Shelf Life
September 3, 2010 |  by Lew Diuguid

Stay Healthy at Every Age: What Your Doctor Wants You to Know, by Shantanu Nundy, Med ’08 (Johns Hopkins University Press) Using the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force as his major source of recommendations, Nundy prescribes healthy practices attuned to one’s years, flags symptoms, and recommends timely screenings and/or counseling for 23 chapters’ worth of medical threats, from aortic aneurysms to tobacco. Indeed, smoking clouds prospects for avoiding most of the maladies included in the book, and alcohol, in excess, also makes the lists in excess.

Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security—From World War II to the War on Terrorism, by Julian E. Zelizer, A&S ’94 (MA), ’96 (PhD) (Basic Books) This rigorous political history begins with a poignant encomium to bipartisanship by Republican Sen. Arthur Vandenberg after WWII: “Politics stops at the water’s edge.” It didn’t then, and it hasn’t since, as America evolved into a full-fledged national security state. For all the wrong decisions by both parties made at most of the turns through Korea, the Cold War, Cuba, Africa, and the Middle East, the outcome we now endure seems, roughly, to have been inevitable.

Congress produces more checks than balances.  Voters are reluctant to have one political party control both branches.  The military evolves roles that the Constitution failed to anticipate. After 510 pages, Zelizer ruefully notes that in 2007, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice co-authored a New York Times op-ed titled “Politics Starts at the Water’s Edge.”