David Treuer ’92’s Novel Explores Secrets and Desire in World War II-era America

David Treuer ’92

David Treuer ’92

It is August 1942. Frankie Washburn has left his life as a Princeton student to return to the Pines, his family’s rustic Minnesota home on an Indian reservation, one last time before he joins the Air Force. Waiting for him are his parents; the Indian caretaker he spent childhood summers quietly shadowing; Billy, a longtime friend who has become something much more intimate; and the news that a German prisoner-of-war has escaped from the camp across the river.

The search for the German soldier culminates in a shocking act of violence with consequences that will shape the characters’ lives. In Prudence, David Treuer ’92 pushes the boundaries of gender, race, and sexual orientation to tell a story of loss and desire in World War II-era America. Nobel Prize-winning author and professor emeritus Toni Morrison calls the novel “a wondrous and mesmerizing narrative — intricate, seductive, and wholly gratifying.” Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Climbing Mount Princeton

(PAW Archives)

James R. Wade ’59 led a winter ascent of Mount Princeton in 1964. (PAW Archives)

Over the years, many Princetonians have made the gallant trek up the 14,197-foot-high Mount Princeton in Colorado.

William Libbey 1877 (Library of Congress/Wikipedia)

William Libbey 1877 (Library of Congress/Wikipedia)

The “intrepid” William Libbey, Jr. ’77 (1877, that is) made the first recorded ascent less than a month after graduating, PAW reported in 1997. Libbey apparently had no difficulty with the ascent until he came within 1,500 feet of the summit, “when his only way lay over a bed of débris . . .; the size of the boulders being such that nothing but the hardest sort of crawling would answer,” according to a report of the expedition.

In 1964, at the request of the Rocky Mountain Princeton Club, which was publicizing an upcoming conference, James R. Wade ’59 led a winter expedition that successfully conquered the summit. Wade is pictured above in the cover photo from PAW’s March 17, 1964, issue. Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Web Privacy Advocate Jonathan Mayer ’09

Jonathan Mayer ’09 (Peter Stember)

Jonathan Mayer ’09 (Peter Stember)

Jonathan Mayer ’09, a leading online privacy advocate and proponent of the “do not track” initiative, made headlines again last week after he uncovered a digital advertiser’s use of tracking cookies that are difficult to delete.

As Mayer explained on his blog, Web Policy, he was looking for companies that were taking advantage of data from Verizon’s controversial advertising header, released last year. He found that one Verizon partner, Turn, was using Verizon data to generate cookies that kept coming back, even if a user followed the recommended opt-out mechanisms. The investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica also reported on Turn’s tracking tricks, after confirming the tests outlined in Mayer’s blog. The advertising company announced that it would suspend using the regenerated tracking cookies, also known as “zombie cookies.”

The New York Times, in a Jan. 26 story, reported that Verizon had not been notified of Turn’s specific use of the telecommunications company’s customer codes. But that, Mayer, explained, is at the heart of the issue. “Verizon is not in a position to control how others use its header,” he told the Times. “There’s no doubt that this particular approach does introduce new privacy problems.”

Mayer, a lawyer and computer science graduate student at Stanford, was featured in PAW’s Jan. 8, 2014, issue. His work on privacy began at Princeton, where the Woodrow Wilson School major explored internet anonymity and digital fingerprinting in his senior thesis, a paper that later caught the attention of experts at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Sometimes academia feels like you are writing into a great abyss,” Mayer told PAW contributor Nicole Perlroth ’04. “That was my realization that you can have a big impact.” Continue reading

100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go, by Marcia DeSanctis ’82

Marcia DeSanctis ’82

Marcia DeSanctis ’82

The book: From food and wine to art and fashion, the 100 vignettes in this guidebook seem to cover all that typifies France. Like any good Baedeker, the book explains not only where to go but why to go there. Essays describe tourist meccas — the châteaux of the Loire Valley, for example — as well as easily overlooked but fascinating sites such as Christian Dior’s childhood home on the coast of Normandy and the memorial museum to 44 Jewish children seized by the Nazis in Izieu. Woven throughout is practical advice for women travelers: When walking La Croisette, Cannes’ fabled avenue frequented by film stars, the author says, “leave the sweats and Dos Equis T-shirt at the bottom of your canvas tote.” Since its publication in November, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go has spent three months on The New York Times Best Sellers list in the travel category.

The author: Marcia DeSanctis ’82 is an award-winning travel writer who spent several years living and working in Paris. Her essays and articles have appeared in Vogue, Town & Country, and The New York Times, among many other publications. Before becoming a writer, she spent 18 years as a television news producer. Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Keeping Books in Circulation

Images from PAW’s 1978 story on theft at Princeton libraries, from left: A library guard served as “a reminder to be honest”; new security measures included electronic scanners; librarian Peter Cziffra shows tabs in the card catalog that indicate missing books.

Images from PAW’s 1978 story on theft at Princeton libraries, from left: A library guard served as “a reminder to be honest”; new security measures included electronic scanners; librarian Peter Cziffra showed tabs in the card catalog that indicated missing books.

On a winter Friday 33 years ago, local police found more than 2,000 stolen library books — including nearly 1,000 from Princeton University and the Princeton Theological Seminary — at the home of a former graduate student.

It wasn’t the first time the University had dealt with book theft. In January 1978, Firestone Library estimated that some 150,000 its volumes had disappeared, almost certainly as a result of theft. “One year we put the books out, the next year they’re gone,” Peter Cziffra, then the head of the Fine Hall math and physics library, told PAW. (The story’s headline: “Crime in the Stacks.”)

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Tigers of the Week: Astronomy Prizewinners Claire Max *72 and David Weinberg *89

David Weinberg *89 (Lisa Florman)

David Weinberg *89 (Lisa Florman)

Claire Max *72 (Sameer A. Khan)

Claire Max *72 (Sameer A. Khan)

Two Princeton graduate alumni — Claire Max *72, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California–Santa Cruz, and David Weinberg *89, a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University — were recognized for their achievements in instrument development and scientific research at last week’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle. Max received the Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation, and Weinberg was awarded the Lancelot M. Berkeley–New York Community Trust Prize. Past Tiger of the Week honoree and Princeton professor David Spergel ’82 also was among the AAS prizewinners, sharing the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics with colleague Marc Kamionkowski of Johns Hopkins.

Max, the 2009 winner of Princeton’s James Madison Medal, is an expert in adaptive optics, which enables earth-based telescopes to see distant objects more clearly by correcting for image distortions produced by the earth’s atmosphere. Specifically, the AAS award recognized her invention of sodium-laser-guide-star adaptive optics, and her long-term contributions to the field. “Her leadership has transformed how we observe by making near-diffraction-limited imaging possible on large ground-based telescopes, thus opening new fields of discovery including resolving stars and gas near supermassive black holes and studying extrasolar planets,” the AAS release said.

Weinberg, who was recognized for “highly meritorious work in advancing the science of astronomy,” delivered the final plenary lecture of the AAS meeting, an overview of insights in cosmology and galaxy evolution drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which has been actively mapping the universe since 2000. Weinberg’s involvement with SDSS actually dates back to 1992, when he was a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to his research and teaching, Weinberg has collaborated with artist Josiah McElheny on cosmology-inspired sculptures. Continue reading