)

Twenty-five years after Laughing in the Hills, his racetrack classic, Bill Barich gives us another -- about how he fell in love and found a new life in Dublin, where he was soon caught up in the Irish obsession with horses and luck. At venues grand and lowly, Ireland's steeplechase season hits its stride in October and reaches a crescendo at England's Cheltenham Festival in March, when the Irish take on the Brits for bragging rights before a crowd of 50,000. To prepare himself for the fierce rivalry, Barich traveled his adopted country and met the leading trainers and jockeys, the beleaguered bookies who work rain or shine, and a host of passionate, like-minded fans. Hailed as witty, philosophical, and vividly written, A Fine Place to Daydream is a paean to the real Ireland, an account of a surprise romance, and the record of a hugely exciting season at the track.

Philip Beard '85
(Viking)

Forty-something Michael Benedict, the hero of Lost in the Garden, seems to have it all: a beautiful wife, two lovely daughters, a law practice that provides a comfortable life for his family, and a natural golf swing. Can it all unravel at the drop of a hat? Michael proves that it can. His selfish response to his wife's announcement that she is pregnant with a "surprise" baby disturbs the fault lines of both his marriage and his psyche. He tries to find solace in his obsessions: his golf game, his newfound luck in the stock market, and, because his wife has cut him off, some kind of sex that isn't exactly extramarital.

Beard is also the author of Dear Zoe, his critically acclaimed debut novel, which was recently released in paperback.

Steve Cantor '90, director/producer, and Matthew Galkin
(A Stick Figure Production)

In the late '80s and early '90s, The Pixies cut an unparalleled path through modern music. But before their impact was fully felt, the group had disbanded amidst mystery and antipathy. LoudQUIETLoud, Cantor and Galkin's documentary about last year's most unlikely reunion tour, follows the ups and downs of the reformation and hugely successful reunion tour of this seminal quartet. The film appears at international film festivals this summer.

David J. Carlson '92
(University of Illinois Press)

Sovereign Selves is an exploration of the surprising impact of American legal systems from the Revolutionary War until the 1920s on Indian autobiographers' approaches to writing about their own lives. Historically, Native American autobiographers have written in the shadow of "Indian law," a nuanced form of natural law discourse with its own set of related institutions and forms (the reservation, the treaty, etc.). Carlson develops a rigorously historicized argument about the relationship between the specific colonial model of "Indian" identity that was developed and disseminated through U.S. legal institutions, and the acts of autobiographical self-definition by the "colonized" Indians expected to fit that model. This work studies a collection of Native American autobiographical writings produced between the Revolution and World War I, analyzing the method by which Indian writers engaged with colonialist legal discourse.

Michael R. Gordon '72 and Bernard E. Trainor
(Pantheon)

A comprehensive account of the most reported yet least understood war in American history, Cobra II chronicles America's invasion and occupation of Iraq, informed by access to still-secret documents, interviews with top field commanders, and a review of the military's own internal after-action reports. From the Pentagon to the White House to American command centers in the field, the book reveals the inside story of how the war was actually planned and fought. Drawing on classified United States government intelligence, it also provides a unique account of how Saddam Hussein and his high command developed and prosecuted their war strategy. Gordon, the chief military correspondent for the New York Times, spent the war with the Allied land command. Trainor is a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general and former director of the National Security Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Ellen M. Wolff '80
(Bucknell University Press)

An Anarchy in the Mind and in the Heart considers some of Anglo-Ireland's most compelling 20th-century attempts at self-representation, demonstrating that novels by such authors as Molly Keane, Elizabeth Bowen, and Samuel Beckett constitute richly textured narratives that sustain continuous debates with their own visions and revisions of history and culture. As they confront such explosive topics as land, property, interclass relations, hierarchy, and authority, these novels challenge prevailing tribal myths. Wolff explores important contexts for reading Anglo-Irish fiction, analyzes the complexities of Anglo-Irish geopolitical and cultural identity, and argues that 20th-century Anglo-Irish fiction provides both the grounds and the terms for a revised theory of ideology and literature.

Anthony Aveni
(University Press of Colorado)

The political battle over teaching intelligent design or evolution in U.S. schools has brought to the public eye a struggle that archaeoastronomer Aveni argues is as old as culture itself. All societies seek to understand the natural world, but their search is shaped by cultural views and experiences. In Uncommon Sense, Aveni explores how faith, politics, and circumstances shaped the ways that ancient and contemporary societies have searched for truth about the natural world's mysteries, from dinosaur bones to the Star of Bethlehem. He demonstrates that a society's approach to making sense of the natural world can serve as a working definition of its culture, so strongly does it resonate with fundamental values and assumptions.

Anthony Aveni is the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of astronomy and anthropology.
Also of note:

So Much So Fast, a 2005 Sundance Film Festival nominee for best documentary, is in distribution this year. The film, by Westcity Films, chronicles the life of Stephen Heywood '92, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) eight years ago.

Colgate bestsellers at the Colgate Bookstore
A Fine Place to Daydream — Bill Barich '65
Dear Zoe — Phillip Beard '85
Cobra II — Michael R. Gordon '72
Losing Moses on the Freeway — Chris Hedges '79
Hooked — Bruce Knecht '80
I Got Somebody in Staunton — William Henry Lewis (English)
American Theocracy — Kevin Phillips '61
Wealth and Democracy — Kevin Phillips '61
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