LifeBlood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital
(UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS; 2013; 288 PAGES)
By Matthew T. Huber, MA’04
Many people in the United States believe that our nation is addicted to oil, so much so that it’s permeated just about every aspect of the “American way of life.” What was once celebrated as the lifeblood of postwar capitalism has become the source of fear about over-reliance on gasoline and other petroleum products. How did this happen?
Huber, an assistant professor of geography at Syracuse University, provides a complex look at a century of consumption in relation to capitalism in the nation and the rise of American neoliberalism. He uses oil to examine political history, from the liberalism of FDR’s New Deal to the growth of the new right. He also explores the importance of suburbanization to the nation’s shift toward the right.
ENGAGING AND COMMUNICATING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE DEMENTIA: Finding and Using Their Strengths
(HEALTH PROFESSIONS PRESS; 2013; 232 PAGES)
By Eileen Eisner, MEd’68
Despite the debilitating nature of Alzheimer’s and other progressive dementias, those afflicted still experience opportunities for social and emotional interactions throughout the course of the disease. The individualized, strength-based approach advocated in this book provides a framework for selecting and modifying activities based on what a person likes and can still accomplish.
Eisner, a speech-language pathologist who specializes in communication disorders related to Alzheimer’s, gives both professionals and family members assessment tools to understand why certain activities are more appropriate than others and tips on how to match activities to waning abilities. The goal, she writes, “is to provide positive options to a pessimistic situation,” and to bring attention to quality-of-life issues concerning Alzheimer’s patients.
THE WIRED CITY: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age
(UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS PRESS; 2013; 192 PAGES)
By Dan Kennedy, LA’79, assistant professor of journalism
Around 2009, when Kennedy began to research this book, the collapse of the traditional newspaper business seemed imminent. Newspapers were folding, advertising revenue was in free fall, online revenues were meager, and asking readers to pay for online content simply didn’t work. How, then, to fund public-interest journalism, maintaining its role as an independent overseer of government and big business?
Kennedy found a new model: sharply focused local journalism funded by community leaders and foundation executives who recognized the civic value of independent reporting on government, schools, and neighborhoods. His main example is the nonprofit, online-only New Haven Independent. The author says this model is not the only answer in the Internet age, but it’s one that left him profoundly optimistic about the future of journalism.
EINSTEIN RELATIVELY SIMPLE: Our Universe Revealed in Everyday Language
(WORLD SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING; 2014; 366 PAGES)
By Ira Mark Egdall, LA’67
Egdall wrote the book for all those who didn’t think it was possible to understand Einstein’s theories. He accomplishes the task by emphasizing the concepts of special and general relativity rather than the mathematics.
His book is based on modern physics courses that the author, a retired aeronautical engineer, now teaches at several universities. Part 1 covers special relativity; for instance, how time slows and space shrinks with motion. Part 2 zeroes in on general relativity and delves into our ever-expanding universe, which was born 13 billion years ago.
With humor and clarity, Egdall tells how an unknown patent clerk became recognized as the greatest scientist of the modern world. Just as you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the beauty of a Michelangelo, Egdall says you don’t need to be a genius to get Einstein.