Off the Shelf: Spring 2006
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: June 15, 2006

Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations

By Margaret Benefiel MA ’80, Seabury Press, New York, 2005.

Soul at Work describes the way organizations could do business if they incorporated spirit in the workday. Drawing on examples ranging from Southwest Airlines to the band U2, Margaret Benefiel describes the role that awareness of the soul, or spirituality, can play in leadership and organizational life. The book looks at the role of individuals and the organizational reality in which they work.

Eyes of the Mirror

By Margaret Emerson MA ’01, Artichoke Press, Bayside, Calif., 2005.

Margaret Emerson’s autobiography moves back and forth between South Korea, where she taught English and studied T’ai Chi for two years, and the Pacific Northwest, where she earned a master’s degree in writing, taught T’ai Chi, and almost died from type-1 diabetes. Emerson uses the two locations to reveal a portrait of her whole self, from small daily tasks to yearnings to her nightly dreams. Today, Emerson lives in Humboldt County, Calif., where she writes and teaches T’ai Chi.

Fins, Finns and Astorians

By Greg Jacob (English faculty), CPH Press, Astoria, Ore., 2006.

By 1890, half of Astoria’s population could trace its roots in Finland. The area’s booming fishing industry attracted these immigrants, who made the town their own. Greg Jacob’s small book, 59 pages, tell the story of these hardworking people, who purchased their own cannery in 1897. Union Fishermen’s Cooperative Packing Company stayed in business until almost 1950. Jacob grew up in Astoria and his brother, Robert, developed and owns Cannery Pier Hotel built on the Union Cooperative’s old pier.

The Tree-Sitter cover imageThe Tree-Sitter

By Suzanne Matson ’81, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2005.

Julie Prince, a wealthy student at Wellesley, abandons her life to join a group of tree-sitters in the forests of Oregon. At first it’s romantic, but as her boyfriend moves toward violent acts of sabotage, Julie must choose between love and her own sense of right and wrong. Suzanne Matson, who teaches at Boston College, also wrote the novels A Trick of Nature and The Hunger Moon.

Superpower on Crusade: The Bush Doctrine in U.S. Foreign Policy

By Mel Gurtov (political science and international studies faculty), Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, Colo., 2006.

Mel Gurtov first traces the sources of U.S. missionary and expansionist tendencies and highlights their particular manifestations in the current Bush administration. Then turning to the war on Iraq, he focuses on real vs. stated objectives. Subsequent chapters examine U.S. policy with regard to such issues as nuclear proliferation, international law, development assistance, the environment, and human rights.

Rebels: Youth and the Cold War Origins of Identity

By Leerom Medovoi (English faculty), Duke University Press, Durham, N.C., 2005.

Holden Caulfield, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and James Dean—these and other symbols of youthful rebellion were more than entertainment figures in postwar America. Leerom Medovoi argues that these “bad boys” stood for dissent and defiance at a time when the United States was looking for emancipatory figures to represent its anti-authoritarian, democratic self-image.

The Raven Deception

By Michael Murray ’02, ibooks, New York, 2006.

Michael Harreschou (Murray’s real name) has written a novel of intrigue that involves spies, impersonation, and secrets never before revealed from World War II. This is a sequel to Harreschou’s earlier book, Raven. A prolific author, Harreschou has written a series of novels on the Navy Seals, as well as a 1992 book, Chain of Evidence, penned under the name Michael Detroit, which was optioned by Disney.

Rik Love’s Journal

By Richard S. Nystrom, Sr., ’04, PublishAmerica, 2005.

This novel is the diary of 80-year-old Rik Love and tells of his romantic, adventurous, mysterious, and philosophical life experiences. The book is also autobiographical. Richard Nystrom is a self-proclaimed retired hippie, former technical writer, and perennial student. Since 1991, he has written three novels and a nonfiction book on philosophy while attending PSU. He hopes to earn a Ph.D. before he turns 80, which is only a few years away.

Reviews are of faculty and alumni books, recordings, and Web publications. To have a work considered for this page, please submit pertinent information to PSU Magazine via email to, or fax to 503-725-4465, or mail to PSU Magazine, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751.