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Shelf Life

WHO'LL WEAR THE PANTS IN THE CORNER OFFICES

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, HANNA ROSIN, '91; Riverhead Books, $27.95.

The latest tome in a provocative genre, The End of Men focuses on how women are faring comparatively better in the new economy. Rosin, a senior editor at The Atlantic and a founder of Slate's Double X women's section, provides excellent shoe-leather reporting on college campuses (where young women outnumber men and enjoy a hook-up culture that enables them to focus on achievement), factory towns (where wives rebound from downturns faster than husbands) and corporate offices (where those with "feminine side" skills are ascendant). Readers may find the author a bit too eager to sweep to her conclusions, but there's no denying the book is readable and intriguing.

 
Hold It 'Til It Hurts

Hold It 'Til It Hurts, T. GERONIMO JOHNSON; Coffee House Press, $15.95.

Fresh from active duty in "Goddamnistan" and reeling from his father's funeral and his brother's disappearance, Achilles Conroy makes his way to New Orleans—where hell is about to break loose in the form of Katrina. There's a lot happening in this novel by a 2004-06 Stegner fellow, and not the least of it is a sympathetic (and deliberately Homeric) portrayal of returning soldiers and a clear-eyed look at how race and privilege complicate so much of American experience.

Ukulele

The 'Ukulele: A History, JIM TRANQUADA,'79, and JOHN KING; University of Hawai'i Press, $20.99.

Only four strings but so much history. Tranquada, a writer who's descended from a ukulele pioneer, and the late King, a master instrumentalist, describe how a tiny Portuguese guitar morphed into a Hawaiian icon. Reaction to the ukulele has long alternated between dismissive disdain and unbridled affection. Scanning the index—Liliuokalani, Godfrey, Tiny Tim, Mattel, Shimabukuro, Sousa, Buffett (Warren, not Jimmy)—can set one to swaying like a palm in a hurricane.

Lebanese Connection

The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War, and the International Drug Traffic, JONATHAN V. MARSHALL, '76; Stanford U. Press, $35.

An independent scholar offers his detailed examination of how Lebanon in the mid-1970s "provided a frightening illustration of how quickly modern civilization can descend into barbarism." Drug trafficking corrupted the government so thoroughly that hashish became "the petroleum of Lebanon," and neighboring countries worked to destabilize the country at every turn.

Getting to Bartlett Street

Getting to Bartlett Street: Our 25-Year Quest to Level the Playing Field in Education, JOE, MBA '60, and CAROL REICH; February Books, $24.95.

Creators of a 20-year-old charter school in Brooklyn and founders of the Beginning With Children Foundation, the Reiches have invested their energies and philanthropy in a crusade for educational equality within public schools. Joe, founder of an investment firm, and Carol, an educator for the deaf, write alternating chapters of this memoir about how bureaucracy stifles education reform.

Howard's Gift

Howard's Gift: Uncommon Wisdom to Inspire Your Life's Work, ERIC C. SINOWAY with MERRILL MEADOW; St. Martin's Press, $24.99.

Like Tuesdays with Morrie—but with a protagonist who survives his health crisis—this book shares the counsel of a beloved mentor. Sinoway studied at Harvard Business School with Howard Stevenson, '63, a mathematician turned business guru. Professor emeritus Stevenson urges people to "live life forward," planning to meet inevitable crises as opportunities for reflection and corrective action.

Ed Tuttle

'You know, we never had these problems back when we just used the rack.'

—JAY WEXLER, JD '97, in his humor collection, The Adventures of Ed Tuttle, Associate Justice, and Other Stories, Quid Pro Books, $16.99.

 

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