Ice Story: Shackleton's Lost Expedition
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel '86
Clarion Books, New York
One of the great true adventure stories of the early twentieth century, when "explorer" was still a recognized career, is the tale of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition to Antarctica. After his ship, the Endurance, was trapped in ice, and the crew escaped in three lifeboats to a barren island, Shackleton took five men in one of the boats, sailed eight hundred miles, crossed a mountain range on foot, found help, and returned to rescue the others. In Ice Story, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel sets out to recount the adventure for young adults, but her narrative skills, coupled with the book's handsome design -- including a generous collection of photographs -- make the volume a compelling experience for adults of any age. Kimmel has a deft touch for pacing, and she brings the story to life through character sketches, anecdotes, quotations from diaries, and irresistible details, ranging from the recipe for a concoction called "hoosh" to the fact that seal's blood and artist's oil paint can be mixed into a paste for caulking. Ice Story is a fine introduction to a remarkable episode in the history of heroic exploits.
Washington, D.C., Past and Present
by Peter R. Penczer '83
Oneonta Press, Arlington, Virginia
Find more than a hundred vintage photographs of Washington, D.C., rephotograph the same sites from the same vantage points, and place the results side by side. It is an appealing idea, and photographer-writer Peter R. Penczer has executed it meticulously. The results are fascinating on many levels. Starting with panoramic views of the city taken from the Washington Monument, and then focusing on particular neighborhoods and blocks, Penczer not only chronicles the transformations of the capital but also offers insights into modernity as well as the past. The juxtapositions allow us to see starkly how charm can be lost, how decay can be reclaimed, and, perhaps most striking, how time sometimes leaves streetscapes unchanged. Together with the photos, Penczer's carefully researched and very informative captions constitute a document that Washington-area residents and lovers of the city will value. Beyond its local interest, though, the book is full of historical references -- the first transoceanic airship flight, by the Graf Zeppelin, in 1928; a parade honoring unidentified victims of the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine; the devastating riots of 1968. Moreover, it throws into relief artifacts of the modern age, such as the high-rise and the automobile, that we take for granted. Sometimes jarring, always interesting, Washington, D.C., Past and Present helps us to understand who we are.
Lulubird Euchres the Noodleheads
Translated by John Hurd Willett '64
Harlin Quist Books, Paris
The title alone should suggest the dazzling invention to be found in this book, a slender, beautifully produced volume that poses as a work for children but that actually, through pictures as well as words, becomes a quirky, comic manifesto for linguistic playfulness. "Until the noodleheads attacked, until those spellmonging orthographs blitzed us with their penjets, everything was sleepyhead on Nuzzle Island." So the story begins, of fleets of "penmanships" and "flying pluperfects" threatening Nuzzle, where the inhabitants prefer "to pepperpot speech" as they see fit, with "sillybles, palindromes, paragrams, amphibologisms." John Willett, a retired foreign-service officer who lives in Paris, has created not so much a translation as a freewheeling adaptation of L'ile du droit a la caresse, by the French journalist Daniel Mermet. Puns and wordplay abound in the original, and Willett made the wise (indeed, essential) decision to invent equivalents rather than attempt a literal rendering. Thus, to take the simplest of examples, "C'était le 32 octembre, un mardimanche" becomes "the first Tuesunday in Octobuary." The pictures, by Henri Galeron, capture the same almost-surreal spirit -- a spirit, which Willett has conjured from letters and words and linguistic passion, of outrageously creative fun.
Stern Stewart's Economic Value Added: The Real Key to Creating Wealth
by Al Ehrbar '68
John Wiley and Sons, New York
Economic Value Added, or EVA, an approach to measuring corporate performance, has received enough attention in recent years that most business executives are probably familiar with the term. Many, however, have only a vague notion of what this "revolution in management" is all about, according to Al Ehrbar. Ehrbar, a financial journalist and a senior vice president at Stern Stewart and Company, the management consulting firm closely associated with EVA, has written a book that explains the concepts behind EVA, using plentiful examples to illustrate the system's advantages. In simplest terms, EVA differs from most other performance measures by including a charge against profit for the cost of all the capital a company employs. In clear, readable prose, Ehrbar contends that EVA can guide every decision a company makes, fostering greater success for the company and all of its employees. His examples range from the production of granola bars at Quaker Oats to the manufacture of floor tiles for Armstrong World Industries. His book makes a strong case that EVA is a vital strategy for "instilling a wealth-building culture" in companies worldwide.
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