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New books by Swarthmore graduates

Shelley Fisher Fishkin ’71 

Writing America: Literary Landmarks from Walden Pond to Wounded Knee
Rutgers University Press

“Places, like works of literature, are open to multiple interpretations,” states Fishkin in this guide to the physical places and imaginative terrains of many of America’s greatest authors. Through the prism of more than 150 National Register historic sites, this eclectic, essential work honors authors’ voices both mainstream and underrepresented. Thought- and even tear-provoking, Writing America will leave you in awe of the writers whose worlds and words comprise our country’s canon. Lovers of American lit, commence salivating.


Ellen Mutari ’78 and Deborah M. Figart 

Just One More Hand: Life in the Casino Economy
Rowman & Littlefield

Inspired by a simple question—“Could you build a life working in Atlantic City’s booming casinos?”—Mutari and Figart investigate the complex answer’s very human face. Underpinning their analyses with real-life experiences of casino housekeepers and cocktail waitresses, pit bosses and poker dealers, they find the gaming industry—and the economic footing of its employees—in flux, an apt lens for a new economic order. “Our study participants are living in a casino economy,” they write. “But, increasingly, so are the rest of us.”


Edward Dallam Melillo ’97

Strangers on Familiar Soil: Rediscovering the Chile-California Connection
Yale University Press

Beginning with a potato—brought from Chile and introduced to California by a French expedition in 1786—and ending with the 2008 visit of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to the Golden State, Melillo explores the reciprocal relationship that shaped both places and their people. He draws on a remarkable array of source material, including maritime bills of lading, letters from gold prospectors, and notarized debt peonage contracts. Ultimately and most intriguingly, the author concludes, “California and Chile appear quintessentially American in its broadest sense.”


Gail Rodney ’68

A Martha’s Vineyard & Chappy Sketchbook
Vineyard Stories

“I did not suspect in 1975 that I was marrying Chappaquiddick,” writes Rodney in the introduction to this watercolor valentine to island life. Her love is evident in every delicate, wry line of this charming sketchbook, which evokes the squiggly warmth of Roz Chast. Accompanying portraits of snapping turtles and used-bookshop browsers are testimonials from 28 Vineyarders about what makes this area so magical. Our favorite? “It’s still a beautiful place to share with a good dog.”