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Reggie Reads: November 2011

Reggie Reads for November 2011

Reggie Reads for November 2011.

Illinois State is proud to be able to acknowledge the work of graduates who are successful authors. If you’ve written a book that has been released by a publishing house within the past decade, submit it for review by Professor Emerita of English JoAnna Stephens Mink ’73, M.S. ’75, D.A. ’85. All books authored by alums will be added to a collection of work by other graduates on display in the Alumni Center. Autographed copies are especially appreciated. Please send your book to Illinois State editor Susan Blystone at Illinois State Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main Street, Normal, IL 61790. Inquiries can be sent to sjblyst@ilstu.edu.

Clements, Michal and Teri Lucie Thompson. Tuning into Mom: Understanding America’s Most Powerful Consumer

West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2011. 192pp.

Summary: Moms are household CFOs, supervising the spending of more than $2.4 trillion in the United States. Because moms also influence how older children purchase consumer goods by the ways they teach their children about spending, the influence in the marketplace is much greater. The authors of Turning into Mom explain how retailers overlook how the image of “mom” has changed. Clements and Thompson clarify better ways to understand the “mom market.”

Their comments are research-based. In addition to quantitative research of more than 4,700 mothers, they conducted more than 20 in-depth interviews with moms of children ages one to 29, women recruited from a network of family and friends (p.3). After the interviews and the identification of key themes, these participants were asked to candidly describe their experiences. The resulting “mommy mind” narratives are incorporated into the book, augmenting the authors’ discourse. Research in journals, government data, corporate publications, and online blogs supplement the authors’ findings.

The major “hot-button” topics explored in Turning into Mom include food, exercise and sports, education, safety and health, technology, and fashion and beauty. Individual chapters examine each of these areas, with information organized by age of child from infant/toddler through young adult. Thus readers can readily locate material pertinent to them. Also useful is the detailed index, and notes concluding each chapter aid the reader in finding more information. Case studies are signaled by gray-toned boxes.

Consumerism is an inescapable fact of everyone’s everyday life. All too often the huge buying power of mothers is ignored by retailers, even in this day and age, partly because retailers have failed to tailor their image of “mom” to today’s reality. Clements and Thompson seek to rectify that disparity in order to better understand America’s most powerful consumer.

About the Author: Teri Lucie Thompson, ’78, MSE ’87, is the vice president for marketing and media at Purdue University. She and her husband have created a scholarship endowment, The Lucie Critical Thinking Award, for an outstanding senior critical thinker at U-High, where she is a former faculty member. She currently lives in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Janda, Kenneth, Jeffrey M. Berry, Jerry Goldman. The Challenge of Democracy: American Government in Global Politics. 11th ed.

Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012. 848pp.

Summary: The 11th edition of the highly regarded textbook The Challenge of Democracy is a heavy tome, but easy for students and professors to use in political science or American government courses. It is divided into six major topics: Dilemmas of Democracy, Foundations of American Government, Linking People with Government, Institutions of Government, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, and Making Public Policy. The detailed Table of Contents clearly delineates the subtopics within each category.

In their Preface, the authors explain why this edition, published only two years after the previous edition, is necessary. Since the autumn of 2008, the many upheavals in the banking and mortgage sectors have caused enormous changes in perspectives about and confidence in the American economy. The hope generated by the election of President Barack Obama has diminished, and the economic problems that began long before he took office continue to plague us. Consequently, the authors have paid particular attention to the many policy changes put into place by the president and the Democratic Congress.

But The Challenge of Democracy is not only about current events. The authors “use the recent past to illustrate enduring features of American government.” The theme introduced in chapter one discusses one of the main conflicts in a democracy: balancing the values of freedom and equality with the values of freedom and order.

The textbook is nicely designed. In addition to the detailed Table of Contents and the many references for each chapter, there is a special section of innovative teaching tools for the instructor. Tables, charts, marginal glosses, and color photographs supplement the text. An extensive Glossary will aid students at all levels.

About the Author: Kenneth Janda, ’57, is Payson S. Wild Professor Emeritus from the Political Science Department at Northwestern University, Evanston, where he taught since 1961. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Political Organizations and Parties Section of the American Political Science Association (2000), and the Frank J. Goodnow Award from the American Political Science Association (2009).

Kaminski, Theresa. Citizen of Empire: Ethel Thomas Herold, an American in the Philippines

Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2011. 304pp.

Summary: Ethel Thomas Herold (1896-1988) is probably not a name most people would immediately recognize. She was an ordinary woman whose sense of patriotic duty took her in 1922 to the Philippines from a small town in Wisconsin. She spent most of the next 37 years there, including three years in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Theresa Kaminski relates Herold’s fascinating story in Citizen of Empire.

Herold’s older brother went to the Philippines in 1901 as a schoolteacher. Shaped partly by their experiences during World War I, Herold and her husband, Elmer, felt teaching in public schools was a way to spread American ideals abroad. They arrived in the Islands in 1922. Although she quit teaching in 1927 to raise a family, she continued to support American imperialism. However, her comfortable life fell apart when the Japanese attacked the Philippines in 1941, and she and the other colonial elite were made prisoners. Undaunted by their travails, Ethel and Elmer stayed in the Islands to help the Filipinos who had supported them during Occupation. With Philippine independence in1946, however, they began to feel estranged. They returned to Wisconsin in 1959, where she remained politically active.

Kaminski fleshes out these bare facts to give us a fully formed picture of this brave and strong woman. At the same time, we get a better sense of the actualization of imperialistic ideology in a private American’s life. The narrative of Herold’s years stateside provide another glimpse into everyday life against the backdrop of political and social events provided by Kaminski’s extensive research. For example, when she entered the workforce in 1917, the patterns of women’s work were in transition, due partly to the war but also to the demand for franchisement. Teaching conferred a way to express “her patriotism in a manner consistent with the ‘new woman’ model that had influenced [Ethel Thomas] during her college years” (p.51).

Herold’s observations while in the Philippines provide a view of Filipino society and politics, as well as of the woman herself, particularly before and during World War II and leading up to independence. This interesting biography includes several photographs, extensive bibliography, and detailed index.

About the Author: Theresa Kaminski, M.S. ’85, is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she specializes in American women’s history. Her previous book is Prisoners in Paradise: American Women in the Wartime South Pacific.

Truckenbrod, Miles. Girl-Shaped Shadows

Chicago: Second City Books, 2011. 112pp.

Summary: Miles Truckenbrod is both author and protagonist in Girl-Shaped Shadows, where the real world blends with the world of fiction in a unique and sometimes profound way. Following loosely in the tradition of prose works, such as Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy and John Barth’s Lost in the Funhouse, the first chapter of this novella contains the 11 sentences its title “Eleven Sentences” promises.

The first-person narrative combines details of Miles’ travels with his evolving perceptions of his world. Sometimes, as with the opening of the third chapter, “The Voice of Reason,” he addresses his alter ego: “Strippers vs. cattle? Seriously? That is how you choose to begin this little, uh, whatever it is you’re doing here, Miles? I mean, honestly, your family members, at best, are probably the only people that are going to read this thing.”

Others have read Girl-Shaped Shadows as well, and the novella’s short chapters and minimal plot development encourage the reader to dip into the book at various points. Usually, chapter titles can guide our selection. Examples include: “Thoughts of a Nautical Nature” (chapter 14), “The F Word” (chapter 11), and “Sexual Chocolate “ (chapter 6). “Embassy Suites Hotel, Rogers, Arkansas, Friday, March 12, 2004, 7:00 p.m.” (chapter 10) is one narrative of Truckenbrod’s experiences in that hotel chain.

Written in a colloquial, almost stream of consciousness style, Girl-Shaped Shadows is an energetic introduction of a new writer.

About the Author: Miles Truckenbrod ’06 works as a logistics coordinator for a major injection molding manufacturer. He currently lives in Mendota.

Wilson, Christine K. Faces of Hope: A Family Album

Mustang, Oklahoma: Tate Publishing, 2011. 88pp.

Summary: Faces of Hope is designed similar to a photo album in style and size. Each page displays a black-and-white photograph by Christine K. Wilson of a boy or girl with Down syndrome, accompanied by a quote from a close family member of that child. Wilson, a former special education teacher, intends Faces of Hope to inspire families of Down syndrome children, as well as to educate others. “Doctors will share with parents and family members the medical aspects, but not always the joy that comes along with having a child with Down syndrome,” says Wilson (Pollack).

One of Christine Wilson’s twin boys is a Down syndrome child. His is the first photograph in the album. The children are charming, their beauty captured by Wilson’s lens. A favorite is Diane, whose mother writes, “It always amazes me how much love she puts into each hug.” Audrina’s parents tell us, “Children with Down syndrome are like flowers. All are born differently, but equally beautiful.”

Faces of Hope will appeal to many—family members of a Down syndrome child, as well as those who appreciate the skill of a children’s photographer. Printed on glossy paper, the black-and-white candid images illustrate more clearly than paragraphs of text the many positive emotions evoked by such children. Wilson says that her book is “a simple offering to help dispel worry and bring hope during times of uncertainty”(Preface).

About the Author: Christine K. Wilson, ’85, taught special education in a variety of public school districts in Connecticut, New York, and California. She is active in the National Down Syndrome Society and the Connecticut Down Syndrome Congress, among other organizations. She resides in Madison, Connecticut, with her husband and three sons.

Citation: news article by Harrison Pollack.

 

Comments

Very nice brief review. Thanks!

Sometimes we have to consider also the ability of the school of producing such quality graduates. But there are some individuals whose talent is already there and just need a little development.