Books, Etc.

How Green Was Their Valley

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age, Leslie Berlin, MA ’94, PhD ’01; Simon & Schuster. Berlin, project historian for Stanford’s Silicon Valley Archives, reminds us why we can’t take our eyes off the place. In a sense, Troublemakers is the story of the new American dream: Driven to succeed, heroic individuals devote their blood, sweat, brains and tears to changing the world. Berlin channels the history of the Valley in the 1970s and early ’80s through seven men and women who flipped the switch on five industries, transporting readers to a time of intoxicating innovation. Not everyone knew what they were doing, but they knew it was going to be big.

Shelf Life - Dream

‘The kids don’t see beyond the dirt and sweat to the pain and embarrassment underneath. They don’t know the only thing I want to do right now is sit in a dark room where nobody will know I exist.’

—BOBBY WARSHAW, ’11, in When the Dream Became Reality: The Journey of a Professional Soccer Player, and the Push for Meaning, Purpose, and Contentment; The Athlete Story.

Shelf Life - Little Soldiers

Learning Curve

Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve, Lenora Chu, ’95; HarperCollins. When Chu learns that her elder son, Rainey, had been force-fed eggs at Shanghai’s prestigious Soong Qing Ling kindergarten, she is appalled. And as he becomes increasingly anxious and deferent, she worries that the school is stifling his creativity and joy. With a journalist’s eye, Chu evaluates the urban Chinese educational system against the American one she grew up in, and finds much that each could learn from the other. In the end, she sees that Soong Qing Ling has helped Rainey become confident and resilient, and regrets that her younger son will not have the same opportunity.

Shelf Life - Dog and Wolf

Between Dog and Wolf

There are times, at dusk,
when night has fallen
but the day won’t cede,
dogs roam with the pack
and still the driver races on
with the confidence
of daylight —
glances back
into the closing darkness,
then locks his grip and rides
the wheel, lured by the glow
of twilight’s third light
to buck danger, dodge fear.

The passengers are silent —
a breeze streams night’s chill,
the blade’s whir of traffic
cuts the air —
and still,
gunning, braced to hold
the lead, the driver plunges
headlong into shadows
lit by the eyes of wolves.

—DAVID HATHWELL, ’64, in Between Dog and Wolf: Poems;
David Robert Books.

Shelf Life - Cheating

Cheating: Ethics in Everyday Life, DEBORAH L. RHODE; Oxford U. Press. The costs of cheating are estimated at $1 trillion annually. And the downsides aren’t only financial; they also come in the form of lives lost, emotional pain and widespread inequality. Law professor Rhode explains the dangers of cheating and recommends interventions we can use to save ourselves from our own moral depravity.

Shelf Life - Squid

Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, DANNA STAAF, PhD ’10; ForeEdge. “Squid and octopuses are so weird it’s tempting to call them aliens,” writes Staaf, a biologist who specializes in invertebrates. The book, a quirky and often tantalizing read, dives into “the world of the head-footed.” One fun fact: These creatures with tentacular noggins have the most highly developed nervous system of all invertebrates.

Shelf Life - Watergate

The Watergate: Inside America’s Most Infamous Address, JOSEPH RODOTA, ’82; William Morrow. The storied symbol of the scandal that sank Nixon’s presidency was also a bustling social center for its residents. If its walls could talk, these are the stories they’d tell — including New Year’s Eve with justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, as well as Sen. Bob Dole’s doughnut delivery to reporters clamoring for his beleaguered neighbor Monica Lewinsky.

Shelf Life - Enviromedics

Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health, JAY LEMERY and PAUL AUERBACH, MS ’89; Rowman & Littlefield. Heat waves bring an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes; smoke from wildfires exacerbates asthma. It’s clear that climate change not only harms the landscape but also wreaks havoc on our health. Physicians Lemery and Auerbach share stories from the front lines of emergency medicine and discuss a better way forward.

Shelf Life - Everything

Everything Here Is Beautiful, MIRA T. LEE, ’92; Pamela Dorman Books. Lee’s debut novel explores the powerful bond between two sisters: Miranda, older and weighted with responsibility, and younger, free-spirited Lucia, who is living with schizophrenia. As the story unfolds, Lee reveals the complexities of loving a person whose actions are swayed by illness, as well as the continuous joys and difficulties of being that person.

Shelf Life - Democratic Faith

The Democratic Faith: Essays on Democratic Citizenship, PAUL M. SNIDERMAN; Yale U. Press. Political elites must save us from ourselves; we are too simple to make democracy work — or so presume many scholars. Political science professor Sniderman is not one of them. Americans can be impulsive and uninformed, he says, but they can and do make voting choices for good, relevant reasons, and that capability drives democracy forward.

Literary Set

Haline, Sundeep Ahuja, ’00; Forward Press.

High and Dry, William M. Alley, MS ’76, and Rosemarie Alley; Yale U. Press.

Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image, Mary Campbell, MA ’06, PhD ’10; U. of Chicago Press.

The Secret Code Menace, Pamela Cosman, MS ’89, PhD ’93; Ransom.

Ike’s Gamble, Michael Doran, ’87; Free Press.

Life at the Top, Kirk Henckels, ’74, and Anne Walker; Vendome.

Unsub, Meg Gardiner, ’79, JD ’82; Dutton.

A Deadly Eclair, Daryl Wood Gerber, ’74; Crooked Lane.

Meantime, Katharine Noel, Stegner fellow ’00–’02; Grove Atlantic.

Fulfilled, Anna Yusim, ’99; Grand Central.

Endangered City, Austin Zeiderman, MA ’12, PhD ’12; Duke U. Press.