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Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age
Chris Hables Gray, ’75
Routledge, 2001
$28 (politics)

Almost all of us are cyborgs, or technologically modified human bodies, Gray asserts. (Think of contact lenses and measles vaccine at one end of the scale, pacemakers and Christopher Reeve’s life-support apparatus at the other.) The Internet has changed us as a society, and bioengineering promises still more alterations. Gray, a cyberculture specialist who teaches at Montana’s University of Great Falls, urges debate on how laws must evolve accordingly. His work is itself cyborglike: the book gives the basics of Gray’s argument, referring readers to a website (www.routledge-ny.com/CyborgCitizen) for what he calls “enough academic language and references to choke a horse.”

   

A Life Without Consequences
Stephen Elliott MacAdam/Cage Publishing, 2001
$25 (novel)

In his epigraph, Elliott writes: “Names have not been changed to protect the innocent. There are no innocent.” He should know. At 13, Elliott ran away and lived on the streets of Chicago for a year before becoming a ward of the court. Now a Stegner fellow at Stanford, he chronicles the life of a tough 14-year-old “urban nomad” who is beaten by his father and bounces from group home to group home.

   
A War in Dixie: Inside College Football’s Fiercest Rivalry
Ivan Maisel, ’81, and Kelly Whiteside
HarperCollins, 2001 $25.95 (sports)

Maisel, a veteran Sports Illustrated writer, and his co-author, a USA Today reporter, shadow players and coaches of intrastate football powers Auburn and Alabama as they prepare for their much-anticipated annual contest in November. The authors deconstruct the week leading up to the “Iron Bowl” and also describe a unique, colorful rivalry.

   

Seizing Amber
Jonathan Harris, ’84, JD ’87
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2001
$22 (fiction)

Philanthropist at heart, elite U.S. intelligence agent by trade, the protagonist of Harris’s debut novel, Isaiah Hawkins, will decide a crucial Russian presidential election with a gift: the magnificent Amber Room, a lost treasure of the czars. But first, Hawkins must go treasure hunting with a colorful cast of operatives—including a prestige-hungry historian, a lethal lover-spy and an obese blackmailer—each with motives more personal than professional.

   
Olga Rudge and Ezra Pound
Anne Conover, ’49, MA ’66
Yale University Press, 2001
$35; (biography/ literature)
Rudge, a concert violinist, first captured Pound’s attention with music. She later became his muse and companion for 50-odd years. Conover says Pound “was slow to acknowledge Olga’s importance in his life.” Yet Pound died holding hands with Rudge, and once wrote: “If anyone ever deserved the spring with all its beauty, she did.”
   
Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin
Michael McFaul, ‘86 Cornell, 2001
$35 (Russian politics)
The author, an assistant professor of political science at Stanford, traces Russia’s erratic path to democracy from 1985 through the 1999 election of Vladimir Putin. Drawing on his firsthand experiences in Moscow, including generous access to politicians, McFaul analyzes the failures of the early 1990s, and the more enduring progress made since 1993.
   
Deep Water
S.V. Date, ’85
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001
$23.95 (fiction)
Date pulls no punches in his send-up of a family-owned theme-park company (marquee character: Morty Muskrat) turned corporate conglomerate. When critics of the corporation start disappearing and the playground of planned community Serenity, Fla., falls into a sinkhole, a journalist and a company heir join forces to unravel a plot involving $380 Italian pumps, a vat of flesh-eating bacteria and a sheriff with a foot fetish.
   
Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students
Denise Clark Pope, ’88, PhD ’99
Yale University Press, 2001
$24.95 (education)
The author followed five “successful” students at a top-notch public high school, looking for signs of educational engagement. She didn’t find many. “The students are victims of what I call the ‘grade trap,’” Pope writes. “They feel bound by a narrow definition of success and resigned to a system in which ultimate satisfaction may not be attainable.”
   

The Distant Land of My Father
Bo Caldwell, ’77
Chronicle Press, 2001 $23.98 (fiction)

This first novel traces the on/off relationship of Anna Schoene and her father, Joseph, a shady businessman in 1930s and ’40s Shanghai. Charismatic but undependable, Joseph stays in China when the Japanese invasion forces Anna and her mother to go to the States. Years later, Anna finds his journals and comes to understand his behavior.

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