Alumni Services

February 2014

This month the bookshelf includes a study of the infamous Boston Stranglers, a guide to exercising your brain, and an in-depth analysis of the work of Emmanuel Levinas.

Kim Chamberlain

Author Kim Chamberlain
Edinburgh degree Linguistics 1981
Book The Five Minute Brain Workout

Taking care of your brain is just as beneficial as taking care of the rest of your body. Research has shown that training games help improve memory, concentration, problem-solving skills, processing speed, creativity, and reasoning.

The key to such exercise is to constantly learn and regularly challenge your brain’s capabilities with new tasks. Regularly doing series of short, varied tasks will keep your thinking faculties focused and flexible.

Five-Minute Brain Workout contains a wide variety of games and puzzles for people who enjoy words and language. There are ten examples of the same kind of game or puzzle with a wide variety of types of each. While the puzzles have specific answers, the games do not, which means you can continue to develop your creativity by doing them more than once and coming up with different answers. And there are enough puzzles and games for a year’s worth of challenging your mind.

The book’s contents can be used in any number of ways: to challenge yourself or simply have fun or as a competition against time or other people. These exercises work in many settings: home, work, schoolrooms, training and therapy sessions, and as an icebreaker at social gatherings.

David J Godden

Author David J Godden
Edinburgh degree Pathology BSc 1974, MBChB 1977
Book The Cure

Finding a cure for multiple sclerosis is one of the great medical challenges of our time. In the medical thriller The Cure, a laboratory accident reveals a potential miracle treatment, but attempts to treat patients are dogged by unpredictable side effects and research fraud.

As a medical professor, David J Godden had extensive experience of laboratory studies and clinical trials. Half way through writing the novel, he developed multiple sclerosis, providing an additional, if unexpected, perspective.

Susan Kelly

Author Susan Kelly
Edinburgh degree PhD English Literature 1975
Book The Boston Stranglers

The Boston stranglings, in which eleven women in eastern Massachusetts were horribly murdered between June 1962 and January 1964, made front-page headlines around the world. ‘It was,’ says a woman who lived through the terror, ‘as if Jack the Ripper had come back from the dead to stalk Boston.’ And indeed, the Phantom Fiend, as the newspapers christened him, would go down in crime history as one of the world’s most notorious and feared killers.

The Boston murders have long been thought to be the work of one man, a construction worker named Albert Henry DeSalvo, who was represented by high-profile defence attorney F. Lee Bailey. This belief, the author now reveals, is not true. The slayings were, in fact, the work of at least eight - and possibly as many as eleven - individuals, none of whom was the luckless DeSalvo.

The Boston Stranglers examines the entire case, demonstrating convincingly that DeSalvo was manipulated into confessing. The book describes the motives of those who convinced DeSalvo to confess. And they found a willing victim in DeSalvo, who had a desperate, perhaps even pathological, lust for celebrity.

Daniel Murphy

Author Daniel Murphy
Edinburgh degree History 1973
Book Professional School Leadership: Dealing with Dilemmas

Daniel Murphy uses this concept of dilemmas to rebalance our understanding of the work of school leaders. The perspectives of three disciplines, psychology, politics and ethics are brought to bear on the dilemmas; this perspective offers a fuller analysis of what is at stake. It provides those on leadership training programmes with a broad understanding of factor which contribute to the experience, as well as the aspiration, of leadership. The book also offers important insights into what the dilemmas tell us about the character of all public service in complex plural democracies. Such analysis is often a necessary first stage in facing up to difficult dilemmas. The book concludes with a toolkit which can be used by school leaders in such situations, together with some worked examples.

Daniel Murphy, founder Director of the Centre for Educational Leadership at the University of Edinburgh and successful head teacher in three Scottish secondary schools, is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Moray House School of Education.

Nick Veevers

Author Nick Veevers
Edinburgh degree Outdoor Education 2007
Book Kurt Hahn: Inspirational, Visionary, Outdoor and Experiential Educator

Kurt Hahn had a huge influence on the fields of outdoor and experiential learning, adventure education and, not least, badge schemes (Gordonstoun, Moray, and County Badges; and Duke of Edinburgh Award) throughout the world. This book provides a detailed historical account, centred on Hahn and the movement which surrounded him, of the early development of adventure education up to 1944. This includes an examination of themes present throughout Hahn's educational endeavours. It looks at Hahn's founding of Salem School (Germany) in 1920 and then Gordonstoun School (Scotland) in 1934.

Nigel Zimmermann

Author Nigel Zimmermann
Edinburgh degree PhD 2012
Book Levinas and Theology

The thought of Emmanuel Levinas is of increasing importance for those working in the diverse fields of phenomenology and continental philosophy, French studies, Jewish studies, ethics, politics and religious studies. In this book, Nigel Zimmermann gives proper attention to the 'incarnate' aspect of the ‘other’ in Levinas’ work, providing a theological reading that explores the basic strands of Levinas’ thinking regarding the concrete nature of human living. Human communities, in which politics inevitably plays a crucial role, may learn much from the theological shape of Levinas’ philosophy. In all his writings, Levinas cannot be understood apart from his roles as a Talmudic commentator and as a radical thinker who suffered personally under the shadow of the Holocaust.