Short Takes | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Short Takes 

Last Updated: 08/13/2013 4:44 pm

When I Wished I Was Here: Dispatches From Fallujah
Derek McGee
The Crumpled Press, 2007, $8
Reportage doesn’t get more firsthand than this. Rhinebecker McGee parses Port-a-Shitter graffiti, eulogizes a fallen comrade, relates with chilling simplicity how it feels to order an Iraqi civilian killed, and shares the eerie displacement of coming home. Available at Oblong Books, where Sergeant McGee signed copies, or via

Identity Envy: Wanting To Be Who We’re Not. Creative Nonfiction by Queer Writers
edited by Jim Tushinski & Jim Van Buskirk
Harrington Park Press, 2007, $19.95
Chronogram regular Jay Blotcher and Hudson Valley Community College tutor Cheryl Schoonmaker contributed powerful essays to this provocative examination of identity politics. With titles like “EuroTex” and “Tales of a Male Lesbian,” these 28 narratives cross boundaries of gender, class, race, and religion on the road to self-acceptance.

Stopping the Plant: The St. Lawrence Cement Controversy and the Battle For Quality of Life in the Hudson Valley
Miriam D. Silverman
SUNY Press, Albany, 2006, $14.95
From 1999 to 2005, the St. Lawrence Cement Company fought to build an enormous coal-powered plant in the Hudson River town of Greenport, and the community fought back. With admirable evenhandedness, Silverman details both sides of the passionate struggle that lined Columbia and Dutchess County roadsides with “Stop the Plant” signs.

Saving Sterling Forest:
The Epic Struggle to Preserve New York’s Highlands

Ann Botshon
SUNY Press, Albany, 2007, $19.95
Along with Gardiner’s Shawangunk Ridge, the preservation of Sterling Forest’s 20,000 magnificent acres is among the hardest-won, most inspiring victories of Open Space advocacy. Wallkill River Task Force coordinator Botshon left this encouraging book as a legacy, with an endorsement by Rep. Maurice Hinchey and an eye toward the future.

Magdalen Rising: The Beginning

Elizabeth Cunningham
Monkfish Books, 2007, $24.95
This third, prequel installment of Cunningham’s celebrated Maeve Chronicles gives Maeve (Mary Magdalen) a miraculous birth steeped in Celtic lore. Raised by witches, the feisty redhead hooks up with a nontraditional druid student who may be that fellow from Nazareth. For information on April events at Oblong, Merritt, and other Hudson Valley venues, go to

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