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  Book Notes    
         
   

My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir
By Clarence Thomas ’71

My Grandfather’s Son (HarperCollins Publishers) is the memoir of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The book recounts Thomas’ life—from his birth in rural Georgia in 1948, through his tumultuous Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and his life today as an associate justice of the highest court in the nation. After his parents divorced, Thomas was sent, at the age of 7, to live with his mother’s father, Myers Anderson, in Savannah. It was a move that would forever change Thomas’ life—as the future jurist witnessed in his grandfather a level of determination, hope and love that would forever inspire him.

Thomas became an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court in October 1991.

 

My Grandfather's SOn

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Common Life: Poems
By Robert Cording

Common Life (CavanKerry Press), by Robert Cording, examines the various meanings of “common,” especially its senses of “familiar and widely known;” “belonging or relating to the community at large”—and, its twinned notions of “simple and rudimentary” and “vulgar and profane.” The book’s perspective is religious, rooted in the epigraph from Psalm 37:7: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” The “waiting” that is required concerns: first, our desire, as Charles Wright puts it, “to believe in belief” rather than believe; secondly, the need for a setting aside of the self, an abandonment of “every attempt to make something of oneself, even a righteous person” in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and thirdly, understanding that the “waiting” must be, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “without hope for hope would be hope of the wrong thing.” If we learn to wait in these ways—as the final section of the book suggests—we have the chance of opening ourselves to all that is graceful within life’s common bounds.

Cording is the James N. and Sarah L. O’Reilly Barrett Professor in Creative Writing at Holy Cross.

  Common Life
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In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier
By Thomas I. White ’69

In his book, In Defense of Dolphins (Blackwell Publishing Limited), Thomas I. White ’69 questions whether humans may have been sharing the planet with other intelligent life for millions of years without realizing it. Considering the possibility that this premise is true, he imagines the implications and encourages humans to reconsider our treatment of the species with which we share the Earth. Based on White’s extensive study of dolphins—both in the classroom and the ocean—In Defense of Dolphins combines accessible science and philosophy; surveying the latest research on dolphin intelligence and social behavior, it makes a strong case for improving the moral status of dolphins and advocates an end to their inhumane treatment.

White is the Hilton Professor of Business Ethics and director of the Center for Ethics and Business at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

  In Defense of Dolphins
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A Man You Could Love
By John F. Callahan ’62

From the forests of the Pacific Northwest to the power corridors of Washington, D.C., this ambitious novel by John Callahan ’62 stretches across the tumult of the 1960s to the disputed presidential election of 2000, as it chronicles the life of a crusading politician and, in the process, the coming of age and loss of innocence of a generation. A Man You Could Love (Fulcrum Publishing) follows the lives of Gabe Bontempo, a savvy political strategist, and Mick Whelan, a young, idealistic candidate from Oregon. Together they weather decades of political upheaval, from the civil rights and Vietnam era into the 1990s, while facing personal crises of their own.

Callahan is the Morgan S. Odell Professor of Humanities at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. As literary executor for Ralph Ellison, he edited the manuscripts of the author’s unfinished novel into Juneteenth; he also edited The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison and Flying Home: and Other Stories.

  Sensible Stock Investing
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Illiberal Justice: John Rawls vs. the American Political Tradition
By David Lewis Schaefer

Considered by many as the greatest American political philosopher of the 20th century and the most important liberal theorist since John Stuart Mill, John Rawls enjoys a practically sacrosanct status among scholars of political theory, law and ethics. In Illiberal Justice (University of Missouri Press), David Lewis Schaefer offers a thorough challenge to Rawls’ doctrine, demonstrating how his teachings deviate from the core tradition of constitutional liberalism as exemplified by leading American statesmen. This book is not only a critique of Rawls’ political program and philosophic methodology, it is also a defense of the American constitutional order against Rawls’ dogmatic theorizing—which, Schaefer argues, has exercised an increasingly detrimental effect on our jurisprudence.

Schaefer is a professor of political science at the College.

 

Local Treasures:  Geoaching Across America

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Remastering Morals with Aristotle and Confucius
By May Sim

Aristotle and Confucius are pivotal figures in world history; nevertheless, Western and Eastern cultures have, in modern times, largely abandoned the insights of these masters. Remastering Morals (Cambridge University Press), by May Sim, is the first book-length scholarly comparison of the ethics of Aristotle and Confucius. Sim’s comparisons offer fresh interpretations of the central teachings of both men. More than a catalog of similarities and differences, this study brings two great traditions into dialogue so that each is able to learn from the other. This is essential reading for anyone interested in virtue-oriented ethics.

Sim is an associate professor of philosophy at Holy Cross.

  Joseph P. Lovering
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Practicing Catholic: Ritual, Body, and Contestation in Catholic Faith
Edited by Rev. Bruce T. Morrill, S.J., ’81, Joanna E. Ziegler and Susan Rodgers

Practicing Catholic
(Palgrave Macmillan), edited by Rev. Bruce T. Morrill, S.J., ’81, Joanna E. Ziegler and Susan Rodgers, is a collection that explores Catholicism as a faith grounded in ritual practices. Ritual, encompassing not only the central celebration of Mass but popular ceremonies and devotional acts, comprises a base for Catholicism that requires constant engagement of the human body and negotiation of various types of power, both human and divine. This book is divided into six, easy-to-follow sections, in which scholars from different backgrounds focus their essays on particular aspects of ritual within Catholic practice.

Ziegler is a professor and department chair in visual arts at Holy Cross and Rodgers is a professor of anthropology at the College. Morrill serves as an associate professor of theology at Boston College.

  Cultural Revolutions
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An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels
By Frederick J. Murphy

In his textbook, An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels (Abingdon Press), Frederick J. Murphy provides an introduction to the gospels that does justice to the full range of modern critical methods and insights. Murphy discusses the implications of these methods as they relate to how we understand the nature of the gospels and how we can read them today. The chapters sketch the portrait of Jesus that emerges from each gospel—and then examine the canonical view of Jesus by comparing and contrasting these pictures, as well as the ones that emerge from the non-canonical gospels and from the modern quest for the historical Jesus.

Murphy is a professor of religious studies at the College.

  A Literary and Political HIstory of Post-Revolutionary Mexico:
   

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