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50 candles for the Lane
Performing arts series marks a milestone

In 1954, the University’s George Bishop Lane Series burst onto the Burlington entertainment scene to almost instant success. “It took off like gangbusters,” says series manager Natalie Neuert. “People were hungry for culture.”

Previously, Vermonters had few opportunities to see the caliber of artists the Lane Series brought to the community — the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Boys Choir were highlights of the first season. There were no huge entertainment agencies coordinating complex world tours for performing artists, as there are today, and little competition for audiences within the state. Getting artists to Vermont wasn’t easy, but Lane’s early promoters persevered and soon Burlington became a regular detour for performers making stops in Boston, New York, or Montreal. The UVM venture quickly became one of the first non-urban cultural series in the United States to thrive.

The series grew from a $300,000 endowment established as a memorial to George Bishop Lane (Class of 1883 and founder of the Vermont Cynic) by his widow, Nellie Lane, and daughter-in-law, Florence Barbour. Its purpose was to enrich the cultural life of the University and the wider community by sponsoring performances of the highest merit by artists in the worlds of music, dance, and theater — something UVM’s Student Association had been attempting on a smaller scale since 1951 through the Lane Series’ forerunner, the UVM Program Series.

In 1954, a working committee of six students and five faculty members set about creating the first Lane Series season. Their advisor and executive secretary, English professor Jack Trevithick, soon became the series’ first director. During his 21-year tenure, “Dr. T” nurtured the fledgling Lane, along the way initiating a summer concert series that evolved into the Vermont Mozart Festival. Terrance Demas ’73, a former UVM theater major, succeeded Trevithick as director. Demas would help keep artists’ fees affordable by working with other New England promoters to put together tours through the region.

Jane Ambrose, a former chair of the Music Department, has been Lane Series director since 1989. Firm in her belief that “the environment of the mind is an unthinkably bleak landscape in the absence of art,” Ambrose has developed events that bring students and performers together, such as master classes, workshops, residencies, and lectures. Each director has campaigned for a dedicated performance space, with current hopes resting on a proposed 500- to 600-seat theater in the planned University Commons.

The business of staging events has changed dramatically over five decades. Imagine 1963 and being able to present a young folk singer named Joan Baez for a 50-cent ticket. Contemporary artists’ fees are much higher, and rise about 20 percent each year. Production costs escalate almost as quickly. And there are unforeseeable challenges. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it has become more difficult to present international artists, who have been the hallmark of every Lane season.

Burlington, of course, has changed dramatically. There’s often more than one show in town and competition can be stiff. The Lane Series has kept its niche with a signature roster of opera, chamber music, folk music, and classical theater. The series offers intimate venues, such as the UVM Recital Hall on Redstone Campus, and opportunities to get close to the artists — not only while they are on stage but also at post-concert receptions. Ambrose, Neuert, and the Lane staff also often partner with the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and St. Michael’s College to bring in top performers at more manageable costs, and several Lane events each year are presented on the Flynn stage.

“We’ve changed with the times,” says Neuert, “without insisting on being one thing.”

Changed, yes, but the Lane Series has retained its tradition as a primary cultural resource on campus and in the community. Since its beginning, the series has hosted renowned performers, from Van Cliburn and Mahalia Jackson to the Metropolitan Opera and the Moody Blues, as well as featuring performers just establishing their reputations, such as Yo-Yo Ma (1984) and Wynton Marsalis (1987). Students remain important participants, serving as volunteers at concerts, representatives on the board of directors, and audience members. For six dollars — not much more than the price of a cup of coffee and a muffin on Church Street — students can purchase rush tickets to series events.

“The Lane Series was an integral part of my undergraduate experience, both in performance (voice) studies and arts management,” says Roxanne Vought ’02, who recently signed on as the organization’s special events and logistics coordinator.

As the Lane Series has weathered various cultural and economic trends, its original endowment has grown to more than $4.3 million, and the performance roster has increased from about 13 events each season to 25. Single ticket sales are surging, and subscriptions are steadily growing within the University and local audience base. Neuert attributes some of that growth to a renewed focus on programming events that appeal to the increasingly ethnically diverse population in Chittenden County.

This year, the Lane Series will present its usual stellar lineup of celebrated artists, audience favorites, and budding talent, along with special 50th anniversary events. The 2004/2005 season opened September 22 with pianist Peter Serkin, hailed as one of the supreme musicians of our time and son of keyboard virtuoso Rudolf Serkin, whom the series presented in 1956. Appearing for the first time, on April 15, will be Audra McDonald, fresh from her Tony Award-winning turn on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun. The expanded season features 28 performances, including the return of the popular baroque ensemble Red Priest and pianist Frederic Chiu, Twelfth Night and The Invisible Man by the Aquila Theatre Company and the Burlington debut of the Leipzig String Quartet.

Also slated are five special events, such as a dinner prepared by UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel and St. Michael’s College President Marc vanderHeyden on February 15, and an evening of Food and Music from China on April 6. With great food, beautiful music, and classical theater ahead, this milestone year for the Lane Series promises to celebrate a legacy of cultural enrichment in fine style.

—Lynda Majarian


31/2 questions
Randall Headrick, assistant professor of physics, sees big things ahead for the very small. Nanoscience, the emerging field of working with matter at atomic scale, is a national research priority, with the Bush administration calling for $3.7 billion in new inquiries over the next several years. Headrick’s work on the fundamental science of thin films — materials so slender that they are essentially two-dimensional — has, over time, become a form of nanotechnology as advancing technology makes ever-skinnier films possible. He won a $610,000 career grant this year from the National Science Foundation to pursue his research, which also encompasses things like “quantum dots,” particles so small that the removal of an electron changes their properties. But generating quantum dots isn’t Headrick’s only challenge. The grant also supports his teaching efforts, including a new seminar — one that, he admits, presents the possibly daunting challenge of introducing first-year students to the wonders of nanotechnology without using calculus.

Q. Why is everyone talking about nanotechnology right now?
A. Over the last twenty years or so, we have developed new microscopes that let us see what’s going on at the atomic level. That has opened up a frontier. The tools and techniques for seeing things at this level are advanced enough to actually let people do something. It’s important for chemistry, condensed matter physics, biology, and drug development. All of the biological processes are basically happening at the nanolevel. These techniques are having a broad impact. Many people throughout the University, and the world, are working with matter at the atomic scale or close to it even though they might not say what they’re doing is “nanotechnology.”

Q. Fill me in: What does an atom look like? The Styrofoam-and-drinking straw deal we had in high school?
A. When you imagine an atom, you usually picture this hard spherical thing, but what you see when you look at one is the electrons. It’s sort of like cotton candy. You can’t pin the electrons down in one place, so you get this fuzzy ball. It’s remarkable to actually see it.

Q. What’s nanotech gonna do for me?
A. An enormous range of things has been proposed. But when you look
at what’s commercially available, it’s pretty simple. Like sunblock —

Q. Sunblock?
A. Yes, the zinc oxide you put on your nose. It’s normally white, but one company has used nanotechnology to make it transparent. On the much more serious end, circuits in computers have shrunk to the point where they are approaching nanometer scale. As we reach the end of the line for conventional integrated circuits, and no longer see the increases in speed we have seen, we may need to jump over to new technology. Looking into a big crystal ball, maybe we’ll see carbon nanotubes. Imagine a carbon molecule rolled like a cigar, just four nanometers in diameter, and capable of conducting electricity. That’s exciting for people who are working with electronics, who need somewhere to go as silicon chips hit their limits. But my guess is that nanotechnology is going to creep into our lives in all sorts of invisible, seemingly unremarkable ways.


photo by Sabin Gratz


Mention Ariel Kiley’s two-episode role in The Sopranos — as Tracee, a young, ill-fated stripper — and chances are fans of the show will wince. It’s a reaction that would, most likely, please the young actress. The pathos that Kiley’s characterization evoked made Tracee’s brutal end at the hands of Sopranos mobster Ralph Cifaretto, the father of her unborn child, all the more disturbing.

“I wanted to bring the sex and violence together to show how horrible it really is,” Kiley says. “A lot of subscribers canceled their HBO service because of those episodes. Nothing against HBO, but I was proud of that.”

It’s an unexpected comment from a young actress, but little in Kiley’s story goes according to script, beginning with how she landed on the Sopranos with relative ease. After moving to New York City from Vermont, she was working an internship for a talent agency while attending NYU. A delivery took her to the office of Georgianne Walken, casting director for the Sopranos, who sensed a good fit in Kiley and offered her the audition that led to the role.

Kiley prepared for her part by visiting adult clubs and talked with the dancers — her intention, to portray their exploitation and the sad, gritty reality of their lives in a powerful way. Kiley wasn’t comfortable with all of the doors that her Sopranos performance opened — offers for pictorials in men’s magazines or a cable TV series requiring extensive nudity, both of which she turned down. But she did land a part on Law & Order and representation by one of Hollywood’s top agents.

Eventually, though, Kiley decided to return to Vermont and continue her education at hometown UVM, where she’s studying anthropology and keeping her acting options open. Ultimately, Kiley says, her major dramatic ambitions rest in writing.

Among those who encouraged Kiley to finish college before totally immersing herself in show business was Soporanos star James Gandolfini, a Rutgers grad. “We had some long talks about it. He was a like an uncle to me,” she says. “He always looked out for me to make sure I was okay.”


Quote Unquote
Now the Nation would never again have to confront their great fear, that the Sox might actually win a Series and leave them with nothing to hope for.
—Howard Frank Mosher G’67 in his new novel, Waiting for Teddy Williams, Houghton Mifflin.


Defending the right to read freely
For a person who is both feminist and defender of First Amendment rights, winning an award with Hugh Hefner’s name on it inspires some soul searching. Trina Magi, library associate professor, received the Playboy Foundation’s Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in Education for her leadership of a grass-roots protest of the USA Patriot Act’s impact on the privacy of library patrons. She shares the Hefner honor with Linda Ramsdell, owner of the Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vermont.

“When I first heard about the award I was really excited and surprised,” Magi says. “The next day, I thought, ‘Well, wait a minute…’” It didn’t take her long to conclude that declining a First Amendment/free speech award because she doesn’t care for a good deal of Playboy magazine’s content wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Integrity test completed, Magi says, “I realized that the whole point is, I don’t have to like what somebody says. I don’t have to like what they publish.

I don’t have to ever buy it. But it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have the right to do that.”

Magi and fellow Vermont librarians and booksellers have drawn attention for their reaction to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which gives federal agents almost free rein to investigate records revealing individuals’ reading habits. In her role as immediate past president of the Vermont Library Association, Magi led an effort to speak out together against what many saw as a violation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Their strategy included an open letter to Vermont’s congressional delegation, and Congressman Bernard Sanders responded by drafting the Freedom to Read Protection Act. The Sanders bill received an initial positive reception from the House last March before it took a turn on the winding road of legislative action and ended up back in committee. The bill currently has 151 co-sponsors across party lines. Magi sees hope: “A lot of people in Congress are willing to say, “This isn’t the right thing that we did and we need to make some adjustments.’”

An activist whose causes have ranged from fighting to gain women’s ordination as ministers in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to improving quality-of-life issues for downtown Burlington residents, Magi says she’s learned the challenges of being heard. She is pleased with the attention that’s been drawn to the pitfalls of the Patriot Act and is quick to share credit with the many library colleagues at UVM and beyond who have joined in the effort. “People have faith that when librarians speak they usually know what they’re talking about,” she says. “We’ve done our homework, we have our facts together.”


A Soldier’s Memorial
When Douglas Kinnard was a plebe at West Point, busting to finish his studies so he could ship off to Europe to fight in World War II, the war memorials scattered around campus were little more than clutter in the path of an immortal 21-year-old.

Sixty years later, after serving in three wars, attaining the rank of general, and completing a stint in academia that included 11 years as a professor of political science in Vermont, Kinnard watched with wiser eyes the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington he helped build.

“The idea of needing a memorial for World War II used to be ridiculous. The entire country was involved, either fighting or working in factories or saving materials for the military, so we didn’t need a memorial,” he says. “But with the older generation dying out, it’s necessary to tell the story for the future generations. The memorial is not for my generation. For us, the memorial is in our heads.”

The dedication symbolically closed the circle on the 82-year-old Kinnard’s remarkable career. After graduating from the Point on D-Day, Kinnard went to Europe as a forward observer in Patton’s Third Army, witnessing the liberation of concentration camps. Then through the ranks and two more wars, cumulating with two tours in Vietnam as a general. After that experience, Kinnard decided to trade Army for academia. He earned a Princeton Ph.D. and found that he loved research and writing — “It was like the story of the lady waking up in the morning at age 49 and suddenly discovering that she could sing. I started writing, and I could sing,” he says. Seven books later, he’s still working, writing the story of his life in combat and academe.

Kinnard’s reflective bent served him well when President Clinton appointed him to the 11-member American Battle Monuments Commission. Soon after he joined, Congress asked the group to oversee the proposed memorial and he and his colleagues found themselves winnowing 500-odd architectural designs, raising $177 million in private money, haggling over historical inscriptions and defusing controversy over locating the memorial on the Washington Mall. Kinnard spent seven years working with the group and is delighted by the finished structure, which was dedicated in late May. As visitors walk through the memorial’s two massive arches, along the bronze bas-reliefs and 56 granite pillars, Kinnard hopes they will gaze into the pool and reflect on the necessity of crushing Hitler’s menace, the vast sacrifice of the troops, especially the 405,399 casualties, and the country’s unity in the face of adversity.

“Visit early in the morning,” he says, “it’s beautiful."


One Woman’s War
It’s the details that fix the fading past — meal tickets and cross-country train rides, hairpins at reveille, the spooky suspension of time on a boat when someone whispers the awful rumor of Roosevelt’s death and passengers wait silently, dreading their arrival and confirmation.

The 250 letters in a new book, An Officer and a Lady: The World War II Letters of Lt. Col. Betty Bandel, Women’s Army Corps, which was edited by UVM Assistant Archivist Sylvia Bugbee ’63 and documents a professor emerita’s life in wartime, are rich in such observations. The moments coalesce into a vivid picture of a little-known world: the life of a female Army officer during World War II. The life in question belongs to Betty Bandel, now 92, an English professor and Shakespeare expert at the University for 28 years. Her revealing and often witty missives depict a woman of formidable intelligence, patriotism, and spunk.

Take the story of her enlistment in 1942, as related to Bugbee: “I was sitting at my desk [at the Arizona Daily Star], and Emily Brown was in the [newspaper] morgue getting some stories out, and she called to me and she said, ‘Hey Bandel, they’re organizing a women’s army.’ I said, ‘Who is?” And she said, ‘The United States.’ And I said ‘Well, let’s join.’ So we walked down the street and did.” Graduating second in her class at the first women’s officer candidate school, Bandel eventually became a lieutenant colonel and one of the Army’s highest-ranked women.


Trek 2004 new student wilderness orientation

altitude, in feet,of hikers’ high point

altitude, in feet, of kayakers’ low point

combined distance, in miles, traveled by canoe, sea kayak, bike, and on foot

amount, in words of Outdoor Programs director John Abbott, of trailmix, oatmeal, pasta, rice, etc., purchased at Costco to fuel the participants


Taking care of Vermont business
Matthew Mole ’93 thinks analytically. He knew this about himself before he went to college and while working on a degree in agricultural economics and international agricultural development. It wasn’t until he graduated and started his own business, however, that he fully understood the ramifications of this characteristic.

“My college courses were very theoretical and analytical,” says the owner of Vermont Organic Fiber Company, a buyer and seller of certified organic wool. “I learned a lot, but in business you have to close the deal. You have to be able to sell. I needed help in developing a sales strategy in order to do that.”

Analysis is fine, but Mole needed to shake some action. He got just the help he needed last year in a sales and marketing course titled, “Selling Skills: Understanding Your Buyer’s Mind,” offered through the Vermont Business Center, a joint venture between the School of Business Administration and Continuing Education.

VBC has a broad and ambitious mission of becoming a point of access for all things business with an emphasis on helping Vermonters compete in a global economy by offering seminars, customized programs, and training. A tall order for sure, but certainly achievable given its bottom line of giving the mid-level manager, CEO, or entry-level employee specific answers to their individual business-related needs.

The shape and scope of the Vermont Business Center grew out of more than 75 meetings UVM administrators and faculty had with business leaders and economic development officials beginning in 2002.

“We heard again and again that there was a gap in the continuum of education and training services businesses need in Vermont,” says Rocki-Lee DeWitt, business school dean. “The Small Business Development Center does a terrific job of providing technical assistance, predominantly to early stage companies. The state colleges have a good workforce development program and curriculum in place, and the Department of Economic Development’s Vermont Training Program supports manufacturers’ training needs very well, but established growth companies looking for executive education courses had few options.”


Green and Gold White House?
As two Yalies vie for your vote, Professor Garrison Nelson clues us in on University of Vermont alumni connections with the presidency past. Figure that you’d already know about it if FDR spent his freshman year in Converse Hall — the names are a bit more obscure.

William Almon Wheeler, Republican vice president to President Rutherford B. Hayes from 1877 to 1881, attended UVM from 1838 to 1840. Sadly, an eye infection disrupted his studies at the University. Nelson notes that Wheeler’s impoverished diet of bread and water likely contributed to his poor health as an undergrad, and quips that “the University’s food plans have improved since then.”

Though Wheeler would be the closest an alum would get to the White House, Nelson points out that a number made it on the Democrats’ shortlist at the lively 1912 convention, which required 46 ballots to nominate Woodrow Wilson. Eugene Foss, a UVM alum and governor of Massachusetts, received 43 votes on the first ballot for president; John Osborne, a Class of 1880 Medical School grad and governor of Wyoming, drew eight votes for the vice presidential slot; and Martin Wade, a UVM grad and U.S. Representative from Iowa, took 26 votes of his own toward the VP nod.

“In one unique political moment in 1912, Burlington could have produced both Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates,” Nelson says.


Building a better boiler
Maple sugaring technique proves effective in Honduras

A smokestack bleeding a steady black plume rises from a shack in the Honduran countryside. It’s a disturbing photograph, evoking both poverty and environmental degradation. But to the man who took it, it’s a source of inspiration.

For the past four years, Dan Baker, a lecturer in Community Development and Applied Economics, has worked tirelessly to eradicate from the Honduran landscape scenes such as the one he captured on film. During the summer, over holiday breaks, and through a service-learning class he teaches in the country, Baker strives to persuade rural sugarcane farmers in Taulabe and the Comayagua region to break a bad habit: using burning tires as fuel in the sugar-making process.

Smoke from the smoldering tires, a cheaper source of fuel than scarce firewood, creates a major public health and environmental hazard. The better practice Baker peddles in the jungles of Central America is firmly rooted in the sugarbushes of Vermont. He urges and teaches local farmers to replace the inefficient flat-pan evaporators they have traditionally used to boil sugar cane juice into a block of dark sugar called panela, with highly efficient, flue-style versions similar to the ones New Englanders have used for 100 years to make maple syrup.

The maple-syrup-style evaporators burn so efficiently that Honduran farmers are able to use the waste from the sugarcane itself — the stalks and leaves, or bagasse — as fuel, saving money and eliminating pollution.

Baker first went to Honduras in the late 1990s with CDAE associate professor Deep Ford to help with a project to empower small-scale coffee growers. The sponsor of the project, the Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer program, asked Baker to investigate the tire-burning problem on cane farms. Baker, himself a maple syrup producer, saw an opportunity to share with the Hondurans the technology he was using back north in his Starksboro sugarhouse. On his next trip to Honduras, Baker brought a flue pan with him and, over the next several visits, built the first prototype evaporator and oven.

But success was slow in coming. Through two years and many modifications, most were ready to give up on the effort. Baker wasn’t. “I’m pretty stubborn,” he says. Eventually tweaks to the evaporator’s design allowed farmers to produce panela of the proper hue and flavor. The project shifted into full gear as farmers in the region used their own money, about $450 per rig, to build 13 of the new evaporator-oven combos. They not only began producing a better product, they also increased profits as they eliminated fuel costs.

Other farmers noticed, as did potential sources of critical funding, and the good word has continued to spread. Low-interest loans from the Interamerican Bank have helped farmers build evaporators. And Baker has gained funding support to run workshops designed as much to motivate farmers to change their practices as to give them practical advice on how to build and use the new evaporators. The enthusiasm of farmers and interest of the Honduran ministries of agriculture and natural resources, combined with the success of evaporators in use, bodes well for the future.

“You don’t often get a technology that can do so many good things,” says Baker. “I feel lucky to be involved.”



Kingdom to Kilimanjaro
Vermont poet turns eye to Africa

Leland and Erwin Kinsey’s lives have, in many respects, run close courses. They are double cousins (the sons of sisters married to brothers), and grew up on farms within a few miles of each other in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Their families hayed together, sugared together, went to church together in Craftsbury every Sunday. When it came time for college, both headed off to Burlington and the state university, where Leland earned his degree in English in 1972 and Erwin graduated with a bachelor’s in animal sciences in 1977.

Post-UVM, their paths split. Erwin has spent his career with Heifer Project International in Tanzania, where his work is focused on improving farming practices, nutrition, and the economic well-being of local communities. Leland studied for a master’s of fine arts in creative writing at Syracuse University before returning to northern Vermont, where he has written and taught for decades. With volumes such as Sledding on Hospital Hill, Not One Man’s Work, and Family Drives, Kinsey has earned his rank —“the unofficial poet laureate of the Northeast Kingdom,” as Vermont Sunday Magazine put it.

Though separated by thousands of miles, the Kinsey cousins have remained close, meeting nearly every year when Erwin makes a return trip to the states. Leland Kinsey took a deeper look into Erwin’s world in 1997 when he traveled to Tanzania for a month. No tourist’s idyll, most of his time was spent shadowing his cousin at work, taking it all in with a poet’s eye and ear, and faithfully scribbling down the details in legions of pocket-sized yellow notepads. Over the past several years, Kinsey has crafted his Africa experience into poetry, and the poems have coalesced into a collection, In the Rain Shadow, published this fall by University Press of New England.

Though the book is grounded in his firsthand impressions of Tanzania, Leland Kinsey notes that a good deal more informs the work. At home in Barton, his Morgan horse grazing in the pasture outside the window of his study, the author says, “It was important to me to have the background of having talked to Erwin through the years. I find it somewhat presumptuous for travelers to go for a little while, then write of a place. I was in Tanzania for weeks, but it was Erwin’s long background there and his experience that helped give me the weight to do it.”

Leland’s own experience in Vermont’s dairy-focused agricultural landscape created common ground when the conversation turned to issues like harvest, forage, or care of animals. But he credits the focus provided by Erwin’s work and his place in the community for truly creating an insider’s view. “You rationally know about the day-to-day difficulties of living there, but then you experience them — visiting the homes, the farmers, driving in the back country — and that comes home a little bit more.”

Leland Kinsey didn’t travel to Tanzania thinking that the experience would necessarily become a focused volume of poetry, “but it didn’t surprise me that happened.” He adds that the visit still resonates and there’s ample material on those little yellow pads that he hasn’t used. “There’s a wealth of information, a wealth of images,” Kinsey says. “As poems that I specifically wrote about Africa sometimes referred to Vermont, I find now that as I am writing about Vermont, there may be images of Africa that slip in.”

The Kinsey name is as strongly rooted to the Vermont landscape as most of Leland’s poetry. Kinsey Road is just up a bit from his home, tracing back seven generations to his Scottish ancestry, a hint of which lingers still in his unusual Kingdom accent. But Kinsey has a curious writer’s mind and he is as likely to read about Chinese history or astronomy as subjects closer to home. Africa is among many subjects that draw his interest, but clearly retains a significant place in his imagination.

A small travel clock sits on Kinsey’s desk, between keyboard and computer screen. It’s a remnant, some seven years removed from his trip, that still displays Vermont time and Tanzania time on its two faces.

“It’s an odd thing,” Kinsey says. “Sometimes I look at that, think about what part of the day it is over there, what activity might be going on.”



Buzzards Bay: A Journey of Discovery
By Daniel Sheldon Lee ’88
Commonwealth Editions

Buzzards Bay, which juts up between Cape Cod and the southern edge of mainland Massachusetts, has been celebrated as one of the healthiest estuaries on the East Coast. But the pressures of nitrogen pollution from rapidly expanding residential development and recent oil spills threaten that status. Alumnus Daniel Sheldon Lee is well-suited to the task of documenting the bay at what he calls “a critical juncture in her history.” Lee combines a wealth of firsthand experience with the bay, where his family has owned a summer home since 1906, with the skills of an experienced nature writer. His homage to Buzzards Bay, a graceful blend of human and natural history, is notable for both depth of research and detail of observation. Readers come away with a strong sense of the place past and present, and can’t help but absorb some of the author’s commitment to protecting the bay’s future.

Wild Horses of the Dunes
By Rich Pomerantz ’79
Courage Books/Running Press

Alumnus Rich Pomerantz’s paean in words and photos to the wild horses of Assateague Island deserves a place on the shelf beside Daniel Lee’s Buzzards Bay book. Like Lee, Pomerantz tells the story of one of the Atlantic Coast’s beautiful natural environments with an eye for where wild places and human civilization meet. A photographer with publication credentials that include National Geographic and Sierra Club calendars, Pomerantz turns his lens to the wild horses of Assateague and the “saltwater cowboys” of neighboring Chincoteague Island, volunteer firemen who for the better part of the past century have herded and helped care for the animals. The coffee-table-style book is rich in striking photographs of horses and seashore. As a writer, Pomerantz deepens the mix with an exploration of a unique symbiotic relationship where the physical well-being of the herd and the economic health of the local community are closely intertwined.

Hachiko Waits
By Leslea Newman ’77
Henry Holt

Offering advice to budding writers on a Web site devoted to her ventures in children’s literature, Leslea Newman writes, “Allow your writing to take you on a journey. Don't try to control it — let your writing lead you to new and exciting places.” Newman’s latest work for young writers finds the author, in a literal sense, heeding her own advice. Hachiko Waits is Newman’s fictional treatment of the true story of a faithful Akita in 1920-30s Japan and his daily journey to the train station to await his master, a trip the famous dog continued to make some ten years after the man’s death. In addition to Newman’s authentic retelling of this story known to all Japanese schoolchildren, young readers (ages 7 and up) will likely take to the illustrations by Machiyo Kodaira. Bonus prize: the kids will pick up a little Japanese along the way thanks to a glossary in the back.

Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin
Edited and translated by Douglas Smith ’85
Northern Illinois University Press

Catherine the Great and her lover/husband/co-emperor Grigory Potemkin’s correspondence took years to reach the light of day because the tenor of the letters didn’t exactly fit with the vision of Russian history various leaders, such as the Romanovs or Stalin, wished to project. Finally, in the 1990s, a volume of a thousand letters was published in Russian by V.S. Lopatin. Douglas Smith, a scholar of Russian history, has selected from the best of that work to create a fascinating collection. Simon Sebag Montefiore writes in the Financial Times: “Smith’s superb account of Catherine and Potemkin’s peerless love-affair and political partnership is an erudite but unforgettable, exuberant yet heartbreaking voyage into the friendship and love, power, sexuality and ambition behind one of history’s greatest romances.”