Tag Archive for alumni books

Prager ’84 on “Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime”

Dr. Ellen Prager '84 / Rodrigo Varela - University of Chicago Press

Marine scientist and educator Ellen Prager ’84 is the author of Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans’ Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter, just published by University of Chicago Press.

She introduces the reader to a variety of fascinating and often strange creatures that live in the depths of the ocean—from tiny but voracious arrow worms whose rapacious ways may lead to death by overeating, to the lobsters that battle rivals or seduce mates with their urine, to the sea’s masters of disguise, the octopuses. Prager examines the ways these sea inhabitants interact as predators, prey, or potential mates. Her book elucidates the crucial connections between life in the ocean and humankind, in everything from our food supply to our economy, and in drug discovery, biomedical research and popular culture.

Prager recently talked about her book on NPR’s Fresh Air, and she revealed the dangers of antagonizing a hagfish.

Peabody ’91 Edits New Study of Judicial Independence



Book edited by Bruce Peabody ’91



Bruce Peabody ’91, a constitutional law scholar at Fairleigh Dickinson University, is the editor and one of the authors of The Politics of Judicial Independence (Johns Hopkins University Press), a new volume that gathers together a range of scholars and experts to chart and explore the importance of criticisms of courts and judges—in the United States and abroad.

While contributors consider attacks against the judiciary over the past four decades, several of them are especially interested in court critiques (and their implications for judicial independence) in the 21st century. The judiciary in the United States has been subject in recent years to increasingly vocal, aggressive criticism by media members, activists, and public officials at the federal, state, and local level.

This collection probes whether these attacks as well as proposals for reform represent threats to judicial independence or the normal, even healthy, operation of our political system.

Book by Galer ’83 Suggests ways to Fight Chronic Pain



Book by Bradley Galer '83, M.D.



Bradley Galer ’83, M.D., and Charles Argoff, M.D., are the authors of Defeat Chronic Pain Now! (Fair Winds Press), a survival guide to preventing, reversing, and managing chronic pain. Galer and Argoff present hidden and little known causes of common chronic pain conditions, how to avoid misdiagnosis, and the latest treatments under development including:

Myofascial Dysfunction: The real (undiagnosed!) culprit in 90 percent of back and neck pain;

DMARDS and NSAIDS: Two breakthrough drugs that promise significant relief for arthritis;

Nutraceuticals: The natural wonder treatment for peripheral neuropathy;

Focal heat trigger-point (FHTP) therapy: The new drug-free approach to migraine relief.

This helpful volume provides the latest information on surgical options, new medications, complementary therapies, and psychological interventions that can be used to rewire the body for pain relief. For each condition and procedure, the authors share what to expect in the hospital and the doctor’s office, and what self-therapy solutions individuals can do on their own. Detailed illustrations and easy-to-understand descriptions help readers select the best treatment options to improve their unique type of pain.

Galer is a co-founder of the American Academy of Neurology Pain Medicine Special Interest Group.

Biography by Kaplan ’73 Covers Early Life of Frank Sinatra

James Kaplan '73 (Photo by Erinn Hartman)

James Kaplan '73 (Photo by Erinn Hartman)

Best-selling author James Kaplan ’73 has written an acclaimed new biography, Frank: The Voice (Doubleday), about the early life of one of America’s best known American singers and entertainers of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra, from the years 1915 through 1954. Kaplan reveals how Sinatra helped to make the act of listening to pop music a more personal experience to his fans than it had ever been before.

Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times recently chose Kaplan’s book as one of her Top 10 Books of 2010. In her review in the Times, she wrote that Kaplan “has produced a book that has all the emotional detail and narrative momentum of a novel.  …  In recounting his subject’s rise and fall and rise again — all before the age of 40 — Mr. Kaplan gives us a wonderfully vivid feel for the worlds Sinatra traversed, from Hoboken and New York to Hollywood and Las Vegas, as well as the rapidly shifting tastes in music that shaped him and were later shaped by him.”

Stephen Holden also wrote a feature in The New York Times praising Kaplan’s work and said: “The book does music history a huge favor by reminding us that from his days with Tommy Dorsey to the twilight of his Columbia years, Sinatra was a singularly incandescent vocal phenomenon.”

Novel by Peterson ’85 Explores Turmoil in 1950s Tibet

Jeanne Peterson ’85

Jeanne Peterson ’85 has written a new novel, Falling to Heaven (St. Martin’s Press), the story of two American Quakers who trek into Tibet in 1954.

In this work of historical fiction, Emma and Gerald Kittredge leave their secure Quaker community and travel to the Tibetan city of Shigatse where they soon find companionship with their neighbors, Dorje and Rinchen, and their small family. But the arrival of Maoist soldiers shatters these characters’ quiet life. Gerald is captured by the soldiers, leaving a pregnant Emma facing an agonizing decision: flee Tibet or stay and risk imprisonment herself. Dorje and Rinchen are her only allies, but their lives are also thrown into turmoil when their son abandons the sanctuary of his monastery to fight in the resistance. Told in three distinct voices rich in their respective spiritual traditions, Peterson’s novel is ultimately about losing and rediscovering faith.

Book by Jeanne Peterson ’85

When asked how she came to write Falling to Heaven, Peterson responded:

“I can only say that the book first came out of the creative ether. By this I mean that the seed for the book came out of my pen one day as I was free-writing. I was rather astonished by what emerged, because I’d had no plans to write a piece of historical fiction about the invasion of Tibet by the communist Chinese! Although I hadn’t planned to write the story when I began, the story was certainly shaped by my years of experience working as a psychologist with survivors of torture and communist reeducation from various parts of Asia, which gave me an unusually intimate knowledge of both torture methods and the trauma they cause. After my initial realization of what the story might be, I began to research Tibet and Chinese communism assiduously, and the historical research then provided the plot elements that make the story authentic.”

Peterson is a clinical psychologist who worked for years with survivors of torture and communist reeducation from all over Asia. In her free time she facilitates an advanced writing group in San Diego, Calif. where she lives with her two sons.

Novel by Kudera ’91 Traces an Adjunct Professor’s Eventful Day

Book by Alex Kudera ’91

Alex Kudera ’91 has published a new satiric novel, Fight for Your Long Day (Atticus Books), which takes the reader into the secret life of an adjunct college professor, Cyrus “Duffy” Duffleman who has to travel to four universities a day in Philadephia to teach.

Duffy can barely afford his two-room apartment and would be thrilled to have health insurance. Then one day, Duffy’s teaching routine changes when his first class is interrupted by the cryptic mumblings of a possibly psychotic student. Next he encounters a bow-and-arrow assassination. His long day continues downhill from there as he attempts to maintain his sanity and safety.

Kudera is a native Philadelphian who comes from a family of educators. After surviving a decade of adjunct teaching overloads, he now teaches literature and writing at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Silverstein ’82 Chronicles White House Garden in New Book

Book by Clara Silverstein '82

Clara Silverstein ’82 is the author of A White House Garden Cookbook
published by Red Rock Press, 2010.

When Michelle Obama decided to turn a chunk of White House lawn into a vegetable patch, she was cheered by parents who want their kids to eat better and Americans who want to have a hand in growing their own food. This book chronicles the first year of this famous garden, with its many dozens of vegetables and herbs, including descendants of seeds planted by Thomas Jefferson; its berries and the honey from the hives of First Family bees. Filled with ideas to get children excited about eating and cooking locally grown vegetables, this cookbook also makes it fun to plan easy, healthy family meals. Recipes come from White Houses past and present as well as the community gardens that are inspiring children nationwide.

Silverstein visited the White House twice to see Michelle Obama working in the garden with schoolchildren.

Silverstein ’82 also is the author of The Boston Chef’s Table and co-author of The New England Soup Factory Cookbook, a top selling soup title on amazon.com. She has published articles in The Boston Globe, Prevention, and Runner’s World, and she directs the Chautauqua Writers’ Center.