background

Bates Bookshelf

A Brother’s Odyssey, a Colorful Governor, and the Roosevelts’ Island

Edited by H. Jay Burns

Adam Fifield ’94, A Blessing over Ashes: The Remarkable Odyssey of My Unlikely Brother. New York, N.Y.: William Morrow and Co., 2000, 326 pages. Fifield tells the story of his Cambodian-born adopted brother, an orphaned 14-year-old boy who arrived in the Fifields’ Vermont home on a snowy night in January 1984. From there, Adam tells of his experiences with and without Soeuth Saut, his brother’s terrible memories, and his life with a new family. Then comes the stunning discovery, years later, that Soeuth’s Cambodian family still lives, and Fifield and his brother travel back to Soeuth’s homeland.

Emerson W. Baker II ’80 and John G. Reid, The New England Knight: Sir William Phips, 1651-1695. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998, 400 pages. The authors chronicle the colorful life of Sir William Phips, the first royally appointed Massachusetts Bay Colony governor. Phips earned a reputation as a crude, violence-prone shipbuilder-turned-merchant. He gained social status by marrying a wealthy Boston widow and a knighthood by recovering sunken treasure in the Caribbean. Phips the governor provoked controversy: ending the Salem witch crisis, building a new stone fort at Pemaquid, negotiating a truce with the Wabanaki Indians, and planning military campaigns against Canada. Bates Professor of History James Leamon ’55 said, “The authors, specialists in the history and archaeology of 17th-century New England and Acadia, use an impressive array of sources successfully to place Phips in the context of a world that stretched from the Caribbean to Canada, from New England to Old England.”

Arnold Kenseth ’37, Fiddlers’ Green. Charlottesville, Va: Windover Press, 1999, 72 pages. This collection of poems centers on the people, places, events, traditions, and natural world in and around Fiddlers’ Green in South Amherst, Mass., where Kenseth served as pastor of South Church for 40 years, a one-time farming village of open doors and slower rhythms.

Jonas Klein ’51, Beloved Island: Franklin & Eleanor and the Legacy of Campobello. Forest Dale, Vt.: Paul Ericksson, Publisher, 2000, 288 pages. Klein peppers this story of the Roosevelts’ summer home on Campobello with anecdotes, personal letters, and reminiscences, creating a lively and detailed account of a defining place and period in Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s lives. With a foreword by George Mitchell, and generously illustrated.

John C. Inscoe and Gordon McKinney ’65, The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2000, 480 pages. McKinney, the Goode Professor of Appalachia Studies at Berea College, and coauthor Inscoe discuss how the Civil War harmed Appalachia, not so much from Confederate and Union incursions, but more from the trauma caused by differing ideologies and opposing loyalties among the mountain communities; in the end, the Appalachian war became local, internalized, less rational, and more brutal.

David Turell ’50, Government by Political Spin. Lafayette, La.: Huntington House Publishers, 2000, 272 pages. Retired physician Turell offers a libertarian’s view of current political events, criticizing a federal government that cynically uses public relations to “convince us they are very necessary, and should be kept in power to solve problems, real and imaginary.”

The late Robert James Branham, professor of rhetoric, and Philip S. Foner, editors, Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: University of Alabama Press, 1998, 925 pages. This comprehensive volume of more than 150 speeches, selected by the late Robert Branham, is the most extensive and diverse collection of African American oratory of the 18th and 19th centuries ever published.

Mishael Maswari Caspi, visiting professor of religion, and Jerome David Weltsch, From Slumber to Awakening: Culture and Identity of Arab Israeli Literati. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1998, 257 pages. Prolific scholar Mishael Caspi, who has authored 21 books to date, and a colleague explore the construction and representation of Arab Israeli culture and identity, and notions of “otherness” in contemporary Israeli literature and society.

Mishael Maswari Caspi, visiting professor of religion, and Avner Svora’I, Nahali’el-Pioneers Saga. Tel Aviv, Israel: E’eleh B’tamar, 1998, 223 pages. Covering the volatile period from 1914 to 1939, this book recounts the history of a farming settlement in Palestine, the life stories of the pioneers who settled there, and the cultural clash they encountered with their neighbors. In Hebrew.

Robert Chute, professor emeritus of biology, Sweeping the Sky. The Cider Press, 2000, 36 pages. Working from historical accounts, Chute’s latest book of poetry is a tribute to the Russian women who flew combat missions in World War II; these women were among some 800,000 women who served in the Soviet military. The experience of writing wartime poetry left Chute “enmeshed in the ambiguities of patriotism,” he writes in an introduction. “Greater love hath no woman than this, that a woman lay down her life for her friends.”

Anne Wescott Dodd, visiting associate professor of education, illustrations by Mary Beth Owens, The Story of the Sea Glass. Camden, Maine: Down East Books, 1999, 32 pages. A children’s book that at once evokes the sun and sea breeze of the Maine coast, while sharing the love between a granddaughter and grandmother. They drive to a Maine island, the grandmother’s childhood home, where a found piece of red sea glass brings back the story of a long-ago red vase.

Anne Wescott Dodd, visiting associate professor of education, and Jean L. Konzal, Making Our High Schools Better: How Parents and Teachers Can Work Together. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999, 276 pages. Beyond acknowledging the deep chasm between what parents want education to provide for their children and what teachers must provide for entire classrooms, the authors reveal how teachers and parents can better communicate and cooperate to help all children learn.

Lavina Dhingra Shankar, assistant professor of English, and Rajini Srikanth, editors, A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 1998, 268 pages. This well-received collection of essays about cultural identity among Americans whose roots are in the Indian subcontinent seeks to answer the questions, “What does it mean to be ‘South Asian’ in America?” and “How do South Asian Americans define themselves within Asian America?”

Shuhui Yang, associate professor of Chinese, Appropriation and Representation: Feng Menglong and the Chinese Vernacular Story. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1998, 187 pages. Yang examines how Feng Menglong (1574-1646), a member of the late Ming Dynasty literati class recognized as the most knowledgeable connoisseur of popular literature of his time, selected his stories and manipulated elements of both popular and literati cultures to elevate the vernacular story as a literary genre.

Books by alumni and faculty will be listed in this section if bibliographical information (author, title, publisher’s name and address, date of publication, number of pages, and a brief synopsis of the book’s contents) is received. A review copy of the book is always appreciated, which will be sent to the College’s Special Collections. Send to: Managing Editor, Bates Magazine, Bates College, 141 Nichols Street, Lewiston, Maine 04240.

Bates Books on the Web

Interested in buying one of the books mentioned in the Bates Bookshelf? Check out the College Store’s Web page at www.bates.edu/collegestore/.


Comments are closed.