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Book Reviews

By Anne Downey '95G

(Book titles are linked to online booksellers. Also check Dimond Library's online card catalog for these titles)
Reviewed in this issue:
A Chemical History Tour
Judging Jehovah's Witnesses
And 11 short reviews, including....

Kenneth M. Sheldon '76
Joseph F. Durocher and Regina S. Baraban
Stephen Fink and Allan R. Cohen
Michael Ferber
Clifford J. Moody '58
Donald Silverman '59
D. Allan Kerr '89
Edward Hujsak '49
Deborah Straw '70
Karen Wells
Sandra J. Philipson '70

A Chemical History Tour

A Chemical History Tour:
Picturing Chemistry from Alchemy to Modern Molecular Science
By Arthur Greenberg
John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2000

This handsome volume by the dean of the university's College of Engineering and Physical Sciences is a pictorial tour through the history of chemistry, "idiosyncratic," as the author explains, "in the highlights it chooses to show the tourist," and delightful in its idiosyncracy.

Greenberg's main theme is "our very human need to pictorialize matter," and the book is comprised of reproduced diagrams, illustrations and pages from chemistry texts, some quite rare. Accompanying the images are short essays that explain and contextualize them, and they are immensely readable and engaging.

For example, in his essay "Chymicall Characters," which accompanies a reproduction of chemical symbols from The Royal Pharmacopoea by Moses Charas (1678), Greenberg writes about the ancient practice of associating elements with planets: "With the naked eye, ancient people could discern that the planet Mars is red, just as is the calx of iron ('rust'). Associating Mars--the god of war--with iron--the stuff of weapons, as well as with blood--is intuitively reasonable. Late 20th-century business executives wore red 'power ties' to meetings. But in an almost too wonderful confirmation of ancient intuition, the findings of the NASA Viking Mission, which landed two spacecraft on Mars in 1976, indicated a red surface composed of oxides of iron: eyeball chemical analysis by the Ancients at over 30 million miles--not bad!"

The beautiful illustrations and knowledgeable, witty but brief commentary make this a rare commodity: a text that rewards skimming as much as in-depth reading. It will make you wish you had paid more attention in high school chemistry.

Judging Jehovah's Witnesses

Judging Jehovah's Witnesses:
Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution
By Shawn Francis Peters '91G
University Press of Kansas, 2000

"As legal histories go," the author writes in his introduction, "this narrative is unconventional in that it relies most heavily upon the Witnesses' own accounts of their struggles in communities like Minersville, Pa., Connersville, Ind., and Rochester, N.H., to overcome religious discrimination and forge meaningful lives for themselves and their families." That unconventionality is the greatest among the many strengths of this engrossing account of the persecution suffered by Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States during the 1940s.

In his early chapters, Peters, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focuses on the Gobitas family from Minersville, whose troubles began when the Gobitas children refused to salute the American flag because their religion told them to reject earthly images or emblems. As a result, the Minersville school district expelled the children.

The Gobitas family took the case to the courts, and in 1940, the Supreme Court ruled that elected school boards and legislatures, not appointed judges, should have the power to shape educational policy. The decision triggered several years of shocking abuse perpetrated against Witnesses across the country. But the Witnesses did not give up, retaliating by continuously using the courts for protection, and the result is a remarkable body of civil rights legislation.

As Peters writes, "In retrospect, it seems apparent that the Witnesses initiated a legal counter-attack against religious discrimination to mitigate their own suffering and to use courts as forums for propagandizing. While protecting their own interests, however, they prompted courts at all levels ... to fortify safeguards for this country's most basic democratic liberties. ... One of the foremost legacies of the persecution of the Jehovah's Witnesses ... was a ... remarkably influential body of law, one that strengthened the basic democratic freedoms of all Americans."

Peters is adept at weaving together individual histories with discussions of legal issues, making this the best kind of legal history: one both fascinating in the intricacies of the law presented and moving in its account of how law shapes citizens' lives. ~

Short Reviews

The Code
by Kenneth M. Sheldon '76
Writers Club Press, 2000.

What if the world's largest online service were run by a religious cult? What if you signed up? What if you couldn't quit? Explore these and other uncomfortable, technology-driven situations in this fast-paced thriller.

The Code

Successful Restaurant Design
by Joseph F. Durocher and Regina S. Baraban
2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2001.

Durocher, a UNH associate professor of hospitality management, and his co-author cover design issues, sample projects, interviews with leading designers and restauranteurs, and a look at the future of restaurant design.

Successful Restaurant Design

Effective Behavior in Organizations
by Stephen Fink and Allan R. Cohen
7th edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2001.

In this introductory textbook, Fink, associate dean of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, and Cohen, a former WSBE professor, teach students to recognize good leaders from their own experiences and to analyze successful management techniques.

Effective Behavior in Organizations

A Dictionary of Literary Symbols
by Michael Ferber
Cambridge University Press, 1999, 2001.

A must-have reference book for anyone who loves poetry, this comprehensive dictionary has nearly 200 entries that explain common literary symbols found in English literature, along with entries that reference biblical and classical texts.

Dictionary of Literary Symbols

Cast Down the Waters: A Bosnia in Flames
by Clifford J. Moody '58
GoldenIsle Publishers, 2000.

Complete with a captain and a countess, this is an all's-fair-in-love-and-war novel set in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

Cast Down the Waters

The Event
by Donald Silverman '59
Creative Arts Book Company, 1999.

A murder mystery with at least one twist, the novel is about the power of misdeeds as the protagonist is haunted by an event that took place when he was a student at a New Hampshire prep school.

The Event

A Loser's Serenade
by D. Allan Kerr '89
1stBooks Library, 1999.

This novel is a coming-of-age tale as two teenagers learn about life and love in a rough neighborhood in southern New Hampshire.

A Loser's Serenade

Who Rang the Church Bell?
by Edward Hujsak '49
Illustrated by Willis Goldsmith
Mina-Helwig Company, 2000.

Two mice assist an angry preacher and a disillusioned congregation in this lively children's tale.

Who Rang the Church Bell?

Why Is Cancer Killing Our Pets? How You Can Protect and Treat Your Animal Companion
by Deborah Straw '70
Healing Arts Press, 2000.

An informational guide that explores everything from surgery to herbal remedies, with as much emphasis on prevention as on cure.

Why Is Cancer Killing Our Pets

Blessed Tragedy: Restoring New Life with Hope and Faith After a Head Injury
by Karen Wells
Rhodes & Easton, 1997.

The author was a 27-year-old competitive athlete when she experienced a traumatic head injury during a bike race. It is a moving account of Wells' physical and spiritual journey to recovery.

Blessed Tragedy

Annie Loses Her Leg but Finds Her Way and Max's Wild Goose Chase
by Sandra J. Philipson '70
illustrated by Robert Takatch
Chagrin River Publishing, 1999.

These are funny and poignant children's books about Max and Annie, two adventurous English Springer Spaniels.

Annie Loses Her Leg
Max's Wild Goose Chase

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