New & Notable
Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica
Fen Montaigne (Col ’74)
Henry Holt and Company
For the last 30 years, Bill Fraser has studied the Adélie penguins in Antarctica. In that time, the habitat of the tuxedoed penguin has warmed faster than any other place on Earth. Fen Montaigne spent five months with Fraser’s team and chronicles the environmental changes in the awe-inspiring Antarctic Peninsula.
Bobby C. Rogers (Grad ’88)
University of Pittsburgh Press
This is a collection of poetry about small towns and the meaning located in domestic spaces. Rogers writes about the hands of an old piano teacher that remember the accompaniment played in silent movie palaces. He writes about the houses a couple once dreamed of living in, though they can no longer imagine moving. These poems are about why one remembers the details of home and family, and how these things are rejuvenated by newly realized love.
Porcelain on Steel: Women of West Point’s Long Gray Line
Donna McAleer (GSBA ’93)
In this history of the women at the U.S. military’s elite academy, McAleer focuses on the lives of 14 pioneering women. Describing their experiences, McAleer illuminates 30 years of struggle by relating personal stories. Porcelain on Steel is a portrait of service to country, family and community.
Ideal Cities: Poems
Erika Meitner (Grad ’01, ’10)
These poems recast the slums of Washington, D.C., as a place where robbers share glasses of wine at the dinner parties of their victims before stealing away into the night. The poems explore the unknown territories of new motherhood—both sacred and ridiculous. Meitner’s poems are set in McDonald’s or on city buses; they unfold like maps of familiar neighborhoods.
A Slaveholders’ Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic
George William Van Cleve (Grad ’08)
The University of Chicago Press
American abolitionists in the early republic argued that the Constitution protected and furthered the rights of slave-owners. This controversial new book demonstrates that slavery was an essential part of the early American experiment and the Constitution was pro-slavery in its politics, economics and law. Van Cleve argues that a strong federal republic with intentions to become a continental empire required the full inclusion of the Southern states and the cost of unity was the protection of slavery.
Mendelssohn and the Organ
Wm. A. Little (former faculty)
Oxford University Press
Composer, virtuoso pianist and conductor Felix Mendelssohn had a private passion for the organ. He played it rarely in public and wrote only two significant works for the instrument, but played in private wherever in Europe he traveled. Among his papers were a few sketches and drafts for organ music that were not published until late in the 20th century. Little explores the evidence left of a profound musical obsession.
Grant Wood: A Life
R. Tripp Evans (Arch ’90)
In 1930, Grant Wood’s painting, American Gothic, made a dour Iowa farmer, his daughter and a pitchfork into American icons. This biography explores the America that Wood portrayed in his art—which was conservative, folksy and heterosexual—and juxtaposes it against Wood’s private life, which Evans suggests was that of a homosexual artist trained in Europe. Evans reveals the 1930s American art world as a cultural battle where ideas about the role of the artist, national ideals and gender were contested ground.