Off the Shelf

A sampling of current books received at this magazine

Bury the Chains: Prophets, Slaves, and Rebels in the First Human Rights Crusade, by Adam Hochschild '63 (Houghton Mifflin, $26.95). A printer, a lawyer, a few merchants, and the Anglican clergyman who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace" (a once-lost former captain of a slave ship) gathered in a London bookshop in 1787 to hatch a plan to end slavery in the British empire. In a lively chronicle, Hochschild characterizes them as the creators of the first grass-roots human-rights campaign—they perfected most of the tools that activists count on to day, including posters, boycotts, mass mailings and lapel pins, and they helped free hundreds of thousands of slaves around the world.

 

Pay without Performance: The Unfulfilled Promise of Executive Compensation, by Lucian Bebchuk, LL.M. '80, Jf '83, J.D. '84, Ph.D. '93, Friedman professor of law, economics, and finance, Harvard Law School, and Jesse Fried '85, J.D. '92, G '93, professor of law, University of California, Berkeley (Harvard University Press, $24.95). Corporate boards should not only become more independent of the executives they over see, the authors argue, but more dependent on shareholders by erasing the arrangements that isolate and entrench directors.

 

Sense and Nonsensibility: Lampoons of Learning and Literature, by Lawrence Douglas and Alexander George, Ph.D. '86 (Simon & Schuster, paper, $9.95). A grade-A send-up of things academic, by a pair of (tenured) Amherst professors.

 

Maharana Amar Singh II at Worship, by an anonynmous Indian artist, circa 1968 to 1710. From the Welch collection.

From Mind, Heart, and Hand: Persian, Turkish, and Indian Drawings from the Stuart Cary Welch Collection, by Stuart Cary Welch '50, G '54, curator emeritus, Department of Islamic and Later Indian Art, and Kimberly Masteller, assistant curator (Yale University Press, $60). A catalog for an exhibition at the Harvard University Art Museums opening March 19, this sumptuous book presents more than 70 drawings from a renowned collection.

 

Murder at the B-School, by Jeffrey Cruikshank, PMD '86 (Warner, $24.95). A golden-boy M.B.A. candidate is found dead in the whirl pool at Shad, and the dean assigns Wim Vermeer, a dispensable assistant professor, to placate police and the corpse's parents. But the professor aspires to learn the (sinister) truth.

 

Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation, by Peter L. Bernstein '40 (Norton, $24.95). The author writes of a revolutionary technological network that transformed the U.S. economy.

 

Arches National Park, Utah. Photograph by John Ward.

Land and Light in the American West, by John Ward '64 (Trinity University Press, $45). Sixty photographs, some of ghostly, decaying buildings, some of untouched landscapes, are superbly reproduced.

 

Restoring Responsibility: Ethics in Government, Business, and Healthcare, by Dennis F. Thompson, K '67, Ph.D. '68, Whitehead professor of political philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and the Professions (Cambridge University Press; $70, cloth; $25.95, paper). These essays focus on institutional vices such as abuse of power and lack of accountability.

 

The Winemaker's Dance: Exploring Terroir in the Napa Valley, by Jonathan Swinchatt, Ph.D. '63, and David G. Howell, G '67 (University of California Press, $34.95). The geologist authors explain how winemakers interact or "dance" with the Napa Valley environment. The story begins millions of years ago with the clash of continental plates.

 

The Family Silver: A Memoir of Depression and Inheritance, by Sharon O'Brien '67, Ph.D. '75 (University of Chicago Press, $27.50). The author's depression ("like a rude houseguest, coming and going of its own accord") and the travels it leads her to undertake into her family's past—old photographs, journals, tombstones, dance cards, hospital records, the family silver—unfold mostly in Cambridge and Boston and are intertwined with Harvard.

 

The Experts' Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do, edited by Samantha Ettus '94, M.B.A. '01. (Clarkson Potter, $19.95). Seven of the pontificating experts are Harvardians, viz: Thuy Tranthi, M.B.A. '93, on how to tie a Windsor knot; Terry Lenzner '61, LL.B. '64, on how to conduct a background investigation; and Ronald Winston '63, on how to buy a diamond. Much wisdom here, but the expert on scrambled eggs is mistaken.

 

Santa's Kwanzaa, by Garen Eileen Thomas '95 (Hyperion Books for Children, $15.99). 'Twas both the night before Christmas and the night before the night before Kwanzaa. Spend the holidays with Santa Kwaz.

 

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