Amalie (Gosine) Howard ’97
Langdon Street Press (2011)
Victoria Warrick is a witch. Not just any witch, but one with superior witch powers, which she discovers on her 17th birthday. The heroine of this young adult novel may be able to read minds and teleport herself, but she also faces the same trials and tribulations as any teenager—the need to fit in versus the need to be true to herself. Life becomes even more difficult when Victoria falls in love with a handsome young vampire and a forbidden relationship blossoms.
Howard, who lives in Larchmont, N.Y., and is a native of Trinidad, turned a short story into her first novel. It’s a good start, as Bloodspell was recommended as a “summer beach read” by CosmoGirl magazine.
The Winter Travelers: A Christmas Fable
Don J. Snyder ’72
Down East (2011)
Don Snyder’s latest novel is a time-bending story that uses World War II as a prism through which to view the recent financial recession. Charlie Andrews is a young financial baron on the brink of suicide after a spectacular business failure. He is saved by a mysterious homeless woman who leads him on an odyssey of discovery that includes traveling back in time to join a trainload of troops returning from war in 1945. On the journey Andrews learns—like Dickens’s Scrooge—what really counts in life.
Snyder’s admiring view of the Greatest Generation is familiar and is a lament for its inexorable passing. Left ambiguous is whether Snyder believes that those who have come after, and who are made of far less stern and rock-solid stuff, have irremediably destroyed the world their parents and grandparents saved.
The Thefts of the Mona Lisa
Noah Charney ’03
ARCA Publications (2011)
Art-theft expert Charney has aimed his considerable research and storytelling skills at yet another remarkable art heist (following his 2010 book, Stealing the Mystic Lamb). This time it’s the century-old theft of the Mona Lisa, a true story that involves skullduggery in the Louvre, misplaced political loyalties, and even Picasso and Apollinaire. Charney uses primary materials to recreate the shock that roiled France after the iconic painting disappeared and to describe the unlikely thief who pulled off this remarkable and, thank goodness, reversible crime. Proceeds from sale of the book benefit ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art), which Charney founded.
An Economic History of the American Steel Industry
Robert P. Rogers ’65
It’s hard to overstate the role of the steel industry in the development of the United States. Steel was the backbone of the country’s infrastructure, the skeleton of its booming cities. It propelled development of the auto industry and armed the nation for two world wars. Demand for workers for the country’s steel mills shaped migration from Europe to America. The coal industry grew in large part because of demand for steel production.
Yet that steel boom was followed by a bust of sorts, as increased efficiency and international competition led to a downsizing of the industry. This evolution involved technology, innovation, organization of labor, and government regulation.
Writing a comprehensive and concise history of the U.S. steel industry would seem a daunting task, but Rogers, a professor of economics at Ashland University, does it with care and precision.
Beginning with the industry in its infancy in 1860, Rogers traces its path from cornerstone of the U.S. economy to its decline to its reemergence in a globalized market. (The biggest steel company in the United States is owned by an Indian tycoon.) While the book is part of a series of works on economic history, anyone with an interest in the forces that have shaped our country, culture, and world will find it a reflective work backed by exhaustive research. —Gerry Boyle ’78
Jack the Cuddly Dog—Jack Goes West (DVD)
Doug Morrione ’93
Hello Baby Productions (2010)
From fields to the forest, Central Park to San Francisco, Jack the Cuddly Dog—a yellow cartoon canine with a cute smile—takes toddlers on a cross-country adventure designed to stimulate the senses. Created by Doug Morrione ’93 and Max Reynal, Jack, in the title, goes west in pursuit of his elusive red ball. Real-life footage of roaming buffalo and aerial views of the Grand Canyon are made kid-friendly by a child’s narration and the energetic main character who travels by plane, train, and hot-air balloon from New York to California, where he retrieves his favorite toy and watches the sun set over the Pacific