Shelf Life

What I Learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors
K.M. Takakuwa, Nick Rubashkin, MA '00, MD '01, Karen E. Herzig
UC Press, 2004

Twenty-two physicians relive their struggles with the notorious aspects of medical school: overwhelming volumes of information, rote learning and bell-curve grading, sleep deprivation, rigid protocol and a boot-camp atmosphere. Survival can be even harder for those who don’t fit central casting’s profile of a physician. Among these essayists, several from Stanford, are a single mother, a recovering alcoholic and students coping with poverty, chronic disease, learning disabilities and obesity. The editors offer specific recommendations for overhauling medical education to foster a more inclusive profession.

The Legacy

The Legacy of Maria Poveka Martinez
Richard L. Spivey, '58
Museum of New Mexico Press, 2003

Renowned Native American artist Maria Martinez and her husband, Julian, were instrumental in reviving Pueblo pottery in the early 20th century; they also invented black-on-black ware. Spivey, a lifelong collector and friend of the family, examines their lives and work, created over nearly seven decades, in this lavishly illustrated book with 198 four-color plates. Maria died in 1980, but her family continues the tradition in San Ildefonso, N.M.

Behind the Smile

Behind the Smile: The Working Lives of Caribbean Tourism
George Gmelch, '68
Indiana U. Press, 2003

Tourism is crucial to Caribbean economies—it accounts for half of Barbados’s GDP—but anthropologist Gmelch is most interested in how the influx of “guests” affects workers who staff the hotels, run the fishing trips and drive the taxis. The 20 locals whose oral histories he records have mostly positive feelings, reporting that encounters with tourists expand their horizons despite incidents of racism and concerns about overdevelopment.

Civic Revolutionaries

Civic Revolutionaries: Igniting the Passion for Change in America's Communities
D. Henton, John Melville, '82, K. Walesh
Jossey-Bass, 2004

Inspired by the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the public service of the late John W. Gardner, ’33, MA ’36, the authors offer a blueprint for creating successful grassroots movements to solve community and regional problems. They discuss specific examples in cities from Atlanta to Seattle to draw up guidelines for reconciling such competing values as individualism and collectivism, change and continuity, idealism and pragmatism.

Squeeze Play

Squeeze Play in Beantown
G.S. Rowe, MA '60, PhD '69
Pocol Press, 2004

The author is a history professor and Society for American Baseball Research stalwart who brings both interests to his fictional Will Beaman Baseball Mystery books. This is the second in the series, set in 1890s Boston, which follows the fortunes of a feisty young baseball fan with a penchant for sleuthing. Rowe weaves real people and events—Honey Fitz, Emma Goldman and the Boston Beaneaters’ 1897 National League pennant win—into the plot.

A Fist

A Fist in the Hornet's Nest: On the Ground in Baghdad Before, During and After the War
Richard Engel, '96
Hyperion, 2003

“I’ve long believed . . . if proverbial ‘doors’ don’t open, it’s best to kick them down,” Engel writes, explaining how he became a foreign correspondent on his own steam. After graduation, he mastered Arabic on the streets of Cairo and freelanced in Jerusalem. As war loomed, he entered Iraq posing as a peace activist, then reported unembedded for ABC. He is now NBC’s man in Baghdad.

Birth of the Chess Queen

Birth of the Chess Queen: A History
Marilyn Yalom
HarperCollins, 2004

Her chance viewing of a 14th-century chess piece led Yalom, a senior scholar at Stanford’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, to investigate the relationship between the game and its historical milieus. She links the evolution of the queen, which replaced the male Islamic vizier after chess arrived in Europe, to the growing power of women in medieval royal courts, to romanticism and to the cult of the Virgin Mary.

Darwin's Law

Darwin's Law
Elaine Hatfield, PhD '62, Richard L. Rapson
Xlibris, 2003

Consider this novel a beach book for academics. Its story includes torrid sex, anthropological fieldwork in French Guiana, and the soul-searching of a woman torn between duty to her tyrannical mentor/husband and newfound love with his underling. The authors are married and have published two other novels together. Both teach at the University of Hawaii, Hatfield in psychology and Rapson, a former Stanford professor, in history.


Possessions: The History and uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley
Judith Richardson
Harvard U. Press, 2003

What do ghost stories have to do with real life? In her exhaustive study of the disproportionate number of spooky narratives emanating from the Hudson River Valley in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Stanford English lecturer links them with the region’s long history of territorial conflict and dispossession. Hauntings are a kind of social memory, Richardson argues, serving the needs of those who conjure them.