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Strobe Talbott '68, Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and Nayan Chanda, Director of Publications/YCSG, editors
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11 came the inevitable questions: Why did this happen and would we be all right? From the YCSG has come a book of eight essays, all but one written by a Yale professor or graduate, that explore the events leading to the attacks and their implications.
The writers have assembled incisive examinations of such topics as globalization, extremism, history, policy, strategy, values, science, and the clash of cultures and civilizations. “Let there be no mistake,” writes John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History, in the book’s lead essay, “this was evil, and no set of grievances, real or imagined, however strongly felt or widely held, can excuse it. At the same time, though, neither our outrage nor the patriotic unity that is arising from it relieves us of the obligation to think critically.”
Gaddis’s elegant consideration of how the U.S. has conducted itself in the post–Cold War period is neither jingoistic nor a recriminatory mea culpa. He offers lessons from history, and the other essayists follow suit. Abbas Amanat, professor of Middle Eastern history, provides an especially useful exploration of the roots of Islamic extremism, while Paul Kennedy, the J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History, writes about the challenges that affect the longterm maintenance of American power. International security expert Charles Hill tackles the myths behind terrorism; law professor Harold Koh looks at human rights; and Niall Ferguson, of Oxford, explores the tests the U.S. faces as the world’s only superpower. Management and political science professor Paul Bracken critiques the intelligence and defense establishments; and Maxine Singer '57PhD, biologist and president of the Carnegie Institution, uses the example set by Franklin Roosevelt’s science adviser Vannevar Bush as a model for how the U.S. can mobilize its research prowess against biological and nuclear terrorism.
Taken together, these essays help the reader find solid ground on which to make sense of September 11 and its aftermath. Their goal, write Talbott and Chandra, is to explore"the principal lessons, goals, and caveats that should guide us as we recover.”
Maggie Jackson '82
The social and cultural revolutions of the past 30 years have changed the way we think of home. Women are no longer expected to be domestics. Men and women alike, aided and abetted by computers, cell phones, and other technological wizardry, may work so many hours that they’re almost never home—or, again because of technology, it is now possible to blur the boundaries between work and home.
There have been many explorations of the impact the Information Age has had on homelife, but in this account, part personal diary, part investigation of the avatars of an evolving lifestyle, journalist Maggie Jackson examines how technologies and the 24/7 ways of doing business are changing the very concept of home.
The author visits such places as a New York City apartment equipped with wall-to-wall computer monitors that enable its occupants, both financiers, to be continuously connected to global markets. She tours companies, often ending in dot-com, so rich in services—they provide everything from pancake breakfasts and yoga classes to child-care and in-house dry cleaning—that workers never need to leave. At MIT’s Media Lab, Jackson witnesses the creation of technologies designed to keep users in perpetual, though virtual, touch with one another, and in Sweden, she sees how entrepreneurs, executives, and ordinary workers alike are adapting to modern-day incursions into their traditional concepts of home.
What is remarkable—or not, depending on one’s orientation—is how often these experiments have failed. “Home needn’t be a feminine sphere, nor one properly created only by Ozzie and Harriet,” says Jackson. But there are certain bedrock requirements that just may be hardwired into the species: a sense of rootedness, of place, of sharing and forging human relationships that are not based on the exigencies of work, and of refuge from a modern plague—electronic overconnectedness.
Calvin Trillin '57
As men age, they have been known to do unusual things, and in Calvin Trillin’s first novel, the veteran humorist examines the attempt by protagonist and mailing list maven Murray Tepper to return to his glory days. The result is a witty send-up of New York City, urban life, celebrity, and a paranoid mayor who resembles a pre-Sept. 11 (and not exactly heroic) Rudolph Giuliani.
“Some people take parking very seriously,” Tepper tells his friend Jack. While New Yorkers tend to take parking, which is always in short supply, more seriously than most of the world, Tepper raises this concern to obsessive heights. What has his friends and family concerned is that Tepper has a garage for his car and no longer needs to cruise the city in search of a “beautiful spot.” But certain age-old urges have taken hold and Tepper suddenly finds himself parking nonetheless.
In other locales, a person reading the paper in a Chevy Malibu in a legal place with plenty of time left on the parking meter would attract scant attention. But this is New York, and the fact that Tepper isn’t going out of his spot attracts a newspaper reporter, whose story about this curious pastime elevates Murray to folk-hero status. As people begin to seek him out for homespun advice, this alternate-side analyst draws crowds, then the attention of Mayor Frank “Il Duce” Ducavelli.
The city’s Mussolini-esque leader is dedicated to disarming the always-threatening “forces of disorder,” and his efforts to squelch the Tepper phenomenon, of course, go awry. In the tumult that follows, Trillin exercises his well-honed skills of describing the foibles and idiosyncracies of New York and New Yorkers. In addition, this gentle novel features a rapacious literary agent eager to cash in on Tepper, a crusading writer, the avenging angels of the ACLU, the hunt for a mythical mailing list whose members will buy any tchotchke through the mail, and, above it all, the search for a nice whitefish.
David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History
In a distinguished career as historian, director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, and author, Professor David Brion Davis has illuminated painful, controversial subjects. (See “The Slavery Legacy”, Feb 2002. This collection finds him equally effective within the narrower scope of the essay.
Davis brings insight, for instance, to the tortuous relationship between African Americans and American Jews. The affinities of these two victimized groups—a familiarity that bred bitterness and accusations of condescension on one side, ingratitude on the other—Davis keeps it all in perspective, balances claim and counterclaim, argues nuances, and nurtures hope for a resumption of productive dialog. Similar balance and resonance mark his survey of the Jewish experience in America and his corrective adjudication of the nature and extent of the role of Jews in the Atlantic slave trade. Something of a counterpart to the latter is provided by “Slaves in Islam,” which points out that slavery in the Near East predated the advent of the institution in the West and was still practiced there as late as 1960. As he remarks with irony, “Like algebra and knowledge of the Greek classics, racial slavery appears to have been one of the Arabs' contributions to Western civilization.”
At a time when the slavery in our history continues to haunt and divide the nation, Davis argues that “while posterity has the right and even duty to judge the past, we must emphatically renounce the dangerous though often seductive belief in a collective guilt that descends through time to every present and future generation.”
Paul F. Boller Jr. '39, ‘47PhD
Frederick Crews '55
John Klein '75
Madelon Sprengnether '71PhD
Keith Steiner '50
Alita Anderson 2001MD
Patricia Backlar 1955Dra and David L. Cutler, Editors
Richard O. Bierregaard Jr. 1973BS, Claude Gascon, Thomas E. Lovejoy 1964BS, 1971PhD, and Rita Mesquita
Leonard Downie Jr. and Robert G. Kaiser 1964
John Farina 1976MDiv, Editor
Benjamin C. Fortna 1984
J. Ellen Gainor 1983MFA
L. Goodrich 1952
L. Greene, Geoffrey L. Grief, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, and Kenneth
I. Maton 1974
Harms 1988MAH, Professor of History
Y. Harris 1991MPH
Hirson 1980, Essayist and Playwright
P. Hollenbeck and Morgan W. McCall 1970
B. Matheson, Molly and Walter Bareiss Curator of Ancient Art, Yale
Behre Miskimin 1982, 1991PhD
E. Pritchett 1991JD
Barlow Rogers 1964MCP
F. Simon 1961, 1964LLB
C. Simpson 1968, 1978PhD
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