Shelf Life

Note: Prices quoted are list prices. Many of these titles are available as e-books.


Motherland, Maria Hummel; Counterpoint, 2014; $26.

Complicity and compassion entwine in this narrative about a family of Mitläufer, Germans who acquiesced to Nazism, often for self-preservation. As Allied forces attack and refugees inundate the town of Hannesburg, a young mother works to keep her stepsons safe and fed during the final days of World War II. Hummel, a former Stegner fellow (2005-07) and a lecturer in the English department, drew on her father's stories of his childhood in Germany to bring to light the uneasy existence of those who initially benefited from, and then suffered for, their compliance with the Third Reich.

West Without Water

The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow B. LYNN INGRAM, PhD '92, AND FRANCES MALAMUD-ROAM; University of California Press, 2013; $29.95.

Could California run dry? As the West endures its driest year on record, having enough freshwater isn't a given—nor has it ever been, despite society's efforts to conserve and control it. Ingram and Malamud-Roam share how climate change has historically parched the landscape of the West and will lead to extreme water crises in the not-so-far future. Their foresight makes a compelling case for reducing our water footprint.

JIm Crow Wisdom

Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory & Identity in Black America Since 1940, JONATHAN SCOTT HOLLOWAY, '89; University of North Carolina Press, 2013; $39.95.

Self-editing and communal forgetfulness be damned: Families should share their tales of hard times and pain as openly as their success stories, Holloway says. With a scholarly perspective, the historian engages with his own family lore and makes a fair amount of self-discovery in this exploration of modern black identity.

Frances Willis

Frances Elizabeth Willis: Up the Foreign Service Ladder to the Summit—Despite the Limitations of Her Sex, NICHOLAS J. WILLIS, '56; self-published, $24.95.

Willis, '20, PhD '23, was the first woman to forge a career in the U.S. Foreign Service and its first female career ambassador, serving in Switzerland, Norway and Ceylon. When the U.S. Postal Service memorialized six distinguished diplomats in 2006, she was one. But, as the author recounts, his aunt's advancement was often obstructed by sexism.

Sex After...

Sex After…: Women Share How Intimacy Changes as Life Changes, IRIS KRASNOW, '76; Gotham Books, 2014.

As we weather a "hookup culture," marriage, divorce, illness or injury, what happens to our sexuality? With a no-questions-barred approach, Krasnow interviewed 150 women of all ages for this guide, hoping to dispel "any scary mythology about what a woman could encounter" in her life. The result honors the magic and resilience of passion.


Orfeo, RICHARD POWERS; W.W. Norton, 2014; $26.95.

Former composer Peter Els makes an emergency phone call and ends up a fugitive in this masterpiece by Powers, a professor in the English department. Els's genetic experiments combining his two great loves, music and chemistry, catch the eye of Homeland Security—and the Internet, eager to track the "Biohacker Bach." On the lam, he revisits his past, immersed in memories of what his obsessions have cost him. His journey reaches a crescendo as he comes face to face with his greatest composition.

We’re broadening our Shelf Life section to include Stanford-connected music and film. Let us know if you have something creative in the pipeline, and we’ll consider featuring it in a future issue of the magazine, in print, online or both.

The following did not appear in the print version of Stanford.



A Song Just for Me

A Song Just for Me, MARY KIKI WILCOX, PhD ’72; Fithian Press, $12.

My Century

My Century, EPHRAIM P. ENGLEMAN, ’33; self-published, $19.95.

Showdown at Shinagawa

Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil, BILL ZARCHY, MA ’73; Roving Camera Press, $14.95.

Fire and Forge

Fire and Forge: A Desert Railroad, a Wonder Metal, and the Making of an Aerospace Blacksmith, KATHLEEN L. HOUSLEY with HARRY ROSENBERG, ’55, MS ’56, PhD ’71; iUniverse, $23.95.

Benjamin Ferencz

Benjamin Ferencz, Nuremberg Prosecutor and Peace Advocate, TOM HOFMANN, ’60, MS ’61; McFarland, $45.

American Letters

American Letters from Khrushchev’s Russia: Surprising Impressions of Life Behind the Iron Curtain 1961-62, DOUGLAS M. BOWDEN, MD ’65; self-published, $17.95.

Dispatches from the Eastern Front

Dispatches from the Eastern Front: A Political Education from the Nixon Years to the Age of Obama, GERALD FELIX WARBURG, MA ’79; Bancroft Press, $25.

Current Affairs

Changing Minds

Changing Minds, If Not Hearts: Political Remedies for Racial Conflict, JAMES M. GLASER, ’83, and Timothy J. Ryan; U. of Pennsylvania Press, $59.95.

Malignant How Cancer Becomes Us

Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us, S. LOCHLANN JAIN, associate professor of anthropology; U-C Press; $24.95.


Lying, SAM HARRIS, ’89; Four Elephants Press, $16.99.


Legal Orientalism

Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law, TEEMU RUSKOLA, ’90, MA ’99; Harvard University Press, $39.95.

Trees in Paradise

Trees in Paradise: A California History, JARED FARMER, PhD ’05; Norton, $35.

The New Deal

The New Deal & Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry, GORDON LLOYD and Hoover research fellow DAVID DAVENPORT, ’72; Hoover Institution Press, $19.95.

Washington Brotherhood

Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War, RACHEL A. SHELDEN, ’03; U. of North Carolina Press, $34.95.

Revolution with a Human Face

Revolution with a Human Face: Politics, Culture, and Community in Czechoslovakia, 1989-1992, JAMES KRAPFL, ’95; Cornell U. Press, $45.

Art from a Fractured Past

Art from a Fractured Past: Memory and Truth-Telling in Post-Shining Path Peru, CYNTHIA E. MILTON, MA ’94; Duke U. Press, $24.95.

A Constitution for All Times

A Constitution for All Times, PAMELA S. KARLAN, Stanford Law School professor; MIT Press, $14.95.

Desperate Magic

Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia, VALERIE KIVELSON, MA ’83, PhD ’88; Cornell U. Press, $27.95.

Dreamland of Humanists

Dreamland of Humanists: Warburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School, EMILY J. LEVINE, MA ’05, PhD ’08; U. of Chicago Press, $45.

Jaune Quick to See Smith

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: An American Modernist, CAROLYN KASTNER, PhD ’99; U. of New Mexico Press, $39.95.

Everyone to Skis

Everyone to Skis! Skiing in Russia and the Rise of the Soviet Biathlon, WILLIAM D. FRANK, ’74, MA ’75; Northern Illinois U. Press, $39.95.


Quantum Mechanics

Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum, LEONARD SUSSKIND, physics professor, and Art Friedman; Basic Books, $26.99.

Sex Itself

Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome, SARAH S. RICHARDSON, MA ’06, PhD ’09; U. of Chicago Press, $45.00.

Working on Mars

Working on Mars: Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers, WILLIAM J. CLANCEY, PhD ’79; The MIT Press, $29.95.


Notes to a New Teacher

Notes to a New Teacher: A Not-for-Dummies Guide for Beginning Teachers, DANA DUNNAN, MA ’74; self-published, $7.19.


Valuing Intellectual Capital

Valuing Intellectual Capital: Multinationals and Tax Havens, GIO WIEDERHOLD, professor emeritus, computer science; Springer Verlag, $129.

Evolving Roles of Sovereign

Evolving Roles of Sovereign Wealth Managers After the Financial Crisis: Past, Present and Future, BERNARD LEE, MS ’92; World Scientific Publishing, $45.

Scaling Up Excellence

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less, ROBERT I. SUTTON, professor in management science and engineering, and HUGGY RAO, professor of organizational behavior; Crown Business, $26.00.

The Star Factor

The Star Factor: Discover What Your Top Performers Do Differently—and Inspire a New Level of Greatness in All, WILLIAM SEIDMAN, PhD ’87, and Richard Grbavac; AMACOM, $25.


Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching: The Inner Journey, PETER FRENTZEL, ’60; Mahodara Press, $8.95.

Freedom and Dialogue

Freedom and Dialogue in a Polarized World, SHARON SCHUMAN, ’67; U. of Delaware Press, $80.



Goat Mountain

Goat Mountain, DAVID VANN, ’90; Harper, $25.99.

After Dad

After Dad, RALPH COHEN, ’75; Tattersall Press, $16.95.

All Beautiful Things

All Beautiful Things, NICKI SALCEDO, ’96; Bell Bridge Books, $12.95.

Middle School-level and up

Paws in the Pizza

Paws in the Piazza, JERILYN McINTYRE, ’64, MA ’65; Bristlecone Peak, $6.99.


Brotherhood, A.B. WESTRICK, ’78; Viking, $17.99.


Charming Gardeners

Charming Gardeners, DAVID BIESPIEL, Stegner Fellow 1993-95; U. of Washington Press, $25.95.