The Fate of Africa
From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair : A History of Fifty Years of Independence

Pride & Prejudice

Bee Season
A Novel

The Measure of a Mountain
Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier

Mind Over Water Lessons on Life From the Art of Rowing

New Acquisitions


This special issue of New and Notable features the books selected by Seattle University President Fr. Stephen Sundborg, Associate Dean Donna Deming, and Professors John Mitchell and Susan McClellan for the library’s READ poster display. We have included faculty quotes explaining why these books have special significance.

The Fate of Africa
From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair
A History of Fifty Years of Independence

By Martin Meredith

New York: Public Affairs, 2005
DT30.5.M455 2005

From Fr. Sundborg
“2005 was supposed to be ‘The Year of Africa’ but other world news didn't allow that to happen. Africa has for so long a time been marginalized and of little strategic interest to us. I have long felt that the people of Africa deserve our attention more than any other people. So when the book The Fate of Africa by the well-informed commentator, Martin Meredith, came along and I saw that it was a history of fifty years of independence, I decided this was where I needed to start to lay a solid foundation of knowledge of the people of the forgotten continent. It is far and away the best and most important book I have read in the last year and has opened up much wider reading and interest about what I believe matters most. At a university with the motto 'Connecting the Mind to What Matters,' this really counts.”

From the Publisher
Today, Africa is a continent rife with disease, death, and devastation. Most African countries are effectively bankrupt, prone to civil strife, subject to dictatorial rule, and dependent on Western assistance for survival. The sum of Africa's misfortunes — its wars, its despotisms, its corruption, its droughts — is truly daunting. … What went wrong? What happened to this vast continent, so rich in resources, culture and history, to bring it so close to destitution and despair in the space of two generations?

Focusing on the key personalities, events and themes of the independence era, Martin Meredith's riveting narrative history seeks to explore and explain the myriad problems that Africa has faced in the past half-century, and faces still. From the giddy enthusiasm of the 1960s to the "coming of tyrants" and rapid decline, The Fate of Africa is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how it came to this — and what, if anything, is to be done.

About the Author
Written with a passionate focus on Africa, it’s recent evolution and plight, Martin Meredith’s books include Coming to Terms: South Africa’s Search For Truth, In the Name of Apartheid, Nelson Mandela, and Our Votes and Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe. The author and commentator worked as a foreign correspondent for the London Observer and Sunday Times. He was also a research fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, England.

Additional Information Online

Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen

New York: Modern Library, 1996
PR4034.P72 1996

From Associate Dean Deming

“Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of the most cherished love stories in English literature: the courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. As in any good love story, the lovers must elude and overcome numerous stumbling blocks but the ending is emotionally satisfying. Austen shows the power of love and happiness to overcome class boundaries and prejudices, a theme that parallels my own personal life. Another theme is that a person cannot be judged by his or her outer being but rather it is character that counts. A pretty face does not indicate a pure soul.

I read to escape. I enjoy books that take me to another time and place. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I am transported to 19th century England (or at least a romanticized version of that place). In addition to the romantic story line and the vividly drawn characters, I enjoy that this book was written by a woman at a time when English society associated a female’s entrance into the public sphere with a loss of femininity.”

From the Publisher

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's perfect comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. "Pride and Prejudice seems as vital today as ever," writes Anna Quindlen in her introduction to this Modern Library edition. "It is a pure joy to read." Eudora Welty agrees: "The gaiety is unextinguished, the irony has kept its bite, the reasoning is still sweet, the sparkle undiminished. [It is] irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be."

About the Author

Jane Austen depicted 18th and 19th century middle class manners with insight, wit, and irony. The English novelist’s novels Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey all were made into films. Acclaimed and exemplified as a master story writer today, Jane Austen received little public recognition during her lifetime. The author published much of her writing anonymously; she died at the age of 41. Many of her now revered writings were published posthumously. Jane Austen Societies exist world-wide where members gather to further their understanding, promote, and share their admiration of this great author’s work.

Additional Information Online

Bee Season
A Novel

By Myla Goldberg

 New York: Anchor Books, 2001
PS3557.O35819B44 2001

From Professor Mitchell

“The ability to write good fiction has always been a marvelous mystery to me. How can someone believably create other minds, other worlds? I have still no inkling; but the author of Bee Season took me on an unforgettable ride through the workings of an extraordinary mind. Here is a family – far more dysfunctional than yours or mine, each member in his or her own way seeking mystical perfection – and at the center of it all is a fabulous young heroine whose astounding ability to spell nearly breaks the family apart, and whose decency and wisdom ultimately makes familial salvation possible. But this ability to spell is not that of someone who never misses a word on a spelling test. It exists on a dimension that, but for the book, we could never imagine; for in the author’s exquisite description of her mental processes, we of plodding, earnest minds for a moment are given a glimpse of what pure genius looks like.”

From the Publisher
Myla Goldberg's keen eye for detail brings Eliza's journey to three-dimensional life. As she rises from classroom obscurity to the blinding lights and outsized expectations of the National Bee, Eliza's small pains and large joys are finely wrought and deeply felt. … Not merely a coming-of-age story, Goldberg's first novel delicately examines the unraveling fabric of one family. The outcome of this tale is as startling and unconventional as her prose, which wields its metaphors sharply and rings with maturity. The work of a lyrical and gifted storyteller, Bee Season marks the arrival of an extraordinarily talented new writer.

"Bee Season is a profound delight, an amazement, a beauty, and is, I hope, a book of the longest of seasons."
—Jane Hamilton, author of A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth

About the Author
Known particularly for her lyrical and creative writing style, Myla Goldberg’s short stories have appeared in many journals and anthologies including Harper’s, Ploughshares, and the Translantic Review. She was awarded the 2001 Edward Lewis Wallant Award and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize for her writing. Her book, Bee Season, was named a New York Times Notable Book in 2000 and made into a film. She is the author of Time’s Magpie: a Walk in Prague, Rosalind: A Family Romance and Whistling and Other Stories. Her most recent novel, Wickett’s Remedy: a Novel, a portrayal of a young Irish-American woman’s triumphant struggles during the Great Flu epidemic of 1918, was published in 2005. Myla Goldberg teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

Additional Information Online


Myla Goldberg’s Biography

The Measure of a Mountain
Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier

By Bruce Barcott

 Seattle: Sasquatch Books, c1997
F897.R2B23 1997

From Professor McClellan “Growing up in the Seattle area, I naturally referred to The Mountain, The Lake, and The Sound, without giving a thought to how those dominant features helped shape my very being. Mt. Rainier is a magnet. I have hiked and skied its flanks, carrying my skis to Camp Muir and skiing down; climbed seracs on the Nisqually Glacier; and eventually climbed to the top, reveling in the grandeur, feeling fully humbled by the experience. The Mountain taught me many lessons, disciplining my passion for life in the process, yet giving me strength to pursue new goals. Writers have recognized the power of both mountains and water to help shape a soul. Justice William O. Douglas, in his autobiographical work entitled Of Men and Mountains, paid tribute to the Cascade Mountains for transforming an asthmatic child into a respected mountaineer and a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In recent years I discovered a book by Bruce Barcott entitled The Measure of a Mountain that seems to capture and relate many aspects of The Mountain’s mystic power, from the simple delights to the tragedies. By selecting this book, I pay my own tribute to The Mountain and to the writing talent of Mr. Barcott.”

From the Publisher
Mount Rainier is the largest most dangerous volcano in the country. Looming above Washington State, it is visited by millions, climbed by thousands, and romanticized, as the most potent icon of the region. Yet it is a mountain that few truly know. … In The Measure of a Mountain, writer Bruce Barcott sets out to know Rainier. His method is exploratory, meandering, personal.

From forest to precipice, Bruce Barcott explores not just the natural place of Rainier but also the psychology and the meaning of all mountains. In this debut book, he proves himself to be a remarkably talented writer--engaging, humorous, and infectiously absorbed in his subject.

About the Author
Local author Bruce Barcott is an avid outdoorsman. His stories and articles have been published in Boston Phoenix, Harpers, Legal Affairs, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, New York Times Magazine, Outside, Seattle Weekly, Slate, Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, and Utne. He edited Northwest Passages: a Literary Anthology of the Pacific Northwest from Coyote Tales to Roadside Attractions. Recognized with journalism prizes nationally and locally, the author counts among his awards The Washington State Book Award for The Measure of a Mountain.

Additional Information Online

Mind Over Water
Lessons on Life From the Art of Rowing

By Craig Lambert

Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,1998
GV790.92.L35A3 1998

From Professor McClellan

“I have also selected Craig Lambert’s Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life from the Art of Rowing, a book that recognizes, even in its title, the formative force of spending time on the water. Although Mr. Lambert writes about the Charles River, rather than about The Lake or The Sound, the rhythm of rowing he describes, like the rhythm of breathing, helps provide insights and order for our busy lives. I row on The Sound, and this book about rowing is a tribute to The Sound as well.”

From the Publisher
In this wise and thrilling book, Craig Lambert turns rowing—personal discipline, modern Olympic sport, grand collegiate tradition, and fitness pursuit for thousands of men and women--into a metaphor for a vigorous and satisfying life. Skimming the plane where sky and water meet, rowers must fully inhabit the present moment, whether facing their demons in a single scull or discovering the paradoxes of teamwork and commitment in a crew shell. This is a book about balance, attaining consistency and speed, independence and cooperation, joy and creative powers. Filled with humor and imagination, Mind Over Water speaks to rowers and non-rowers alike.

About the Author
Craig Lambert is both an accomplished author and athlete. The author trains and competes for major rowing events. His articles and reviews have appeared in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, and Town & Country. His recent article, “Marketplace of Perceptions,” appears in the March/April 2006 issue of Harvard Magazine, for which he is a staff writer and editor.

Additional information online


Law Library Seal

Compiled by Nancy Minton;
Technical Direction Greg Soejima