Off the Shelf

Recent books with a Harvard accent

Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale, by Catherine Orenstein '90 (Basic Books, $25). Much we need to know about men, women, and the shiftiness of morality is taught in the 10 tellings of the famous fairy tale presented here and in commentary by the author--a folklorist, contemporary culture critic, and freelance writer. While exploring some of Little Red Riding Hood's multitude of reincarnations--"not in search of universal truths, but...as evidence of how human truths change"-- Orenstein cloaks her scholarship in the most appealing prose. The book began as her senior honors thesis.

 

This Side of Doctoring: Reflections from Women in Medicine, edited by Eliza Lo Chin, M.D. '93 (Sage Publications, $29.95). Chin organizes her collection of more than 160 essays, anecdotes, poems, and quotations into categories such as internship and residency, mothering and doctoring, and barriers confronting women in medicine. Do not be misled by the treacly book jacket full of pink tulips.

 

A Call to Heroism: Renewing the American Vision of Greatness, by Peter H. Gibbon '64, with a foreword by Peter J. Gomes, B.D. '68 (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24). For 30 years a teacher and educational administrator, now a research associate at the School of Education, Gibbon has traveled widely in recent years speaking to young people about what it means to be a hero. He thinks we need to get a fresh grip on the concept to bolster our ideals as we brace ourselves for challenges to come.

 

When Every Moment Counts: What You Need to Know about Bioterrorism from the Senate's Only Doctor, by Bill Frist '78, M.D. (Rowman & Littlefield, $14.95, paper). "An understanding of some of the basics on how to prepare for, and respond to, the use of microbes as weapons goes a long way to reduce anxiety and minimize any chance of paralysis in our lives," Senator Frist (R-Tenn.) advises. "In the war against bioterrorism, information is power."

 

Dream Date, by Jean McGarry '70 (Johns Hopkins University Press, $16.95, paper). The author teaches writing at Hopkins. In this fifth collection of short stories, she tinges with surrealism her inventive and often droll accounts of encounters between women and men.

 

Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices, by Paul R. Lawrence, IA '43, M.B.A. '47, D.C.S. '50, Donham professor of organizational behavior emeritus, and Nitin Nohria, Chapman professor of business administration (Jossey-Bass, $28). We act in response to conscious choices, the authors say, but the choices are fired by four subconscious drives: to acquire, to bond, to learn, and to defend. The book, says jacket-blurb commentator Terry Burnham, author of Mean Genes, is "sure to change the way we view the bipedal ape in the corner office."

 

Rebels with Applause: Broadway's Groundbreaking Musicals, by Scott Miller '86 (Heinemann, $18.95, paper). The artistic director of New Line Theatre in St. Louis explicates 10 greats, from The Cradle Will Rock (1937) to Hair (1967) and Rent (1996).

 

Partners, Not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good, by Martha Minow, Ed.M. '76, professor of law (Beacon Press, $25). Companies out to make a dollar are now running schools, prisons, hospitals. Market forces can improve public services, Minow argues, but the arrangements--the partnerships--need to be structured properly so that important public values survive.

 

Maximum Danger: Kennedy, the Missiles, and the Crisis of American Confidence, by Robert Weisbrot, Ph.D. '80 (Ivan R. Dee, $27.50). The way President John F. Kennedy '40, LL.D. '56, handled the Cuban missile crisis, writes the myth-debunking Weisbrot, the Johnson distinguished teaching professor of history at Colby College, was "a mainstream profile in caution..."

 

The Essays of Henry David Thoreau, selected and edited by Lewis Hyde (North Point Press; $35, cloth; $15, paper). The Thomas professor of creative writing at Kenyon College offers an annotated collection of 13 of the best short prose pieces by Thoreau, A.B. 1837. (See also "Open Book," page 26.)

         

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