Summer 2008: Alumni Ink

Don’t Ask What I Shot

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Legend has it that U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower played some eight hundred rounds of golf during his two-term presidency, averaging about a hundred games a year. His obsession with the sport that has been called “the great equalizer” prompted Ike’s critics to question his priorities, wondering whether he was more concerned with bogies than bombs; yet he enjoyed high approval ratings, even as he grappled with the gravest matters of the time, including the Cold War and the civil rights movement. Catherine M. Lewis 90C, associate professor of history at Kennesaw State University, became interested in this phenomenon when she noticed that much of the media coverage of Eisenhower was accompanied by photos of him on the golf course, whether the news be about the Korean War or the interstate highway system. “After finding literally dozens of these images juxtaposed with the headlines of the moment,” she writes, “I began to wonder how the media’s portrayal of the president in this way must have affected the American people and foreign governments. Did they wonder if Ike was taking the issues of his presidency seriously? Or, conversely, did his golf game give them confidence in his leadership?” Lewis’s curiosity led her to write Don’t Ask What I Shot: How Eisenhower’s Love of Golf Helped Shape 1950s America (McGraw Hill, 2007), a lively study of the impact of Ike’s pastime on his presidency and on the country. Named a top book of the year by Golf Digest, the book delves deep into the history of golf, and is liberally peppered with references to the game’s beloved Bobby Jones 29L—one of Emory’s favorite sons and the namesake of the Robert T. Jones Jr. Scholarship. For more on Bobby Jones and golf, see this issue’s Coda.

Design in depth: Victorian-era design evokes images of wealth and leisure, but its origins are linked to trade, labor, and manufacturing practices. Lara Kriegel 90C explores this relationship in Grand Designs: Labor, Empire, and the Museum in Victorian Culture (Duke University Press, 2008). By merging the stories of economy and aesthetics, this illustrated work offers a fresh perspective on the history of industrial design reform in nineteenth-century Britain. Kriegel is associate professor of history at Florida International University.

Money maker: Ever wonder why the rich get richer? Find out in How Come That Idiot’s Rich and I’m Not? (Crown Publishing, 2008), a financial self-help book by Robert Shemin 89L 89MBA. Once considered least likely to succeed, Shemin is now a multimillionaire, best-selling author, and popular motivational speaker. In this book, Shemin shares his strategy for upending old attitudes toward money and building new wealth.

The feminine touch: Women business owners looking to fill men’s shoes may want to check out The Chic Entrepreneur: Put Your Business in Higher Heels (Robert Reed Publishers, 2007), a how-to for starting and running a successful company. With women in business on the rise, Leanna Adams 02C and Elizabeth Gordon of the firm Flourishing Business decided to offer a new handbook for leadership. Best-selling author Gail Evans called The Chic Entrepreneur “engaging, intelligent, and practical, not to mention fun to read.”

Women fighting back: The Women’s Movement against Sexual Harassment (Cambridge University Press, 2007) by Carrie Baker 94G 94L 01PhD examines how a diverse grassroots social movement placed sexual harassment on the public agenda in the 1970s and 1980s. Through personal interviews and extensive research, Baker tells the story of ordinary women from a range of backgrounds who joined together to transform the American workplace. Baker is a visiting assistant professor in the Women and Gender Studies program at Smith College and director of Women’s Studies at Berry College.

Feast for the mind: Art, history, forgery, and a car bombing in Florence make for rich suspense in A Feast of Small Surprises (Authorhouse, 2005), a mystery by Corinne Van Houten 92PhD. Riding the twists and turns of the plot are introspective characters, particularly two women whose “thoughts are mirrored in ways that invite the reader to consider her or her own image and to act upon it,” according to a review by Robert Detweiler, professor emeritus of comparative literature in Emory’s Institute of Liberal Arts. “One is tempted to call Feast a tour de force, like Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, but that would create a false impression,” Detweiler writes. “The beauty and mystery that Van Houten alludes to in her acknowledgement of Irene Belknap, the artist who composed the lovely painting on the cover of Feast, are realized, but there is also an intelligence and craft that makes Van Houten’s novella attractive and worth reading.”

College bound: The departure for college is a pivotal—and often daunting—moment for high school students and their parents, but Michael Bergman 03L has created a resource that can help ease the transition. Getting to the Quad (Lion Eyes Creations, 2007) is a step-by-step map of the journey to college, from the selection and application process to how to study and eat right once you get there. Aimed primarily at students, the book offers chapters on understanding financial aid and credit cards, how to land a summer internship, dealing with roommates, and even how to select and buy a computer. And when graduation rolls around, don’t worry—Bergman also offers the Graduate Survival Guide for recent college grads. To learn more, visit www.gettingtothequad.com.

Parenting puzzle: All American parents face steep challenges when it comes to teaching values, but for Jewish parents it can be even more difficult to blend tradition with the realities of modern life. Sharon Duke Estroff 88C offers her answers in Can I Have a Cell Phone for Hanukkah? The Essential Scoop on Raising Modern Jewish Kids (Broadway Books, 2007). Estroff, a parenting columnist, educator, and mother of four, addresses issues from choosing a school to juggling extracurriculars with Jewish holidays to “Santa envy.” Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Jewish Studies, called the book a “witty, wise, and insightful guide for parents.”

Organizing religion: In The Fellowship Movement: A Growth Strategy and Its Legacy (Skinner House Books, 2007), Holley Ulbrich 03T documents the story of the lay-led fellowship movement, a twenty-year experiment in do-it-yourself religion that gave rise to one-third of today’s Unitarian Universalist congregations.

Immigration examined: Immigration attorney Adam Edward Rothwell 96C explores a system fraught with complexity and controversy in his book, Legal U.S. Immigration: Truth, Fraud, and the American Way (Booklocker, 2008). Rothwell makes the case that current practices are rife with fraud and the system is in grave need of reform, regardless of political views.

The power of song: Thomas J. Bell 99PhD shines new light on the abbess Heloise and the scholar-poet Abelard in Peter Abelard after Marriage: The Spiritual Direction of Heloise and Her Nuns through Liturgical Song (Cistercian Publications, 2007). This is the first extensive study of Abelard focusing on the importance of liturgical song in forming monastic virtues.

African study: Africa after Modernism: Transitions in Literature, Media, and Philosophy (Routledge Press, 2008) presents a scholarly study of African culture after European colonialism, examining African modernity with a keen awareness of the range of forces at work. Author Michael Janis 91C teaches West African fiction, literary theory, and world literature at Morehouse College.

Natural home: In keeping with the trend toward home design that is meaningful as well as fashionable, Sherri Silverman 71C offers Vastu: Transcendental Home Design in Harmony with Nature (Gibbs Smith, 2007). India’s ancient science of architecture and design for buildings and gardens is the origin of traditions like Feng Shui, and Silverman’s guide describes how to apply Vastu principles to create tranquil, sacred space.

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