Contact Us    Find People    Site Index
page header
 future students linkscurrent students linksfaculty and staff linksalumni linksparents linksvisitors links

Laurentian Reviews
Summer/Fall 2006

Martha I. Chew Sánchez, Corridos in Migrant Memory (University of New Mexico Press, 2005)

Corridos in Migrant Memory, a new book by Assistant Professor of Global Studies Martha I. Chew Sánchez, examines the role of traditional Mexican ballads in shaping the cultural memories and identities of transnational Mexican groups. Corridos are ballads particular to Mexican traditions that are used to analyze or recall a particular political, cultural and natural event important to the communities where they are performed. As part of the cultural memory, many of the most popular corridos express the immigrant experience: exploitation, surveillance and dehumanization stemming from racism and classism of the host country. The corrido helps Mexican immigrants in the United States to humanize, dignify and make sense of their transnational experiences as racial minorities. These narrative songs, dating from the earliest colonial times, recount the historical circumstances surrounding a model protagonist whose history embodies the everyday experiences and values of the community.
The University of New Mexico Press states, "The everyday experiences and cultural expressions of Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants have not found their way into textbooks in Mexico or in the United States. Martha Chew Sánchez's study provides a foundation upon which to build an understanding of the corrido."

Brian Mann, Welcome to the Homeland (Random House, 2006)

Brian Mann, a reporter for University-based North Country Public Radio, has published his first book, Welcome to the Homeland, which the publisher describes as a “unique blend of travelogue, political analysis, and family memoir.”
The book is, according to its publishers, an exploration of how “Homelanders - Mann's name for the nation's 50 million rural whites - have managed to dominate the conservative base of the Republican Party, the Senate and the Supreme Court, and to use the Electoral College, which favors small states, to their advantage. Ultimately, Homelanders are fighting to create a new national culture, one rooted in the traditional values of 19th-century America.”
Mann has covered rural America for 20 years, working for public radio stations and networks from Alaska to New York State. His award-winning stories appear regularly on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." In 2005, Mann won separate national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards: for coverage of the Iraq War and its impact on small towns, and for his reporting on the rural heroin epidemic. He grew up in rural Alaska and lives in the Adirondacks. In addition to working as a reporter and editor for North Country Public Radio, he is a commentator for Mountain Lake Public Television.

Brian Doe ’94 and Philip Harris, Waking God (Star Publish, 2006).

This self-published new work of speculative/science fiction is the first of a proposed trilogy.  Set in the near future, it takes the reader on a fast- paced adventure from Boston to Italy, Poland, France, Malta, the Azores and Mexico.  The assassination of a pope, battles with otherworldly beings, secret initiations, deep religious discussion and the introduction of the Tarot Code help to create a different view of Christianity which only the open-minded will appreciate. “We’re trying to stimulate a new religious reformation,” Doe told a local newspaper reporter, “to look at religious institutions that have outmoded themselves (by getting) so far away from the teachings of those people that came to teach humanity.”
            Doe was born in Ogdensburg, N.Y., and grew up on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. An English major at St. Lawrence, he is an English teacher in Malone, N.Y. 

LuAnn Warner-Prokos ’82 et al., Study Skills Tool Kit (Palm Tree Educational Press, 2003, 2006).

LuAnn Warner-Prokos ’82 is the principal author of this practical handbook written by three teachers/administrators with a combined 52 years of experience at Saint Andrew’s Middle School, Boca Raton, Fla.  The handbook is aimed at students in grades four through nine and presents a comprehensive study skills program in a colorful, creative, user-friendly way.  Sections cover such topics as identifying learning styles, setting goals, concentration strategies, memory aids, time management and preparing for tests.  Addenda address life skills for social success beyond the classroom, and hints on computer use and research. The booklet has garnered strong testimonials from students, teachers and parents.

Chris Angus ’72, ed., Oswegatchie: A North CountryRiver(North Country Books, 2006).

The Oswegatchie (the name is said to be a translation of a native word for “black water”) is one of many rivers that drain the northern Adirondacks, flowing in three branches from the rugged highlands to the St. Lawrence Valley floor where, combined into one stem, it flows eventually—complete with a 180-degree change of direction below Gouverneur—into the St. Lawrence. 
            Writer and Canton community activist Chris Angus (see “Coming Home,” St. Lawrence, Winter 2006, p. 43) has compiled an anthology of varied essays about the river and its watershed. Among contributors with Laurentian connections are Professor Emeritus of English and prolific outdoors writer Paul Jamieson, who still resides in Canton at age 103; Donald Morris, former professor of psychology; poet Maurice Kenny, recipient of both a North Country Citation and an honorary doctorate; University writer/editor and freelance writer Neal Burdick ’72; and Angus himself.  Angus has been published in several newspaper and magazines, and is the author of Reflections from Canoe Country, Images of America: St. Lawrence County (with Susan Woods) and The Extraordinary Adirondack Journey of Clarence Petty: Wilderness Guide, Pilot and Conservationist.

Bob Cowser Jr., Scorekeeping: Essays from Home (University of South Carolina Press, 2006).

Flush with the success of his memoir Dream Season, about one of his years with America’s oldest semi-professional football team, which calls Watertown, N.Y., home, Associate Professor of English Bob Cowser is back with a collection of 11 essays set in the places where he lived before moving to Canton. Many of these have as their locus Martin, Tenn., a small town where he did most of his growing up in the 1980s.

Place and family, buddies and incidents tie together seamlessly in these fluid pieces.  Not all of the images are pretty; murders (including that of a little girl who was a friend in first grade), executions and the downward spiral of small-town America as the trains stop coming through and the interstate goes by somewhere else pervade this volume, but Cowser handles these seeming inevitabilities, along with youth’s little victories, with gentleness, subtle humor and hope.  Ultimately, he is writing not just about himself, but also about us.

Erik E. Esckilsen ’86, The Outside Groove (Houghton Mifflin, 2006).

“It was amazing how much more there was to racecar driving than just driving around and around in circles” is the last sentence of this novel.  All the preceding ones portray how Casey LaPlante comes to this conclusion.  But there’s more going on here than meets the eye: Casey is a teenage girl, the sister of a local stock-car hero who decides she’d like a little attention too. This is a story of her education, both as a racecar driver in a male-dominated world and as an emerging adult.  Action and suspense dominate this tale, which Esckilsen, a talented and experienced writer (this is his third novel) handles with skill as he navigates his story to its finish line.

Gregg Fedchak ’79, The Broccoli Eaters Bad Apple Jack and Love Among the Tomatoes (Windstorm Creative, 2005)

If you want broad, ribald satire, these three novels are your ticket.  Fedchak, the son and son-in-law of former University employees who lives in Boonville, N.Y., is an abstract painter and a writer whose short fiction has appeared in several journals. He says his three novels (there may be more to come) “straddle that broad and uncomfortable ground between commercial/pop fiction and literary fiction, the sort of work New York has a hard time swallowing because it can’t be easily categorized.” P.G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh and Don DeLillo are its literary ancestors. Among the many matters Fedchak thoroughly and mercilessly lampoons are PR campaigns (one of his lead characters is a publicist for a council that promotes broccoli and Brussels sprouts), Christian radio, weather channels, health care and mercy-killing, plant genetics, America’s cultural obsession with sex, America’s cultural obsession with job performance … and so on.  The books come with study guides in case you think you won’t get what they’re all about, which does require a willing suspension of disbelief.
St. Lawrence University · 23 Romoda Drive · Canton, NY · 13617 · Copyright · 315-229-5011