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The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, Jacqueline Novogratz, MBA ’91; Rodale, $24.95.

The founder of the Acumen Fund, a “venture capital fund for the poor,” Novogratz works to incorporate entrepreneurship and capitalist rigor into international philanthropy. She takes her title from a garment she discarded as a teen in Virginia. Many years—and who knows how many owners—later, she was a tyro do-gooder in Rwanda and saw the sweater being worn by a boy in Kigali. Novogratz describes the many cultural thickets that can engulf development projects; her most heartbreaking stories involve African colleagues in Rwanda, before and after the genocide.

Biotech: The Countercultural Origins of an Industry

Biotech: The Countercultural Origins of an Industry, Eric J. Vettel, ’88, MA ’97; U. of Pennsylvania Press, $19.95.

Vettel, who is executive director of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, believes Silicon Valley was singularly suited to be the cradle of the multibillion-dollar biotech industry. Biological science emerging from three major universities (Stanford, UC-Berkeley and UCSF), skyrocketing government support for research in the postwar era, cultural activism in the ’60s and ’70s, and the rise of venture capitalists combine in this energetic history.

The Bus Kids: Children’s Experiences with Voluntary Desegregation

The Bus Kids: Children’s Experiences with Voluntary Desegregation, Ira W. Lit, ’90, MA ’91, PhD ’04; Yale U. Press, $15.

In the South Bay city he dubs Arbor Town, Lit immerses himself in a desegregation effort that bused minority children to a high-performing school in an affluent neighborhood. The kindergarteners he observed and befriended arrived each morning already stressed by a bullying culture on the bus. They then struggled all day in myriad small ways to adapt to a classroom where the other children felt much more at ease.

La Clínica: A Doctor’s Journey Across Borders

La Clínica: A Doctor’s Journey Across Borders, David P. Sklar, ’72, MD ’76; U of New Mexico Press, $26.95

Sklar practiced medicine even before he enrolled in med school—as a volunteer in a remote Mexican clinic. The place was run by a humanitarian whose skills kept many from noticing the celebrated man’s feet of clay. Decades later, Sklar, a successful ER physician whose marriage was falling apart, made plans to revisit Mexico. His memoir examines his search for professional fulfillment on both sides of the border. Sklar is an associate dean at the U. of New Mexico School of Medicine.

Facing Fear: Cancer and Politics, Courage and Hope

Facing Fear: Cancer and Politics, Courage and Hope, Judith Strasser, MA ’70; Borderland Books, $19.95.

After 9-11, Strasser, a former public radio journalist, embarked on a book about the political uses and abuses of fear. The topic had long interested her because in 1985 a friend and his family had been murdered in their home on Christmas Eve by a disciple of anticommunist conspiracies. While doing research, Strasser learned that she had stomach cancer. This thoughtful work—a complex meditation on emotion, rationality and coping—was completed before her death in January.

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