Brian MacQuarrie ’74
Da Capo Press (2009)
The subtitle on MacQuarrie’s first book-length project is, “A shocking murder and a bereaved father’s journey from rage to redemption.” And what a ride it is. A more gruesome narrative than the first 50 pages, which describe in excruciating detail the 1997 abduction, murder, and sexual abuse of 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley from East Cambridge, Mass., is hard to imagine.
But beyond the macabre crime, the book unfolds on multiple levels, incorporating court reporting on the trials, statehouse reporting on campaigns for the death penalty, and, ultimately, an intimate portrait of Jeffrey’s father, Bob Curley, who fitfully rebuilds his life after the murder. The crux of the story is Bob’s conversion from a frothing death-penalty advocate to an articulate spokesman against capital punishment.
The levels reflect MacQuarrie’s varied experience as a general assignment reporter for the Boston Globe for 20 years, covering more than his share of mayhem. MacQuarrie’s animated, finely tuned prose carries the day, turning the book into a piece that Sister Helen Prejean calls “a riveting story of the redemptive potential of the human spirit.”
—Stephen Collins ’74
Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion & Casualties in Military Conflicts
Christopher Gelpi, Peter D. Feaver, and Jason Reifler ’95
Princeton University Press (2009)
Reifler, assistant professor of political science at Georgia State University, and his coauthors painstakingly dismantle the conventional wisdom that says the American public judges the merits of U.S. military conflicts based solely on casualty numbers. When casualties mount, does public support diminish? Not necessarily, the authors say. Using evidence gleaned from public reactions to conflicts from Korea to Iraq, they argue that the public doesn’t get enough credit. In fact, polling data and voting patterns show that public support for military action hinges more on whether the United States is likely to win a military conflict than on the numbers of casualties associated with that conflict. In Iraq, for example, “expectations of success trumped other considerations in determining the public’s casualty tolerance,” the authors write. If the cost of military action does not exceed the benefits, they conclude, “policymakers need not fear that public indecisiveness will hamstring effective foreign policy.”
Port City Shakedown
Gerry Boyle ’78
Down East Books (2009)
‘Rest In Peace’ is hardly the case.
A fight breaks out at a funeral and Brandon Blake finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Along the docks in Portland, Maine, a sociopath fresh out of jail is now stalking Blake, a police intern and aspiring detective, who is the new hero in Boyle’s latest crime novel.
Battered by abandonment issues, Blake must open his lonely world to protect the only two people who matter: the alcoholic grandmother who raised him, and his new girlfriend Mia. Along the way he learns that love does not always have to hurt. Even his mother’s memory is at stake when clues surrounding her mysterious death resurface near the very ocean that took her life.
Boyle gives us insight into the mind of a vicious criminal and his target, a young man in some way also lost at sea. And, just when you think it’s safe to stop and take a breath, another turn of events unfolds as Blake discovers things are not always what they seem—on dry land or beyond.
Minor League Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through the Red Sox Farm Teams
Pam Plumb Carey ’65
Barking Cat Books (2009)
We know that professional baseball players have agents, coaches, managers. We forget that behind every ballplayer there most likely is a mom and/or dad vicariously feeling the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.
Pam Plumb Carey ’65 was one of those moms. With her husband, Charley '63, she rode the roller-coaster baseball careers of sons Todd (shortstop, Brown) and Tim (catcher, Dartmouth), who both were drafted by the Boston Red Sox. For the Carey family it was a dream come, well, almost true, as the Carey brothers entered the rough-and-tumble world of minor league baseball. They never quite made the bigs but came darn close. Todd Carey played for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox alongside future stars like Trot Nixon; Tim Carey rose to AA ball before being released.
Their mom provides a fascinatingly detailed account of the family’s baseball career, and any parent will feel every hit and strikeout. “I don’t know whether players or their parents develop worse paranoia,” Pam Carey writes. “We dissected, regurgitated, and diagnosed every word the managers said to our kids.”
And, thankfully for us readers, she must have been taking notes.