Ofri adroitly balances presentation of her own experiences and those of others, with research into the emotional aspects of medical practice. The result is a fascinating journey into the heart and mind of a physician struggling to do the best for her patients while navigating an imperfect health care system that often seems to value “efficiency,” measured in dollars and minutes, more than the emotional well-being of either physician or patient.
Students are not just learning medicine during the third year of medical school; they are learning how to be doctors. Despite the carefully crafted official medical curriculum, it is the “hidden curriculum” that drives the take-home messages. The students astutely note how their superiors comport themselves, how they interact with patients, how they treat other staff members. The students are keen observers of how their supervisors dress—and how they may dress down those around them. They figure out which groups of patients can be the object of sarcasm or humor, and which cannot.
Whenever a patient shares a story with a doctor, both of you become entwined in a relationship. Relationships may ebb and flow, but a good one is there for the long haul. Your medical needs will likely vary over time, and a good doctor-patient bond can adapt to this.
In "The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill: Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures," (New York Times) Elisabeth Rosenthal quotes Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on the overuse of colonoscopies:
While several cheaper and less invasive tests to screen for colon cancer are recommended as equally effective by the federal government’s expert panel on preventive care — and are commonly used in other countries — colonoscopy has become the go-to procedure in the United States. “We’ve defaulted to by far the most expensive option, without much if any data to support it,” said Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.
sometimes very personal revelations with hard-nosed journalism, some
wonderfully serendipitous discoveries, and what the English departments call
“creative non-fiction,” Tyer has written a compelling and enlightening
account of this rather amazing story, which is a win for everyone. Everyone,
of course, except the people of Opportunity.
One of the NYTimes most emailed stories this week is from
Danielle Ofri, MD:
I never told anyone about my lapse — not my intern, not my
attending physician, certainly not the patient’s family. I tried to rationalize
it: the radiologist had caught the bleeding, and no additional harm had come to
But what if I had discharged the patient? What if I had
started her on a medication like aspirin that could have worsened the bleeding?
My error could easily have led to a fatal outcome. The patient was simply
In hospital lingo, this was a “near miss.” But a near miss
is still an error, just one in which backup systems, oversight or sheer luck
prevent harm. [Read
the rest here]
“As I completed research and began writing the manuscript, I realized that there were several historical images of the treacherous Peggy Shippen Arnold but only one of Lucy Knox. Worst of all it was only a silhouette! Initially I thought the cover might depict the faces of those two women combined with several historical images of the American Revolution. Ruefully I mentioned my disappointment about the lack of portrait for Lucy Flucker Knox to my editor, Gayatri Patnaik, at Beacon Press, who assured me that we’d find a different solution. Bob Kosturko, the designer who created a stunning cover for The Muse of the Revolution, she explained, would be creating the cover for Defiant Brides.
“Gayatri was right. Some months later, Beacon Press sent me a draft of Bob’s cover design. I was thrilled. He had cleverly used the bottom half of a lavish portrait of Peggy Shippen Arnold but had eliminated her face. Simultaneously that solved the problem of Lucy’s missing face and hinted at the unpredictable course of the marriages that both teenagers embarked upon in the first flush of passion during the turbulence of the birth of the United States.” [Read the rest here]
In his new book, “Light Without Fire,” the religion writer
Scott Korb followed Zaytuna’s inaugural class of fifteen students through their
first year, and his reporting reveals one of the most intriguing recent
American experiments in providing a religious education. [Read the rest here]
Here Khalidi is not faulting the
Israelis; they are a sovereign state acting in what they determine is their
best interest, even if one views it as unjust, immoral, and at the expense of
legitimate Palestinian rights. More importantly, Israel is only able to act
with such impunity because they understand the power of the “no light” dogma.
The U.S. accepts the perpetual “existential crisis” of Israel that makes the
occupier the victim and gives them a free pass to act as they wish.
The problem is in how success is measured, which is not in the soft currency of ethics or trust, but in how much money the strategy saves for the institution. If it pays for everyone to keep quiet, that's what the bureaucrats will advise. [Read the rest here]
In "Mr. Hornaday's War: How a Peculiar Victorian
Zookeeper Waged a Lonely Crusade for Wildlife that Changed the World,"
author Stefan Bechtel introduces us to a character seemingly filled with
contradiction. Hornaday is fearless in his life's pursuits but overcome with
fear at the rapid destruction of animal populations. He is a trophy hunter who
travels to the far reaches of unsettled lands in Africa and India to take down
a Bengal tiger or a wildebeest but carries guilt for the taking of 22 buffalo
during his hunt out West. He is an avid hunter who is vehemently opposed to the
new rapid-fire shotgun of his time because of its ability to strike so deftly.
He is perpetually at odds with nearly every leader of his day but develops a
unique kinship with Teddy Roosevelt that lasts a lifetime. [Read
the rest here]
The Gay &
Lesbian Review full-page review in the May/June issue. Calling the
book “a remarkable work of reconstruction” and noting its “voluminous list of
resources,” the review concludes, “As usual, Faderman’s seemingly effortless
prose is the result of years of patient research. As far as possible, she has
made sure that the past will be accurately remembered.”
Adventure Magazineonline review: “While Byl does not romanticize
nature or her work, she skillfully uses poetic language, daring the reader to
feel the grit, grim, and sore muscles of working ten hour shifts digging,
chopping, clearing, and creating trails…Dirt Work is highly recommended for
readers who love the outdoors, and especially those who have hiked in a
national park or forest, and benefited from the hard work of trail crews.”
“For a housing market, it’s always healthy to have a range of housing so that people can move up the ladder,” she says. “I grew up in New Hampshire and I remember when the small towns did have the bank president living the same place where the farm laborers did. We have lost a lot of that through suburbanization and as we see the deepening inequities between incomes, I think that’s reinforced by some of this zoning.” [Listen]
In four of the six New England states (excluding Maine and New Hampshire), the recent national "housing bust" hasn't reduced home prices enough to make the median-priced home affordable for the average household. According to the National Association of Realtors, only 25 percent of Americans want a home on an oversized lot, yet that type of housing accounts for 43 percent of the supply in New England. [Read the rest]
The Point, on Cape Cod’s NPR station, did a segment on narrative non-fiction with their host, a local librarian, and the Cape Cod Times book editor. They mention both Snob Zones and Dirt Work starting around the 24 minute mark. [Listen] Which leads us to...
In her book, Ms. Byl recalls long days of clearing brush, digging ditches, building bridges, cleaning up after forest fires, and blasting snow. She learned how to use such unfamiliar tools as crosscut saws, pulaskis, and chainsaws. She grew accustomed to dealing with the harsh living conditions and injuries that are part of the job.
And, frankly, she learned how to cope in the backcountry, miles from the nearest restroom. Yes, Ms. Byl is not afraid to talk about "dropping her pants in the woods."
Listen to Christine Byl on Alaska
Public Radio’s Talk of Alaska talking about her tools, her life in the woods, wildlife, and more. Especially great to hear her reading her meditation on the lynx.
"An account that is as unflinching as it is
important. Both an incisive reconstruction of a heartbreaking murder and
an unsparing diagnosis of a national malady . . . with HUNTING SEASON
Ojito has done truth an invaluable service. Extraordinary." —Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Brief
Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith
Family by Susan Katz Miller (October)
A moving, personal story that
opens new dimensions of life in general and religious life in particular that
rise out of an interfaith family. Susan Katz Miller writes with the
passion of experience and with the integrity of being authentic. Its insights
moved me deeply.”—John Shelby Spong, author of The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a
Richly informative, calmly passionate and much needed, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” completes the portrait of a working-class activist who looked poverty and discrimination squarely in the face and never stopped rebelling against them, in the segregated South and in the segregated North.
Author Jeanne Theoharis appeared this morning on Democracy Now! with Claudette Colvin, a civil-rights pioneer who was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat in Montgomery in March 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks. Jeanne discusses Claudette’s story in the context of her research into the local civil-rights movement at the time, and suggests Colvin’s case help set the stage for Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott. It’s a really special 35-minute interview.
MakeitMissoula.com review: "Several times while reading the book, I had to just stop, sit back and admire a chunk of imagery crafted by a man who can just flat-out write. "
Mountain West News review: "Montana needs a book like this. We need to remember the past. We need to be mindful of the present. We need to say thanks to all those who strife to do the right thing. We need more journalists like Brad Tyer to keep us humble."
Michael Bronski, the author of A Queer History of the United States and a Harvard professor, notes that sentimental arguments have become increasingly prevalent, and successful, in social movements over the last century. "Uncle Tom's Cabin was far more effective than quoting biblical texts or making a constitutional argument and abolitionist writings are filled with the tragedy of children being torn away from their mothers," Bronski said in an interview. "Suffragists mostly only used legal arguments but later, second wave feminism did better portraying a talented 12-year-old girl who wanted to play field hockey (or become a doctor) than in arguing for equal wages for female factory workers."
While the Court mulls, however, we'd like to clear up some misunderstanding. Take the "recent" institution of gay marriage, as Justice Samuel Alito seems bent on calling it. Alito is trying to dissuade any major ruling on the grounds that evidence on the effects of same-sex marriage is too little, too soon: "You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones and the internet?" he asked. "We do not have the ability to see the future."
Fortunately, we don't have to. We mere humans may not wear the robes of soothsayers (or Justices, for that matter), Mr. Alito, but we do have access to local libraries and the benefit of hindsight. While, yes, the formal institution of gay marriage is recent, author Rodger Streitmatter reminds us that gay folks have been resourcefully affirming their own versions of marriage for centuries. In fact, they've found ways of making it work with or without our questionably-gay-Uncle Sam's nodding approval.
My Mother's Wars is the memoir that Mary, a Latvian Jew and New York immigrant, “was never able to write.” Faderman shares her spirited mother’s story from life-altering experiences (the Nazi's brutal annihilation of Preil, the shetl where Mary was born) to mundane city moments. Each are rendered with poetry and frankness. Beginning in 1914, Faderman chronicles Mary’s futile love affair with commitment-phobic Moishe, the wrenching isolation of immigration and the insidious backdrop of antisemitism. Mary may not have been able to tell her story, but it’s testament to her incredible life that her daughter did it for her.
James Baldwin writes down to nobody, and he is trying very hard to write up to himself. As an essayist he is thought-provoking, tantalizing, irritating, abusing and amusing. And he uses words as the sea uses waves, to flow and beat, advance and retreat, rise and take a bow in disappearing.
She had heard killer whales
before, but this was "something other." Communicating across great
distances, they would caterwaul in long, siren-like cries, turned up at the end
as if they were questions. "This was a voice at once strident and
mournful," she writes in her memoir, "a strange hybrid instrument,
part trumpet, part oboe, part elephant, part foghorn. And loud." But when
the lone scouts were joined by more members of their group, the calls changed
to "upswept squawks punctuated by silence; bangs and cracks, like axe
blows against one-by planks, some we could attribute to fluke slaps, and some
not. Now and then a syncopated blast of echolocation, like automatic
gunfire." [Read More]
“FAST FUTURE is a fantastic read for anyone who is
curious about the mindset and perspective that the Millennial generation is
bringing to their businesses, their politics, and their personal lives.
Millennials will continue to shape that world as their ranks elevate to higher
levels in corporations and governments and, if FAST FUTURE is any indication,
they’ll not be shy about letting you know that they’ve arrived.” [Read
This remarkable book, published in 2012, takes a long,
hard look at the dehumanizing effects of war, through the experiences of a
number of vets from various wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) who share their
suffering -- and bare their souls -- to the authors.
"Soul Repair" is an assault on the mythology and public relations of
war, on the default setting of nationhood, that: "We sleep comfortably in
our beds at night because violent men do violence on our behalf." No
matter how many lies are at the foundation of a given war, no matter how
disastrously unnecessary and destructive it turns out to be in retrospect --
oops -- the myth of war is ever-unsullied: This time the danger is really
there. This time it's crucial that we carpet bomb civilians, then send in our
boys and girls to clean out the enemy insurgents. This time it's really for
democracy and the American Dream and a good night's sleep.
Library Journal review: “This is no Walden: each chapter
begins with a meditation on a tool, including an axe, rock bar, chainsaw, and
skid steer... Byl’s writing is superb and doesn’t romanticize her dirty work.”
“Here is a book that is at once sad and joyful,
frightening and thought-provoking. In her lucid and passionate
explanations of the important role that emotions play in the practice of
medicine and in healing and health, Danielle Ofri tells stories of great
importance to both doctors and patients.” Perri Klass, author of Treatment Kind and Fair: Letters to a Young
This Valentine's Day, people are expressing their love for Rosa Parks and this long-overdue biography of her surprisingly radical life.
“Historian Theoharis offers a complex portrait of a forceful, determined woman who had long been active before the boycott she inspired and who had an even longer career in civil rights afterward.” Booklist
"Even though her refusal to give up her bus seat sparked a revolution, Rosa Parks was no accidental heroine. She was born to it, and Theoharis ably shows us how and why." Kirkus Reviews(Starred Review)
"Theoharis succeeds here in doing what the best history books always do: challenging what we thought we knew, replacing fables with flesh and blood." Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe
The Detroit Free Press ran a substantial profile of Parks on her 100th birthday. Check out the piece for some amazing images of Parks and insights about her life, particularly the time she spent in Detroit.
"The myth of the simple seamstress took on a life of its own," Theoharis said. It became part of a kind of romanticizing of the civil rights movement, that has stifled it, she said. "If she is going to be used to tell the story of American history, we need to tell the whole story."
People need to know, Theoharis said, "how undaunted she was, and how fearless she was, and how she kept on keeping on." [Read More]
But it is Jeanne Theoharis who has made the greatest contribution to our annual, ritual observance of Black History Month. She has revealed a story clouded by myth, conflict and fictional retellings. In the process, she has given us a valuable framework for understanding the present and the future.
Burstein and Fast Future are featured in an article for the March issue of Glamour Magazine about young “deservers” in the workplace.
Interview with The Fiscal Times: "Why Millennials Are Generational Game Changers."
Their values are shifting. It's less about how we maximize profit and more about how we maximize happiness. Fewer millenials are homeowners, married and have children compared to our elders. People have an appreciation not for the institution of marriage, but for being with people they love. They're finding a sense of belonging and adulthood not in home ownership but in community.
Burstein spoke on HuffPost Live about the new study that says millenials are the most stressed out generation.
"An inspiring look at what the millennial generation is doing in America." Kirkus Reviews
In the face of such hostility, one can ask, why does anyone keep doing this work? In simplest terms, the social movement opposing abortion has helped create a counter-movement of physicians (today, mainly women) who view their work as a “mission” and not just a medical subspecialty. Interviews I have conducted over many years with this community reveal how deeply meaningful many clinicians (and their office staff) find this work, the obvious drawbacks notwithstanding. Many have spoken of the satisfaction of being able to help a woman solve a crisis at a particularly vulnerable time in her life. As one physician said to me, “You ask how I can do this work? For me, the question is, how could I not?” [Read more]
Snob Zones: Fear, Prejudice, and Real Estate by Lisa Prevost: Kirkus Reviews on Mar 1: “Moves the argument well past simple “not in my backyard” sentiments… Makes the issue interesting on a number of levels, taking the argument beyond property values into the essential notion of what a community is and what might benefit it.”
My Mother’s Wars by Lillian Faderman: Booklist review Mar 1 issue: “As Faderman vividly chronicles her mother’s intense personalityand complex experiences, she also freshly illuminates the Jewish immigrant experience.”
Jeanne Theoharis (The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks) on PBS NewsHour
"Grandpa wants you honey." This is my mom now, coming up the stairs and repeating his wish. I take a deep breath, grab a coffee pot and descend slowly. When I hit the bottom stair, Grandpa motions me near and uses all of his energy to force, in a barely audible voice, these words: "This is my granddaughter, the one who wrote a book."
The book. My book. My soon-to-be published memoir. I become light headed as I feel the eyes of the praying, faithful, God-centered men on me. And while I should beam from Grandpa's pride, I don't. Instead, I pretend I don't hear him. I move into the circle of men, pour coffee and speak loudly about nothing before they can ask me questions. I do this because my book is about the thing I have learned does not go with religion: me. And to talk about my book would reveal what I believe they will reject: gay. In his weakened state Grandpa can't compete with my flurry of distraction, so he closes his eyes and fades away.
The Pentagon's announcement this week that it will lift the ban on women in ground combat positions is welcome news to many of those who value equal rights. But it is also an urgent reminder that sexual assault remains a blight on our armed forces that only constant, sincere efforts will erase.
As a writer who has been interviewing female veterans for many years, I have long argued that lifting the ground combat ban would help military women win the respect they deserve. As long as women were officially prohibited from engaging in that essential act of a soldier - fighting - they were seen as second-class. And that has contributed to the violence, predation, and harassment so many military women endure.
The ground combat barrier is gone now, but the attitudes that sprung from it will not disappear so easily. Plenty of military men will decry this decision and resent the women who wish to fight by their sides. Some will be angered, insisting that their female comrades endanger them - an assertion often made but never demonstrated. And some will express their anger with violence. [Read the rest here]
Journalist Sarah Garland grew up in Louisville. Day after day, she left her mostly Caucasian suburban neighborhood on a school bus taking her to a mostly African-American neighborhood, where she became a student in a racial minority. Her experience long ago played a role in her decision to write “Divided We Fail,” which covers the case that found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. So did the experience of Garland’s grandmother, an Oklahoma teacher who volunteered to join the initial group of Caucasian educators transferred to an all African-American school, where she remained until retirement. Garland relates how her own mother became a social worker splitting time between a mostly African-American school and a mostly Caucasian school in Louisville. Garland’s mother “witnessed firsthand the upheaval and violence that busing wrought in its early years.”
Tribune review: "Hoffert's bittersweet
and compelling memoir recalls her struggles at ending her silence and
creating a fuller life for herself.”
Paul Pioneer Press review:“
‘Over the last ten years I have been trying to resolve a seemingly simple
dilemma: how to tell the state of North Dakota that I am gay.’That's
the heart of this involving memoir by a woman who grew up on a farm near
Kirkus Reviews: “The author's mostly quiet narrative
includes a wealth of haunting images and ideas that will linger long after the
“Melanie Hoffert Writes Her Way Back to North Dakota”
“In Snob Zones, Lisa Prevost elegantly reveals the
senselessness of NIMBYism, and the myriad ways in which affluent communities,
in the name of self interest, harm themselves and American society. A must-read
for people who give a damn and want to gain insights on how we can do better,
for ourselves and our children.” -- Sheryll Cashin, author of The Failures
“With the warm generosity of an
attentive host, and the critical yet respectful eye of a keen journalist, Scott
Korb has given us an entertaining and illuminating look into the nation’s first
Muslim college.” —Wajahat Ali, author of The Domestic Crusaders and
lead author of the investigative report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the
Islamophobia Network in America”
“A moving portrait of a little
known but hugely significant coordinate in America’s spiritual geography. For
this journey into the heart of 21st-century Islam, Scott Korb is the perfect
companion—not just a tour guide with ready answers to any question, but a
fellow pilgrim leading the way to deeper understanding. Light Without Fire
is at once a fascinating account of Muslims living their faith in the US, and a
universal story of the call to make tradition new.” —Peter Manseau, author of Songs for the Butcher’s
An interview with authors DeWolf and Morgan on NPR’s Tell Me Moreaired Christmas Day.
The authors begin the West Coast leg of their tour this
weekend. The entire month of January, they’ll be making appearances in
Washington, Oregon, California, and Colorado. Check out their website for more info.
Booklist review, Jan
01: “Saulitis’ stunning and sorrowful ‘book of contemplation’ elucidates the
discipline, tedium, danger, and bliss of whale studies… Candid, transfixing,
and cautionary, Saulitis celebrates and mourns for a wondrous and imperiled
Intensive Care: A Doctor’s Journey by Danielle
Ofri (March 05)
Kirkus Reviews in print (Jan. 15) and online
(Jan. 01): “in sharp, take-no-prisoners prose, Khalidi maintains that the U.S.
and Israel… have conspired to deny Palestinians any semblance of
self-determination. A stinging indictment of one-sided policymaking
destined, if undisturbed, to result in even greater violence.”
“Drawing on his own experience as
a Palestinian negotiator and recently released documents, Rashid Khalidi mounts
a frontal attack on the myths and misconceptions that have come to surround
America’s role in the so-called “peace process” which is all process and no
peace. The title is not too strong: the book demonstrates conclusively
that far from serving as an honest broker, the US continues to act as Israel’s lawyer
– with dire consequences for its own interests, for the Palestinians, and for
the entire region. Professor Khalidi deserves much credit for his superb
exposition of the fatal gap between the rhetoric and reality of American
diplomacy on this critically important issue.” —Avi Shlaim, Emeritus Professor of International
Relations at Oxford and author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.
"Every denizen of wild places
from Laotse to St. Francis to Rachel Carson to black bears to field mice has
depended upon trails. But rarely have we considered the people, tools, or toil
that lay our favorite trails down. Dirt Work is a spectacular correction of
this omission. Imbued with a tough-minded, ribald reverence for honest labor
that brings to mind a female Gary Snyder or Wendell Berry (if you can imagine
that!), Christine Byl does epic justice to the whole-bodied satisfactions that
come of staying out in the weather, staying alert, and working one’s ass off
for others with love, tenacity and skill." --David James Duncan,
author of The River Why and Sun House.
“Christine Byl has been summering
on trail crews for more than a decade and a half. A first-rate storyteller, she
details the techniques and tools, and the spirit of fellowship and feel of the
woods. If you love getting into the back country, or even if you're an armchair
backpacker as I am now at age eighty, you'll love Dirt Work.”
--William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky and The
Nature of Generosity
“Byl’s is not a world of groomed
nature, inert tools, or nostalgic rituals, but a vibrant landscape inhabited by
people and animals and layered by idea and history. She means this book as a
love song, she writes, and it is, not only from her to her fellow laborers, but
from the mind to the body, the hand to the tool, the human to the wild.” —Sherry
Simpson, author of The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska
Order any book at Beacon.org (including the ones featured in our Buzz Report below) by December 31st and receive 20% off your order and free standard shipping.* And orders of $75 or more will receive a free King Legacy Series tote bag.
Plus, Beacon Press will donate 15% of total sales to the Teachers College Literacy Lifeboats Initiative. Use Promo Code GIFT20 at checkout.
*Due to the increased volume of mail shipping during the holiday season, we cannot guarantee orders submitted after December 13 will arrive by December 24. If you would like to ensure your package arrives by that date, we offer paid shipping options via UPS. A 15% donation from each sale using promo code GIFT20 will be given to the Teacher's College Literacy Lifeboats Initiative to aid those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
is actually not a duopoly of firebrands and diplomats. These two types of
evangelists no more describe “both kinds” of atheist than “country and western”
describes “both kinds” of music.
explicitly rejects “the demise of religion”—that is not a goal he shares. He
also rejects the firebrands versus diplomats dichotomy. “I believe how
pushy should we be? is the wrong question,” he writes. The better
question is how do we make the world a better place?
Upheaval after upheaval has reminded us
that modern man is traveling along a road called hate, in a journey
that will bring us to destruction and damnation. Far from being the pious
injunction of a Utopian dreamer, the command to love one’s enemy is an absolute
necessity for our survival. Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of
the problems of our world. Jesus is not an impractical idealist: he is the
Journal: “In “Educational Courage,”
veteran educators and activists Schniedewind and Mara Sapon-Shevin bring
together the voices of those resisting market-driven initiatives such as
high-stakes testing, charter schools, mayoral control and merit pay.”
Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace
in the Middle East, by Rashid Khalidi (March 12, 2013)
"Khalidi has combined history, common sense and his
first-hand understanding of arab-israeli peace talks, as brokered by
Washington, to make the case that American national security interests would be
best served by a just peace in the Middle East. Instead, he write with
great sadness, Washington's efforts to be a honest broker fall "somewhere
between high irony and farce" --and puts democratic America, with its
avowed commitment to freedom for all, in the position of enabling the continued
subjugation of the Palestine people. This is an important book." --Seymour
M. Hersh, the New Yorker; Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Laura Miller reviewed The $60,000 Dog at Salon.com: “Because Slater is willing to take the personal essay to unsettling places and because she is a writer of uncommon, bracing eloquence, the beauty of her work can sometimes blindside her reader. But it’s precisely this wallop that makes her perpetually worth reading.” (Salon.com also posted an excerpt earlier this month).
Globe also ran a favorable review: “Edgy, revelatory,
disturbing, and beautifully written, Lauren Slater’s The $60,000 Dog is too
unsentimental and idiosyncratic in structure to be lumped in with more
traditional animal books.”
The Pioneer Press(St.
Paul, Minnesota) feature on Chris Stedman and Faitheist Nov 24 (his
upcoming Twin Cities appearances are listed at article’s end).
Nov 27, 7 PM Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT Speech, reception, and signing Marquand Chapel Sponsored by Open Party, Chaplain's Office, Yale Humanist Society, Bridges, and Yale Divinity Student Book Supply
Nov 28, 2 PM Lincoln School for Girls, Providence, RI Assembly speech EEH Music Center
Nov 28, 7 PM Bryant University, Providence, RI Speech and signing Bryant Interfaith Center Co-sponsored by Humanists of Rhode Island, and Bryant University's Literary and Cultural Studies, History and Social Sciences, Applied Psychology, the Women’s Center, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Interfaith Center More information
Dec 2, 6 PM Concordia College, Moorhead, MN Speech and signing Sponsored by Secular Student Community (SSC), Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA), Concordia Better Together, Mathetai, and the Forum on Faith and Life More information
The Rebellious Life of Mrs.
Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis (Jan. 29, 2013)
Publishers Weekly review Nov. 12: “Theoharis submits a lavishly well-documented study of Parks’s life and
career as an activist.”
Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has
Undermined Peace in the Middle East by Rashid Khalidi (March 12, 2013)
“What has happened to the
Palestinian people since 1948 is one of the great crimes of modern history. Of
course, Israel bears primary responsibility for this tragedy. However,
as Rashid Khalidi shows in his smart new book, American presidents from
Truman to Obama have sided with Israel at almost every turn and helped it
inflict immense pain and humiliation on the Palestinians. At the same time,
they have employed high-sounding but dishonest rhetoric to cover
up Israel's brutal behavior. As Brokers of Deceit makes clear,
the United States richly deserves to be called ‘Israel's lawyer.’” - John J.
Mearsheimer, coauthor of The Israel Lobby
Hunting Season: A Story of
Home, Immigration, and Murder by Mirta Ojito (Nov 05, 2013)
hyperbolic rhetoric of immigration spewing from every medium, we forget that there
are dreams on either side of the divide that has cleaved United States society
and threatens our sense of self. Respected journalist Mirta Ojito writes about immigration
from the perspective of those who have lived it: from the Italian descendant
Mayor of Patchogue to a naturalized waiter from Colombia, from undocumented
Ecuadorean laborers to teenagers pumped on adrenaline with not enough to do on
a fall night--to heartbroken parents in two continents. This is an
important book. I couldn't
put it down." - Esmeralda Santiago, author of When I was Puerto Rican and Conquistadora.
A Veteran's Day post by Gabriella Lettini at Huffington Post looks at the concept of Moral Injury as a wound of war:
War does not end when peace is declared and the troops come home. It continues to affect the bodies, psyches, souls, lands and communities of everyone involved. War's tragic legacy passes on from generation to generation, more dangerously so when it is ignored and left unattended.
More about Soul Repair:
Publishers Weekly review: "eloquent and unflinching discourse on war's problematic moral core."
Faitheist: How an
Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious by Chris Stedman
Since there are far too many links to post, here are a few highlights of media and mentions for Chris Stedman and Faitheist:
Christian Century review posted online November 2 Starred review in Booklist: "Stedman’s story is motivational, his thoughts on interreligious dialogue insightful, and in this short memoir, he proves himself an activist in the truest sense and one to watch."
Wars tells the aching story of immigrant factory workers in the decades preceding
World War II -- sad lives made sadder by the terrified knowledge that their
families in Europe are being extinguished. The book is part memoir, part
reconstruction … and all artistry.” —Edith Pearlman, author of Binocular
Fast Future: How the Millennial
Generation Is Shaping Our World by David D. Burstein
Kirkus Reviews in print (Dec 1) and online (Nov 12): “An inspiring look at what the
millennial generation is doing in America.”
“With careful research and thoughtful
observation, David Burstein holds a mirror up to his own generation and tries
to help all of us better understand who they are, what matters to them, and how
they may shape the future. Everyone who is fascinated by Millennials—and how
can we not be?—will learn something from this book.”—Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour
With Barack Obama's victory over Mitt Romney yesterday, Tweet Laureate Elinor Lipman has concluded her own campaign to bring one political poem a day to her Twitter constituency. Today's tweet, number 500, expresses her joy at seeing her chosen Presidential candidate prevail:
O happy day, swing states came thru/"Too close to call" turned brilliant blue/Our fondest wish has now came tru/Barack Obama, God bless you
The just-released and already much-praised memoir received a starred review in the November 15th issue of Booklist:
avowed atheist, former Fundamentalist Christian, and current interfaith
activist whose heartfelt and thought-provoking account of his struggle
with God and religion serves as a call to arms for those seeking to bridge
the gap between the religious and the secular… To that end he paints an
intimate and deeply affecting portrait of his own life, one characterized
by the sort of staggering dissonances—gay Christian teen,
religion-degree-seeking atheist—that could cripple a person. But Stedman
is nothing if not determined, and his resulting journey toward personal
reconciliation through service work and interfaith dialogue is inspiring.
Stedman’s story is motivational, his thoughts on interreligious dialogue
insightful, and in this short memoir, he proves himself an activist in the
truest sense and one to watch.”
On issues ranging from ocean acidification and tipping points in the Arctic to the dangers of nanotechnology, the scientists have always gotten there first — and the environmentalists have followed.
And yet, recently, the environment movement seems to have been turning up on the wrong side of the scientific argument. We have been making claims that simply do not stand up. We are accused of being anti-science — and not without reason. A few, even close friends, have begun to compare this casual contempt for science with the tactics of climate contrarians. [Read the rest here.]
Courtney Martin and her book Do
It Anyway were featured in the New York Times Sunday business section
on Oct. 28.
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis, Jan. 29,
Starred review in Kirkus Reviews print (Nov 15) and
online (Nov 04): “How Theoharis learned the true nature of this woman is a
story in itself. Parks always stood in the background, never volunteered
information about herself and eschewed fame. There were no letters to consult;
even her autobiography exposed little of the woman’s personality. She hid
her light under a bushel, and it has taken an astute author to find the
real Parks. Even though her refusal to give up her bus seat sparked a
revolution, Rosa Parks was no accidental heroine. She was born to it, and
Theoharis ably shows us how and why.”
review Nov 15: “Historian Theoharis offers a complex portrait of a forceful,
determined woman who had long been active before the boycott she inspired and
who had an even longer career in civil rights afterward.”
The $60,000 Dog: My Life With Animals by Lauren Slater, November 20,
More magazine (Nov issue) review, Pam
Houston calls The $60,000 Dog: “assumption-busting,
Light Without Fire: The Making of America's First Muslim College by Scott Korb, April 16,
Islam become an American religion or remain permanently estranged? Will Muslims
in America develop an identity that contributes to their country or one that
emphasizes isolation and opposition? Scott Korb knows just how crucial these
questions are, and in Light Without Fire tells the story of the leaders
and animating ideas behind America’s first Muslim liberal arts college—an
institution seeking to build an American Islam—in all its fits and starts, and
in prose that is both clear and compelling. I for one could not put it down—it
is essential and riveting reading.”
Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core, author of Sacred
Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America
Interfaith cooperation played a key role in everything from the American civil rights movement, to the swaraj movement in India, to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. I believe that if religious communities worked together to apply shared values like compassion and hospitality we would be able to go a long way to solving many of the great problems in our world today, everything from poverty to malaria.
Continue to partake of the banquet of your religious tradition. But all of our traditions have what I call a “theology of interfaith cooperation.” So it’s not just an American thing to be involved in interfaith cooperation. It’s also a very Christian thing to do. One of the wonderful things about religion is that it’s wide, it contains multitudes, including seeming contradictions. As my evangelicals like to say, within the Christian tradition there is both the “Great Commission,” as well as the “Great Cooperation.” In the Sacred Ground, I write about Bob Roberts [evangelical pastor of NorthWood Church], who’s very happy to remind me that he wants to convert me, but he’s also very happy to run big events in Dallas with IFYC methodology.
An excerpt from Faitheist on Salon.com received over 4,000 Facebook
“likes” in 24 hours:
I fear that some atheists are doing what I used to do in my antireligious days: engaging in monologue instead of dialogue. After years of dismissing religious people outright, I realized that I was so busy talking that I wasn’t listening. I was treating religion as a concept instead of talking to people who actually lived religious lives. When I started listening, something interesting happened:
I saw that my approach to religion had been distorted. I’d been thinking narrowly about the texts, not about some of their positive applications; of the one-sided stereotypes, not the diverse spectrum of beliefs and practices. It was only after I observed the actual actions of religious communities — and, more importantly, engaged with religious people and their stories — that I was able to see the benefits of working across lines of religious difference.
Book release party at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge,
MA on Nov 02
Lecture at Tufts University, Medford, MA on Nov 15
Lecture, reception, and signing at Yale Divinity School, New
Haven, CT on Nov 27
Assembly lecture at Lincoln School for Girls,
Providence, RI on Nov 28
Bookstore event at Subtext, St. Paul, MN on Nov 29
Bookstore event at Magers & Quinn, Minneapolis, MN on
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN on Dec 03
Lecture at Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH on Dec 06
Lecture at Center For Inquiry Transnational Headquarters,
Amherst, NY on Dec 14
Have We Got Blurbs for You!
My Mother’s Wars by Lillian Faderman (Release date March 05,
2013—available for preorder)
“Faderman's story of her immigrant mother is so vividly
imagined that you can taste the borscht Mary eats, squirm at the claustrophobia
of her tiny rented room, and be swept up in the sensual delight that will
betray her.”—Janice Steinberg, The Tin Horse
“An ingenious means of bringing new life to the oldest story
in our nation’s past: the American Revolution from the perspective of the young
and clear-sighted wives of generals Benedict Arnold and Henry Knox.
Tracing the parallel lives of two couples with conflicting loyalties, Nancy
Rubin Stuart achieves a you-are-there verisimilitude in Defiant Brides that is
rare and not to be missed.”—Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters:
Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism
“As young social entrepreneurs, Fast Future spoke to our
core by telling the story of an exciting turning point that will change the
course of history. That is, if we can channel this energy. David Burstein
takes a deep and nuanced look at the potential young people have and the
terrible missed opportunity of not capitalizing on the innovation of the
millennial generation. David himself represents the savvy impatience, the
industriousness, and the possibilities of the millennial generation: this book
is not to be missed or ignored. And, in Fast Future, he presents us with the
opportunity to re-imagine how generations can work together to create a more
innovative, equitable world—today.”—Jessica Posner Odede and Kennedy Odede,
Co-Founders, Shining Hope for Communities
White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf by Aaron Bobrow-Strain
Fox Foodie Column column on FoxNews.com looking at the history and healthfulness of white bread.
$60,000 Dog: My Life With Animals by Lauren Slater, November 20, 2012
review Oct 15: “A thoughtful examination of a sometimes difficult life,
ameliorated and often alleviated by connections with nature and animals. . .
.Dogs, wasps, and bats also figure in a poetic narrative that gives the reader
a melodic look into a deeply considered life."
My Mother’s Wars by
Lillian Faderman, Mar. 05, 2013
“Lillian Faderman is an extraordinary storyteller, one of the few who can tell a painful story,
with a complex ending—and imbue it with humor, sensuality and earthy grace, in
every sentence.”—Amy Bloom,
author of Away
The Rebellious Life of Mrs.
Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis, Jan. 29, 2013
Jeanne Theoharis, author of The Rebellious Mrs. Rosa Parks has
been selected to keynote MLK Sunrise Celebration the
Mid-Winter Meeting of ALA. 6:30-7:45am on Monday, January 28 in
What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine by Danielle Ofri, June 04, 2013
in the New
York Times: “Women
Still Missing from Medicine's Top Ranks.”
Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home by
Author events include:
Oct 11 at
Tufts Medical Center (Boston, MA)
Oct 18 at
Brandeis House (New York)
Oct 23 at
Harriet Tubman House (Boston)
Oct 27 at
Boston Book Festival (Boston Public Library)
Oct 31 at
Claremont McKenna College (Claremont, CA)
Nov 07 at
USTA Serves (White Plain, NY)
Dec 06 at
National Archives Records Center (Waltham, MA)
A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The
true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves
twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today by Kate Bornstein
Book Fair on Sept 23
Cities Book Festival Oct 13 Miami
Book Fair Nov 16-18
Ryan On Student Loans - Crony Capitalism?” Forbes interview with Alan Collinge
"The true, conservative move for higher education would be to
return standard bankruptcy to all student loans, thereby forcing the government
to freeze, or even lower the federal lending ceilings for these loans.
This would quickly, and surely compel a significant decrease in the price that
the colleges could charge for their product. It would also decrease
government spending. It would also show average Americans how the
“invisible hand” can actually work for them, instead of against them." Forbes
"Mitt Romney Blurts out the Truth About Neoconservatism." Linda McQuaig in The Star
"Once upon a time, 'conservative' could be used to describe people — Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark — who had a vision of society in which a privileged elite dominated but also had a responsibility to less fortunate citizens and to the broader 'public good.'
"But about 30 years ago, a new breed of 'conservative' slithered onto the political scene. Stealing the moniker of conservatism, this new breed embraced the inequality of traditional conservatism (driving it skyward) while unburdening itself of the responsibility for others and the public good.
"This new breed has proved itself to be self-centred, greedy and indifferent to the public good." The Star
"I now pay a shitload of taxes. Hell, I even got slammed with the alternative minimum tax last year, which I think is something that was actually designed for guys like you. But whatever. The point is that I didn’t always pay so much. Like twenty zillion or so other people who had to take out student loans to get through college and/or graduate school, I spent much of my early adult life in debt. I did the things that most of us have to do before getting into the 53%--scouring liquor stores for the absolute cheapest possible beer (Blatz Light? Lucky Beer?), paying rent with a Discover Card, living in apartments teeming with rats (rats, mind you, not mice), selling used CDs for a bit of pocket change, living in an apartment in China which only sometimes had running water (okay, that’s a bit idiosyncratic, perhaps, but you get the idea). Indeed, it wasn’t all that long ago that my wife and I lived in a slummy apartment where the sink fell off the wall when I leaned on it and where the bathroom was so small and close to the kitchen that I could flip pancakes while taking a shower."
Kirkus Reviews in print October 15 and online Sept 23: “A vivid, moving depiction of a way of life tragically becoming increasingly endangered.”
“There's great tenderness in this book, and great
pathos—sometimes one wonders if it's worth the pain to pay attention amidst
the gathering storm, but this powerful account shows us that it's precisely by
keeping track of the world around us that we stay human.”—Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
Divided we Fail: The
Story of an African American Community that Ended the Era of School
Desegregation by Sarah Garland, January 29, 2013
Kirkus Reviews October 15 print and online beginning September 23: “A useful
journalistic examination of a troubling societal phenomenon.”
the noise about failing schools, standardized tests, teacher accountability,
and America’s educational decline, only the courageous are willing to
acknowledge the persistence of racism—let alone, address the problem in a
serious, clear-eyed way. Sarah Garland has written a courageous book,
documenting the struggles of courageous community activists, educators,
parents, and children who continued to fight for equity and racial justice long
after our nation declared victory over segregation. In telling this
gripping, often tragic, often inspirational story, Garland reveals that
integrating a classroom is not the same as dismantling racism. Divided
We Fail is one of those rare books that will move even the most cynical to
act. And act we must." —Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom
Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaping
Our World by David Burstein
“David Burstein’s generation—a diverse,
connected, and entrepreneurial lot that came of age around the Millennium—has
already changed the face of politics from Washington to Cairo and
beyond. Millennials are distinct and powerful, though scholarship
about them has been slapdash and haphazard. Enter David
Burstein. With Fast Future, Burstein cements his reputation as the
millennial generation’s most thoughtful and insightful public intellectual.”—David King, Harvard University
“In Fast Future, David Burstein provides a
personal and compelling picture of his generation. Millennials are pragmatic
idealists and the first digitals, able to handle the fast pace of today’s world
while they remake our economic and democratic political systems. Read this book
not only to understand the future but also how the millennials are poised to shape
it.” —Michael D. Hais and Morley Winograd, authors of Millennial
Now in Paperback:
Music, Forgetting the Words: Travels with Mom in the
Land of Dementia by Kate Whouley
Upcoming author events:
Coffee with the Authors –
Buttonwood Books and Toys (Cohasset, MA); Oct 09
National Reading Group Month Panel
– Boston; Oct 18
Reading and Talk – Uxbridge Public
Library (MA); Oct 20
Reading and Talk – Hanson Public
Library (MA); Oct 25
Writers Day at Baypath College –
Longmeadow, MA; Oct 27
Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the
Radical Men They Married by Nancy Rubin Stuart (April 09, 2013)
"In this lively double-biography, Nancy
Rubin Stuart reveals the resilient lives of a leading Patriot and a notorious
Loyalist: both of them women. Lucy Flucker Knox and Peggy Shippen Arnold
deftly performed the parlor politics that helped to shape the American
Revolution in surprising ways."
--Alan Taylor, author of The Civil War of
1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies
Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaping
Our World by David Burstein (Forthcoming February 2013)
“The millennials are a unique generation with a
strong entrepreneurial streak that has seen them create some of the most
impactful businesses of this century. As a millennial entrepreneur, I found Fast
Future to be an inspiring and powerful account of the world we live and
work in every day.” —Ben Lerer, Founder & CEO, Thrillist
The Rebellious Life of Mrs.
Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis (Forthcoming January 2013)
"Charisma is not a word often
used to describe Rosa Parks yet we have to recognize her star. The Rosa Parks
challenge to the political system was deep and lasting even while she never
raised her voice. The first female Speaker of the House of Representatives once
said, 'You can get a lot done if you don’t need to take credit for it.' She
took a page from the book of Parks. Theoharis’ scholarship brings forth a woman
whom many followed without ever realizing they were. She was courageous and
strong. She also had a wonderful sense of humor. And an awesome sense of
responsibility. This is a much needed book on the woman who is, arguably, the
most important person in the last half of the twentieth century. Just as the
Lincoln Memorial needs a statue of Frederick Douglass gently bending over with
a pen in his hand for Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, the statue
of Martin Luther King, Jr. needs a statue of Rosa Parks just one or two steps
ahead mouthing the words: 'Come on, Dr. King. We’ve got work to do.'"
--Nikki Giovanni, Poet
From Wisconsin to Washington, DC, the claims are made: unions are responsible for budget deficits, and their members are overpaid and enjoy cushy benefits. The only way to save the American economy, pundits claim, is to weaken the labor movement, strip workers of collective bargaining rights, and champion private industry. In "They're Bankrupting Us!": And 20 Other Myths about Unions, labor leader Bill Fletcher Jr. makes sense of this debate as he unpacks the twenty-one myths most often cited by anti-union propagandists. Drawing on his experiences as a longtime labor activist and organizer, Fletcher traces the historical roots of these myths and provides an honest assessment of the missteps of the labor movement. He reveals many of labor's significant contributions, such as establishing the forty-hour work week and minimum wage, guaranteeing safe workplaces, and fighting for equity within the workforce. This timely, accessible, "warts and all" book argues, ultimately, that unions are necessary for democracy and ensure economic and social justice for all people.
People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform. As we struggle with massive unemployment, a staggering racial wealth gap, and the near collapse of a financial system that puts profits before people, King's prophetic writings and speeches underscore his relevance for today. They help us imagine King anew: as a human rights leader whose commitment to unions and an end to poverty was a crucial part of his civil rights agenda.
Covering all the civil rights movement highlights-Montgomery, Albany, Birmingham, Selma, Chicago, and Memphis-award-winning historian Michael K. Honey introduces and traces King's dream of economic equality. Gathered in one volume for the first time, the majority of these speeches will be new to most readers. The collection begins with King's lectures to unions in the 1960s and includes his addresses during his Poor People's Campaign, culminating with his momentous "Mountaintop" speech, delivered in support of striking black sanitation workers in Memphis. Unprecedented and timely, "All Labor Has Dignity" will more fully restore our understanding of King's lasting vision of economic justice, bringing his demand for equality right into the present.
Three renowned historians present stirring tales of labor: Howard Zinn tells the grim tale of the Ludlow Massacre, a drama of beleaguered immigrant workers, Mother Jones, and the politics of corporate power in the age of the robber barons. Dana Frank brings to light the little-known story of a successful sit-in conducted by the 'counter girls' at the Detroit Woolworth's during the Great Depression. Robin D. G. Kelley's story of a movie theater musicians' strike in New York asks what defines work in times of changing technology.
"Three Strikes brings to life the heroic men and women who put their jobs, bodies, and lives on the line to win a better life for all working Americans. Zinn, Frank, and Kelley show us that while the country and the union movement have changed greatly in the last hundred years, our struggle to close the divide between rich and poor remains the same."-John Sweeney, president, AFL-CIO
"Provocative analysis of still relevant issues, as the passionate, sometimes violent demonstrations at international meetings of the global economy demonstrate."-Mary Carroll, Booklist
"Highly readable, well-researched narratives of dramatic action"-Leon Fink, Chicago Tribune
Kirkus Reviews online August 29 and in print September 15: “The searching, intelligent account of a gay man's experiences growing away from God and into a thoughtful and humane atheist…Brave and refreshingly open-minded.”
My point is that in this era, the question of age when it comes to engaging religious diversity is moot. We are literally born into a condition of interfaith interaction. Our children will be raised in an environment of religious diversity — from a Mormon presidential hopeful, to Olympic athletes competing in Islamic head scarfs, to the images of a Wisconsin Sikh community mourning after a terrible attack.
The truth is that for a large part of medical practice, we don’t know what works. But we pay for it anyway. Our annual per capita health care expenditure is now over $8,000. Many countries pay half that — and enjoy similar, often better, outcomes. Isn’t it time to learn which practices, in fact, improve our health, and which ones don’t?
According to a report released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in June, America could supply nearly half our total power needs from wind and solar energy by 2050, using technology that is commercially available today. Imagine what that would do to our country’s carbon footprint.
To move America toward a more sustainable energy future, we need national leadership that will check the excesses of well-entrenched fossil fuel interests while encouraging cleaner alternatives like wind.