Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal
(Basic Books; 2013; 344 pages)
By Abigail Carroll, MA’02

Food historian Abigail Carroll explores the evolution of who we are as a culture through the prism of American eating habits. From Colonial America to the present, she looks at how our eating habits—including where, when, and what we eat—have evolved over time. Carroll also looks at how powerful sociological forces such as the Industrial Revolution, our evolving concept of the family, and the rise of fast food have influenced our culinary culture.

Featuring rigorous research and a lively narrative, this book provides an engrossing overview of how American food culture reflects who we are and where we’re going.
                                                                                                                                                                               
Soil
(Penned in the Margins; 2013; 80 pages)
By Tim Cresswell, professor of history and international affairs

This debut collection of poetry is a meditation on the theme of place and our connections to it. The acclaimed author of five books on mobility and geography, Cresswell uses both natural and urban spaces—for instance, an upper-middle-class house, a mine shaft, and a river’s edge—as backdrops for his poems.

These spare works often juxtapose disparate elements and, in doing so, underscore the quirks of human experience. Often startling, the poems offer thoughtful explorations of the world and our place in it.


Climbing Mount Laurel: The Struggle for Affordable Housing and Social Mobility in an American Suburb
(Princeton University Press; 2013; 288 pages)
By Douglas S. Massey; Len Albright, assistant professor of sociology
and public policy; et al.

In 1975, the town of Mount Laurel, N.J., became the center of controversy when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that middle-class suburbs had to create affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. In 2000, the town finally finished the construction of 100 housing units, making it one of many test cases for federal fair housing policies.

Along with his four co-authors, Albright revisited his hometown to study the effect of low-cost housing on the social fabric of this typical American suburb. Using novel methodologies, the authors scrutinize the outcome of the Ethel Lawrence Homes. They conclude that the neighborhoods around Mount Laurel were not adversely affected by the housing projects.

With the rise in economic inequality, this book sends a timely message that economically integrated communities uplift the underprivileged, with no drawbacks for the community as a whole.