ASU Alumni November 2010 : Page 49
Soul of A Lion: One Women’s Quest to Rescue Africa’s Wildlife Refuges by Barbara Bennett ’90 M.A., ’94 Ph.D., National Geographic Society. Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona’s Immigration War Zone by Terry Greene Sterling, Lyons Press. The Work of Her Hands: A Prairie Woman’s Life in Remembrances and Recipes by Plynn (Patricia Lynn) Gutman ’05 B.I.S., Poplar Press. Waking up to baboons tearing your vacation house apart isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for Barbara Bennett, who volunteered to spend parts of her teaching sabbaticals working at the Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, it’s all part of a day in the African bush. Her book covers her adventures at Harnas, but it also weaves in the stories of the people who run the refuge, particularly founder Marieta van der Merwe, and the animals who live there. It’s been virtually impossible during 2010 to avoid news and discussion of passage of Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona. Terry Greene Sterling, writer-in-residence at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has spent the last several years tracing the stories of the people behind the issue – undocumented workers, their families, Minutemen, politicians, the Border Patrol, drug cartel kingpins and human smugglers, among many others. Sterling grew up in a cattle-ranching family that owned ranches on both sides of the border; this background, her fluency in Spanish and her careful documentation of the events she witnessed add considerable depth and quality to this book, and distinguish it from many others on the subject. Plynn Gutman’s French-Canadian grandmother, Marie-Anne Lacaille, had a talent for improvising. She made the best out of her life – which spanned nearly the entire 20th century – whether she was helping out on her parents’ farm in Saskatchewan, cooking legendary meals for the residents of the boarding house she ran in Regina, or living out her final years along the British Columbia coast. Gutman’s history blends conversations with her grandmother, old family stories, genealogical research and a generous heaping of literary imagination to create a full-bodied portrait of her grandmother, which is enhanced by the presence of Marie-Anne’s recipes, which are sprinkled liberally through out the volume and provide both metaphoric and literal flavor to the piece.