Off the Shelf

A sampling of current books received at this magazine

St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography, by Philip Freeman, Ph.D. '94 (Simon and Schuster, $24). It's a pious fiction that Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. But the truth about the courageous, passionate man, and about life in the British Isles during the crumbling of the Roman empire, is fascinating enough and well told here by a professor of classics at Washington University in St. Louis.

 

Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, by Laura Shapiro '68 (Viking, $24.95). On one side of the battlefield were Spam, frozen TV dinners, and the packaged-food industry; on the other side, Julia Child and Betty Friedan. In the end, Shapiro writes, "it took both a cook and a feminist to liberate the American kitchen... from the grip of the food industry and the constraints of gender."

 

Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice about Children, by Ann Hulbert '77 (Knopf, $27.50). A hundred-year dose of conflicting expert advice hasn't made parents anxiety free, of course; it's unnerved them.

 

The Maker's Hand: American Studio Furniture, 1940-1990, by Edward S. Cooke Jr., Gerald W.R. Ward '71, and Kelly H. L'Ecuyer (MFA Publications; $60, cloth; $35, paper). In the world of studio furniture, pieces crafted with an eye to both function and fine art surprise and delight. The chest below, by a Cantabrigian, is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing with La Grande Nation, by Charles Cogan '49, D.P.A. '92 (United States Institute of Peace Press; $37.50, cloth; $17.50, paper). After a career in the intelligence community, Cogan is a senior research associate at the Center for Science and International Affairs. He offers many insights into France's contemporary foreign policy, including its behavior toward the United States over Iraq. Stanley Hoffmann, Buttenwieser University Professor, calls the book "as objective and fair as it is wise."

 

Lifeboat, by John R. Stilgoe, Ph.D. '77, Orchard professor in the history of landscape (University of Virginia Press, $29.95). The always-interesting Stilgoe gives readers "a sort of natural history of lifeboats" and chronicles chilling instances when these "fixtures of disaster" alone provided their castaway occupants a way out of trouble.

 

Architecture and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard's H. Langford Warren, by Maureen Meister (University Press of New England, $35). At the time of his death in 1917, architect-artist Warren was dean of what was then called the School of Architecture, which he had launched.

 

The Nonprofit Leadership Team: Building the Board-Executive Director Partnership, by Fisher Howe '35 (Jossey-Bass, $32). What the board should expect of the executive and vice versa.

 

The great staircase of the Harvard Club of New York City reveals McKim's fondness for Georgian architecture.
Jonathan Wallen, From McKim, Mead & White

Ideas Triumphant: Strategies for Social Change and Progress, by Lawrence Lader '41 (Seven Locks Press; $22.95, cloth; $16.95, paper). President of Abortion Rights Mobilization and longtime political activist, Lader focuses on the evolution of ideas about reproductive rights, gun control, abortion, and death with dignity.

 

McKim, Mead & White: The Masterworks, by Samuel G. White '68 and Elizabeth White (Rizzoli, $75). In a handsome volume, the authors document the architects' commercial and institutional works, among them the Harvard Club of New York City and 16 gates to Harvard Yard.

 

Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations, by Stephen C. Schlesinger '64, LL.B. '68 (Westview Press, $27.50). The president of the United States and his secretary of state, aided by secret agents, against intrigues and the reservations of allies, strive irresistibly for what they want — the United Nations. President Truman, that is.

 

If Ever Two Were One: A Private Diary of Love Eternal, edited by Brian A. Sullivan, senior reference archivist, Harvard University Archives (Regan Books, $24.95). This magazine gave readers a peek into the diary of Francis Abbot, A.B. 1859, who chronicled his grand romance with Kate Loring and killed himself on the anniversary of her death ("Love Story," July-August 2002, page 104). Here's the whole heartbreaking tale.

     

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