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In Print

Rev. Scotty McLennan ’70
Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up with Has Lost Its Meaning
Harper/San Francisco, $24

Fans of the comic strip “Doonesbury” have long enjoyed the quirky ministry of the Reverend Scot Sloan, the spiritual leader of the Little Church of Walden. But the strip’s creator, Garry Trudeau ’70, ’73MFA, did not invent this memorable character simply out of the turbulent air of his undergraduate years. While the Reverend William Sloane Coffin, Yale’s chaplain during that time and a leading antiwar activist, was one inspiration, the cartoon clergyman’s bearded face, as well as a good deal of his politics, belongs to Scotty McLennan, a fellow member of the Class of 1970 and the long-time chaplain of Tufts University.

“Of all the impressive characters I encountered in college in the late sixties, the most unsettling—by far—was the author of this book,” writes Trudeau in the introduction to Finding Your Religion. “It wasn’t just the sweep of his erudition; it was its maddening functionality—the quiet certainty with which he linked the acquisition of knowledge to his personal goals, which were fixed and true … For those of us with broken rudders and low draft numbers, Scotty’s direct path seemed unreal, all the more so because it was illuminated by a faith that many of us had long ago abandoned.

Faith continues to illuminate McLennan’s life, but as he reveals in a book that is as challenging as it is inspirational, the Reverend’s spiritual roadmap has been filled with numerous twists and turns. And this, McLennan would argue, is precisely how it should be. “I have learned a great deal about how people lose and find their own religion,” he says. “I’ve come to see it very much as an ongoing process that never stops.”

The author notes that “no matter what [your] religious tradition is or isn’t,” recent work in developmental psychology suggests that spiritual development goes through six distinct stages. The hallmark of each is one’s relationship with the deity. In the magic stage, God is experienced as all-powerful; in the reality stage, God is cause-and-effect. The dependence stage is marked by God-as-parent, the independence stage by a distant or non-existent deity, the Interdependence stage by a paradoxical God, and finally, at the Unity stage, God is all-pervasive.

To illustrate how the stages play out, McLennan offers multidenominational tales of people he’s known and counseled, as well as his own story of moving from belief to disillusionment and back again. These internal wrestling matches with a number of the world’s major religious traditions are provocative, and they reinforce the author’s central theme. “The point is to enjoy the journey,” says McLennan, “to find fulfillment in our pilgrimage on the [spiritual] mountain itself, rather than to miss everything along the way in pursuit of the summit.”


Joan Kron ’48CDR
Lift: Wanting, Fearing, and Having a Face-Lift
Viking, $23.95

“We want to believe it’s what’s inside that counts,” writes Joan Kron, an accomplished journalist on the cosmetic surgery beat. “But we know—from a lifetime of flattery, slights, deferential gestures, averted eyes, and other signs of approval and disapproval—that appearances count, too.”

In the early 1990s, Kron, who is “older than Gloria Steinem and younger than Helen Gurley Brown,” took on a magazine assignment that had her visiting some of New York City’s finest plastic surgeons under the pretense of shopping for a face-lift. Early in her reporting, she had looked at a postoperative patient who was hemorrhaging and vowed, “Not me, ever.” But “sometime between the first phone call and the last office visit, I had crossed the line from stealth journalist to consumer,” Kron writes. She had a face- and eye-lift and lip peel, and five years later, she made another trip to the “face factory.”

In intimate and sometimes unsparing detail, Kron tells readers all about it. Anyone contemplating “growing old disgracefully” will find this book a valuable source of information about how the various available procedures work and how a patient recovers from the surgery.

But there is more here than meets the eyeliner. Lift includes plenty of revealing gossip: Marilyn Monroe’s cartilage graft on her chin, Lucille Ball’s attempt to enter the hospital, incognito, for an eye lift by dressing like a cleaning lady, Dolly Parton’s admissions of having had “nips and tucks and trims and sucks,” and many others. There are also fascinating accounts of medical history. For example, the first nose jobs were performed around 700 B.C. on Assyrian kings and princes who thought so highly of hooked beaks that they opted for ivory implants. Nero’s wife, a devotee of milk facials (an early form of acid treatment), “traveled with a flock of 400 she-asses.” And then there were the face peelers, people who were right on the line between miracle worker and charlatan, and “Hollywood’s biggest beauty secret.”

But more than a treatise on technique, its practitioners, and their subjects, Lift is a meditation on beauty, and an honest recounting of Kron’s “internal dialogue” before and after surgery. “You are your face,” says Kron. “Change it, ignore it, restore it, let it go, fix it up—it will affect the way others see you. And the way you see yourself.”


Karen Foster ’76PhD
The City of Rainbows: A Tale from Ancient Sumer
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, $6.95

“Once, a very long time ago, King Mer-kar ruled over the city of Uruk in ancient Sumer.”

So begins a magical story that was first written down more than 4,000 years ago, and in this retelling of one of the world’s oldest folktales, the author introduces children—and their parents—to the civilization that flourished between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now southern Iraq. Foster, a visiting professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, has produced a handsome little book, which features cut-paper illustrations by the author that are based on Sumerian mosaics.

“The story features a wise king, a foolish king, a wicked sorcerer, a good witch, and, of course, lots of talking animals,” says Foster, who developed the tale from her interpretation of Adele Berlin’s 1979 translation of 33 cuneiform tablets that together comprise an epic Sumerian narrative poem.

The City of Rainbows revolves around jealousy, bad communications (one king, who can’t read, mistakes the wedge-shaped letters on a cuneiform tablet for a picture of a pending invasion), and a misinterpreted vision. There is also a sorcerer who abuses his powers, and a novice witch who attempts to best him and bring balance back into the world.

“It’s terribly old, and terribly new,” says Foster. “Hearing it, you realize that the human imagination was just as alive then as it is now.”


Patrick Pinnell ’71, ’74MArch
The Campus Guide: Yale University
Princeton Architectural Press, $21.95

As has been noted in these pages before (See “Yale’s Tallest Tales,” Mar. 1998), the citizens of Yale are fond of making up stories to explain the many eccentricities of campus buildings. In a new guide to the campus, Patrick Pinnell ’71, ’74MArch, who taught at the School of Architecture for 18 years, tells the real stories that explain “the many instances of mysterious building behaviors” at Yale.

And in some cases, they are as engaging as the myths. Pinnell explains that Weir Hall and the Art Gallery sculpture garden were part of a failed plan of a Skull and Bones alumnus to create an Oxford-style quadrangle for the society. And not only does he observe—in case you hadn’t noticed—that Kirtland Hall has a Classical portico almost identical to the one on the Skinner-Trowbridge house further up Hillhouse Avenue, he tells why: The donor who paid for Kirtland lived in the house, and the architect reproduced the house’s porch as an hommage to the patron.

Pinnell’s book is one of the publishers’ series of guides to American college campuses, but the volume is more ambitious than the average pocket-sized touring companion. The color photographs are generous in size, and lengthy introductions to each of ten “campus walks” relate a good deal of history, not just of the physical Yale but of the University as a whole.

While the format may not be ideal as a “field guide” for people on the move, it is enlightening armchair reading, even for those who think they know the campus.


Brief Reviews

P. L. Whitney ’83MA
This Is Graceanne’s Book
St. Martin’s Press, $22.95

A bittersweet novel tells the story of a brother and sister who, through a combination of intelligence and grit, manage to transcend child abuse, poverty, and prejudice as they grow up in the early 1960s in a small Missouri town along the Mississippi River.


Joan Williams ’74
Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It
Oxford University Press, $30

The current way of organizing our working life is bad for men, women, and children. Gender discrimination lies at the heart of the conflict between family and career, says the author.


R. W. B. Lewis, Professor Emeritus of English, and Nancy Lewis
American Characters: Selections from the National Portrait Gallery, Accompanied by Literary Portraits
Yale University Press, $45

From Jonathan Edwards to Walt Disney, the Lewises use pictures from the National Gallery to portray U.S. history.


Frank Ostroff ’87JD
The Horizontal Organization: What the Organization of the Future Actually Looks Like and How It Delivers Value to Customers
Oxford University Press, $27.50

The “top down” hierarchy that has characterized corporate structure no longer works, says the author, who presents real-world success stories of horizontally organized companies.


Robin Magowan ’64PhD
Memoirs of a Minotaur: From Merrill Lynch to Patty Hearst to Poetry
Story Line Press, $16.95

Growing up wealthy can have its downside: a lifetime spent trying to escape from the “labyrinth” of social and family pressures. The writer recounts his wild and memorable journey to freedom.


Alina Bacall-Zwirn and Jared Stark ’89, ’98PhD
No Common Place: The Holocaust Testimony of Alina Bacall-Zwirn
University of Nebraska Press, $30

Using interviews and letters, Jared Stark weaves “a story made up of knots and tears” of the Holocaust experiences of the late Alina Bacall-Zwirn.


More Books by Yale Authors

Carolee Brockman ’80
Going for Great
Pleasant Company/American Girl Fiction, $5.95

J. Kenneth Brody ’44, ’49LLB
The Avoidable War, Volume 2: Pierre Laval and the Politics of Reality, 1935-1936
Transaction Books, $24.95

Henry Leroy Finch ’40 (deceased)
Edited by Martin Andic
Simon Weil and the Intellect of Grace
Continuum Press, $29.95

Rufus Goodwin ’57
Give Us This Day: The Story of Prayer
Lindisfarne Books, $24.95

Larry Gwin ’63
Baptism: A Vietnam Memoir
Ivy Books/Random House, $6.99

Jodi Hauptman ’95PhD
Joseph Cornell: Stargazing in the Cinema
Yale University Press, $40

Matthew Frye Jacobson, Associate Professor of American Studies and History
Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race
(Winner of the John Hope Franklin Award for the best book published in the field of American studies in 1999)
Harvard University Press, $16.95

C. Brian Kelly ’57 and Ingrid-Smyer-Kelly
Best Little Stories from the White House, with First Ladies in Review
Cumberland House, $14.95

Beryl Lang ’54
The Future of the Holocaust: Between History and Memory
Cornell University Press, $45

Nelson Lee ’83, editor
Juan Cabanilles and His Contemporaries: Keyboard Music from the Felanitx Manuscripts, I
American Institute of Musicology/Hanssler-Verlag, $106

Daniel D. Luria and Joel Rogers ’72, ’75JD
Metro Futures: Economic Solutions for Cities and Their Suburbs
Beacon Press, $11

Michael L. Mark and Charles L. Gary ’39
A History of American Music Education
The National Association of Music Education, $25

Ted Mason Jr. ’48
Hostage to Fortune
Bartleby Press, $12.95

Tracey L. Meares and Dan M. Kahan ’90JD
Urgent Times: Policing and Rights in Inner-City Communities
Beacon Press, $11

Paul Kleber Monod ’85PhD
The Power of Kings: Monarchy and Religion in Europe, 1589–1715
Yale University Press, $35

James H. Moorhead ’75PhD
World Without End: Mainstream American Protestant Visions of the Last Things, 1880–1925
Indiana University Press, $29.95

Lianabel Oliver ’76
The Cost Management Toolbox: A Manager’s Guide to Controlling Costs and Boosting Profits
AMACOM, $28.95

Elizabeth Van Allen ’98PhD
James Whitcomb Riley: A Life
Indiana University Press, $29.95

Robert F. Sayer ’62PhD, editor
Recovering the Prairie
University of Wisconsin Press, $37.95

Sylvester J. Schieber and John B. Shoven ’73PhD
The Real Deal: The History and Future of Social Security
Yale University Press, $45

Eugene F. Shewmaker ’49MFA
Shakespeare’s Language: A Glossary of Unfamiliar Words in His Plays and Poems
Facts on File, $17.95

Peter Stansky ’53
From William Morris to Sergeant Pepper: Studies in the Radical Domestic
University of Washington Press, $49.50

Joseph F. Stepanek ’65
Wringing Success from Failure in Late-Developing Countries: Lessons from the Field
Praeger Publishers, $59.95

Karin von Hippel ’87
Democracy by Force: U.S. Military Intervention in the Post–Cold War World
Cambridge University Press, $49.95

Peter Wolf ’57
Hot Towns: The Future of the Fastest Growing Communities in America
Rutgers University Press, $27

Jeffrey Robert Young ’89
Domesticating Slavery: The Master Class in Georgia and South Carolina
University of North Carolina Press, $49.95

Eleonore M. Zimmermann ’56PhD
La Liberté et le Destin dans le Théâtre de Jean Racine Suivi de Deux Essais sur le Théâtre de Jean Racine
Editions Honoré Champion; Slatkine, 160 francs



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