Two from the Tribune--On two consecutive Sundays in September, the books page of the Chicago Tribune featured reviews by Mount Holyoke scholars. On September 22, President Joanne Creighton, who has devoted much of her scholarship to the work of Joyce Carol Oates, reviewed two new offerings by that prolific writer, the novel We Were the Mulvaneys and First Love: A Gothic Tale. According to Creighton, the first is a well-wrought tale of a family's reaction to tragedy, the second an overwrought and over-the-top portrait of depravity. Taken together, the two new works display the dual impulses that seem to pervade Oates's work.
On September 15, Joseph Ellis, Ford Foundation Professor of History and a scholar who has given considerable thought to the meaning of the Vietnam conflict, reviewed a new study of that war, The Living and the Dead, by Paul Hendrickson. Propelled by powerful and at times cinematic writing, and focusing on warrior-technocrat Robert McNamara, the new history, Ellis writes, "affords the opportunity to experience the hyperbolic passions and prejudices of those horrific but thrilling days of yesteryear in a book that is ... an indictment and an exhibit of the hubris that led to the tragedy."