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In Print

Mark Salzman ’82
Lying Awake
Alfred A. Knopf, $21

Consider this spiritual dilemma: You’re a cloistered nun, and after years of striving—and apparently failing—to feel close to God, you begin to have visions that inspire brilliant poetry. Your writing is published to great acclaim and helps the monastery with its finances. It becomes a far-reaching form of ministry, and the Vatican invites you to take part in special ceremonies. But the visions are accompanied by severe headaches, and these turn out to be caused by a brain tumor that causes temporal lobe epilepsy. Surgery offers a cure, but at a tremendous cost—your literary connection to the Lord.

Many gifted writers, artists, and mystics—Tennyson, Proust, Van Gogh, Saint Paul, and Saint Teresa of Avila, among them—may have suffered from this disorder, whose symptoms include an outpouring of writing and an obsessive interest in religion. And as Sister John of the Cross, the cloistered Carmelite nun who is the protagonist of Mark Salzman’s spare and powerful novel, ponders what appears to be a choice between surgery and salvation, she thinks about Dostoevsky, a known epileptic. “If [he] had been given the option of treatment, would he have taken it? Should he have?” she wonders, trying to figure out “how to tell the difference between genuine spiritual experiences and false ones.”

While Sister John wrestles with these issues, she is joined on a long night of decision-making by her fellow nuns in a touching display of solidarity. “A sister might feel lost, but she was never alone,” says the nun. In prose rich with the eloquence of monastery silence, Salzman offers a meditation on the meaning of community and service and the nature of faith.


Richard Benson, Dean of the School of Art
A Yale Album: The Third Century
Yale University Press, $39.95

As a photographer and art school dean, Richard Benson has a special perspective on the University’s history. And he brings it to bear in his selection of images for his illustrated tour of Yale over the past century on the occasion of its Tercentennial. Benson notes that “Yale entered the 20th century as a small college . but the tremendous growth of the past 100 years has transformed it into one of the world’s great universities.”

Benson mined the archives for photographs and wrote an engaging commentary for the images. His text is accompanied by contributions from President Richard Levin, Provost Alison Richard, art historian Jules Prown, and others."We enter Yale’s fourth century with confidence and commitment,” writes President Levin in an essay at the end of the book. The history Benson has presented in both pictures and words shows that Levin has a solid foundation on which to build.


Carl Zimmer ’87
Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature’s Most Dangerous Creatures
Free Press/Simon & Schuster, $26

Parasites have long been the Rodney Dangerfields of the natural world. Not only did the myriad varieties of animals and plants that make their biological livings off of other animals and plants get scant respect, they were also seen as “a grave warning for humans,” says Carl Zimmer. Biologists and theologians alike noted that instead of evolving towards a higher plane, parasites were “the sine qua non of degenerates.”

But in this examination of the often remarkable lifestyles of the parasitic and the infamous, Zimmer shows that a new viewpoint has emerged. “A parasite lives in a delicate competition with its host for the host’s own flesh and blood,” he writes. In profiling such creatures as zombifying fungi and castrating barnacles, along with the scientists who study them, the author reveals how this balance has been struck over time and what it has meant for the evolution of species.

Zimmer explains how organisms like blood flukes, tapeworms, and the protozoan that causes malaria manage to elude the body’s inner defenses, colonize “the most hostile habitats nature has to offer,” and evolve “beautifully intricate adaptations in the process.” Especially intriguing is his account of recent research that demonstrates how parasites can actually manipulate the behavior—even the anatomy—of their hosts to do their bidding.

“Parasites have probably been driving the evolution of their hosts since the dawn of life itself,” says Zimmer, adding that they might in fact be necessary for good ecological health. In confronting the uneasy relationship between humans and the planet—itself a kind of parasitism—there’s a lesson. “If we want to succeed as parasites, we need to learn from the masters,” he writes.


Wilbur Cross ’41
Disaster at the Pole: The Tragedy of the Airship Italia and the 1928 Nobile Expedition to the North Pole
Lyons Press, $24.95

In Disaster at the Pole, Wilbur Cross has added to the annals of Arctic exploration an epic of tragic adventure that brings to life General Umberto Nobile’s ill-fated polar expedition of 1928. As well as providing a compelling account of the dangers of aeronautic exploration, Cross illuminates the political and scientific rivalries that dominated the enterprise, notably those arising from the rising Fascist government in Italy.

In 1926, in the dirigible Norge commissioned by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, Nobile had achieved a historic flight over the Pole—only three days after Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennet had crossed the Pole by airplane. Encouraged by this success, the general, a pioneering aeronautical engineer, designed the Italia, an improved lighter-than-air craft, and planned a new scientific expedition to the Arctic. Well aware of the perils of his undertaking, Nobile sought to surpass the achievement of simply crossing the Pole. His goal was to land scientists to conduct research on the ground—not only at the Pole, but also along the Siberian Coast, in Greenland, and at other points never before visited by modern Europeans.

Heavily burdened with supplies and a crew of 20, the Italia set off from Milan on April 15, 1928. The flight to its base at Kings Bay in Spitsbergen, Norway, itself an amazing feat, was achieved on May 6, 1928. After repairs and two preliminary jaunts—including a 69-hour, 2,500-mile flight to Nicholas II Land and back—the Italia set off for the Pole in the predawn hours of May 23rd. The airship would never return.

Wilbur Cross has produced a remarkably detailed account of an important chapter of Arctic exploration. Disaster at the Pole tells a story of passionate science, courage, tragedy, and survival.


Brief Reviews

John R. Bockstoce ’66
Arctic Discoveries: Images from Voyages of Four Decades in the North
The History Bank/University of Washington Press, $29.95
Arctic historian, archeologist, sailor, and member of a native whaling crew John Bockstoce has explored the north from Alaska to Greenland. In a book with considerable appeal for travelers, he recounts his adventures.


Barnaby Conrad ’75
Mark Stock: Paintings
Metropolitan Books, $45
Painter, set designer, and part-time drummer Mark Stock blends art and intrigue in work that moves “somewhere between gorgeous dreamscape and forties movie still.” Conrad explores the development of this “emotional alchemist.”


Laura A. Corio, MD, and Linda G. Kahn ’89
The Change Before the Change: Everything You Need to Stay Healthy in the Decade Before Menopause
Bantam Books/Random House, $24.95
The authors provide a thorough “owner’s manual” that explains what to expect in perimenopause and how to deal with a changing body.


Michael DiGiacomo ’68
Apparently Unharmed: Riders of the Cresta Run
Texere, $22.95
The Cresta Run in St. Moritz, Switzerland, is a three-quarter mile ice-covered track with a vertical drop of 514 feet that intrepid riders attempt to navigate on the high-tech equivalent of Flexible Flyers that reach 80 mph. Cresta veteran DiGiacomo takes readers downhill. Fast.


David L. Katz MD, ’93MPH
Nutrition in Clinical Practice
Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, $42.95
In a book geared to the physician but accessible by the general public, Katz, who heads Yale’s prevention research center, offers a level-headed examination of nutrition’s role in human health.


William Zinsser
Mitchell and Ruff: An American Portrait in Jazz
Paul Dry Books, $14.95
When William Zinsser was master of Branford College in the 1970s, he met Music School professor Willie Ruff and his sidekick, Dwike Mitchell, two of the finest jazz musicians in the country. Zinsser tells their story.


More Books by Yale Authors

T. D. Seymour Bassett ’35
The God of the Hills: Piety and Society in Nineteenth-Century Vermont
Vermont Historical Society Press,$26.95

John R. Bockstoce ’66
Arctic Discoveries: Images from Voyages of Four Decades in the North
The History Bank/University of Washington Press, $29.95

Brent C. Bolin ’62, ’68MArch
Architectural Ornament: Banishment and Return
W.W. Norton, $26.95

William G. Bowen ’72LLDH and James L. Shulman ’87, ’93PhD
The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values
Princeton University Press, $27.95

Jeff Carlson and Glenn Fleishman ’90
Real World Adobe GoLive 5
Peach Pit Press, $44.99

Thurston Clarke ’66
Searching for Crusoe: A Journey Among the Last Real Islands
Ballantine Books, $24.95

Jane Dailey ’87
Before Jim Crow: The Politics of Race in Postemancipation Virginia
University of North Carolina Press, $39.95

Melissa Jayne Fawcett
Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon ’94DHL
University of Arizona Press, $35

Karla Gottlieb ’88
The Mother of Us All: A History of Queen Nanny, Leader of the Windward Jamaican Maroons
African World Press, $16.95

Paul Kane ’84
Drowned Lands
University of South Carolina Press, $15.95

C. Brian Kelly ’57
Best Little Ironies, Oddities, and Mysteries of the Civil War
Cumberland House, $14.95

David Kessler, Dean of the Yale School of Medicine
A Question of Intent: A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry
PublicAffairs, $27.50

Janice R. Levine ’76 and Howard J. Markham, Editors
Why Do Fools Fall in Love? Experiencing the Magic, the Mystery, and Meaning of Successful Relationships
Jossey-Bass, $19.95

Paul Lussier ’81
Last Refuge of Scoundrel
Warner Books, $26.95

Townsend Ludington ’57, Editor
A Modern Mosaic: Art and Modernism in the United States
University of North Carolina Press, $59.95

Aaron L. Mackler ’80, Editor
Life and Death Responsibilities in Jewish Biomedical Ethics
Jewish Theological Seminary Press, $40

Caitlin Macy ’92
The Fundamentals of Play
Random House,$24.95

Charles Martin ’74, ’88PhD
Hybrid Media Project, $12

Archer Mayor ’73
The Marble Mask
Mysterious Press, $23.95

Mark A. McIntosh ’82
Christology from Within: Spirituality and the Incarnation in Hans Urs von Balthasar
Notre Dame Press, $18

Dana Milbank ’90
Smashmouth: Two Years in the Gutter with Al Gore and George W. Bush
Basic Books, $25

David Nadal ’95MMus, Editor and Transcriber
Lute Songs of John Dowland
Dover Publications, $11.95

David Nadal ’95MMus, Editor and Transcriber
Easy Classics for Guitar
Dover Publications, $9.95

David Nadal ’95MMus, Editor and Transcriber
Guitar Classics: Works by Albeniz, Bach, Dowland, Granados, Scarlatti, Sor, and Other Great Composers
Dover Publications, $12.95

Susan Naquin ’74PhD, Editor
Peking: Temples and City Life, 1400–1900
University of California Press, $80

Vincent Pitts ’69
La Grande Mademoiselle at the Court of France, 1627–1693
Johns Hopkins University Press, $42

Rachel Seidman ’95PhD
The Civil War: A History in Documents
Oxford University Press, $30

Jonathan Stone ’78
The Heat of Lies
St. Martin’s/Minotaur, $23.95

Kim Todd ’92
Tinkering with Eden: A Natural History of Exotics in America
W.W. Norton, $27.95

Shelby Tucker ’57
Among Insurgents: Walking through Burma
St. Martin’s Press, $29.95

Stephen G. Waxman, Chairman, Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine
Form and Function in the Brain and Spinal Cord: Perspectives of a Neurologist
MIT Press, $39.95

Myrna M. Weissman ’74PhD, Editor
Treatment of Depression: Bridging the 21st Century
American Psychiatric Press, $64

Allan M. Winkler ’74PhD
The Cold War: A History in Documents
Oxford University Press, $30

Tom Wolfe ’57PhD
Hooking Up
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $25



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