August 2016 Articles

Reading Room

43_Briefs_Reading Room_India 2A 30-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, Teresita (Tezi) Currie Schaffer ’66 has teamed up with husband Howard B. Schaffer on what might well be the comprehensive look at India as an emerging power player on the international stage.

India at the Global High Table: The Quest for Regional Primacy and Strategic Autonomy (Brookings Institution Press) focuses on the negotiating practices that link the country’s global vision and its foreign policy and the choices it faces between its classic view of strategic autonomy and its desire to find partners in a fast-changing world.

Both Schaffers have served as ambassadors in South Asia—Teresita to Sri Lanka and Howard to Bangladesh—and their experience gives them a front-row view of India’s role on the world stage. In their analysis, they propose four concepts that illuminate India’s global position today: its exceptionalism, its non-alignment and drive to strategic autonomy, its commitment to maintaining its regional primacy, and its rapidly expanding economy.

Frank G. Wisner, former U.S. ambassador to India under Bill Clinton, says of the Schaffers’ book, “They have chronicled India’s rise to great power status and … defined the principles which shape that country’s approach to international affairs and its relations with United States. Carefully examining India’s history, her experience since independence, and looking at India’s approach to bilateral, multilateral, and economic negotiations as well as India’s record in dealing with China and Pakistan, the Schaffers have provided unique insights into the way India defines strategic choices, develops policy, and conducts diplomacy.”

Naresh Chandra, former Indian ambassador to the U.S., and Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. ambassador to India under George H.W. Bush, have both identified India at the Global High Table as a must-read for diplomats, analysts, and anyone interested in South Asia.


  • Tea on the Great Wall: An American Girl in War-Torn China, Patricia Luce Chapman ’50. This memoir of a young American girl living in 1930s Shanghai sheds light on the encroachment of the Japanese and the Nazi takeover of her school, all the while capturing the feel of expatriate life in China. (Earnshaw Books, 2015)
  • The Bioarchaeology of Societal Collapse and Regeneration in Ancient Peru, Danielle S. Kurin ’05. Kurin explores the nature of ancient Peruvian society in the interstitial era between the Wari Empire and the Inca civilization, with a particular focus on the impact of imperial collapse on violence, demography, diet, and beliefs and practices about the dead. (Springer, 2016)
  • Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer ’01. Set in a utopian world on the brink of revolutionary change and simmering with gender politics and religious fervor, this political science fiction novel follows two characters as they encounter a boy who can effortlessly make his wishes come true—a power that threatens to destabilize their universe forever. (Tor Books, 2016)
  • The Body’s Alphabet, Ann Tweedy ’93. At turns terrifying and beautiful, these poems explore the ways that the body is connected to the world—through romantic, familial, and personal relationships through its nexus and discord with the natural world and through ephemeral relationships to strangers. (Headmistress Press, 2016)
  • The Family Meeting Handbook, Kathy Foldes ’71. A guide for parents on how to hold family meetings that prevent problems, keep parents up to date, give children a say, build the family unit, improve communication, and plan fun activities. (Katherine Foldes, 2016)
  • Joy Reversed, Sarah Schenck ’87. Shockingly honest and very funny, this meditation guide-memoir offers one-, three-, and five-minute meditations to relax, be present, and have fun. (Apple iBooks / Amazon Kindle Fire, 2015)
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog. Selected from a pool of 3,000 entries, Lucy Tobias ’61 contributed Suzi Saves the Day to the latest in the Chicken Soup series. This funny yet moving tale recounts how her faithful Boxer-Golden Retriever companion rescued her from a harrowing experience. (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, 2016)
  • Buyers’ Market for Vintage Radios, Phonographs, and Related Equipment and Record Setters from the Vintage Tube Era, Barbara Kevles ’62. In articles written for the venerable Maine Antique Digest, Kevles reports on the record-setting prices commanded by a long-neglected area of collectibles and details the country’s largest radio club auction that included pre-WWI windup phonographs and ’50s miniaturized transistor radios. (Maine Antique Digest, 2016)