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457 pages. St. Martin’s Press. Reviewed by Christine Hearn.

Historian and alumna Julia P. Gelardi says she researched much of Born to Rule at the SFU library while she lived in Coquitlam. But she also visited Windsor to view unpublished material and photographs from the Royal Photograph Collection in Windsor Castle, Geneva to meet with King Michael of Romania, London to meet with Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, and Buckinghamshire to meet with the daughter of Queen Sophie of Greece, as well as libraries in Europe and the United States.

The result is a fascinating chronicle of the lives of five extraordinary women cousins who helped shape the face of 20th century Europe. Alexandra was Tsarina of Russia, Marie was Queen of Romania, Maud was Queen Consort of Norway, Sophie was Queen Consort of Greece, and Victoria Eugenie was Queen Consort of Spain.

Most of us know about the sad fate of Alexandra, murdered with her husband Tsar Nicholas II and their children at Ekaterinburg during the Russian Revolution. Marie of Romania was also very famous in her time, but the others had lower profiles.

Despite the pomp and circumstance, the incredible wealth, the constant dynastic intrigue, Gelardi makes the women very human. Through her stories of their personal lives we view 100 years of European history (from Maud’s birth in 1869 to Victoria Eugenie’s death in 1969) and learn much about the politics of their countries. We grieve with Victoria Eugenie who introduces hemophilia into the Spanish royal family; we watch with horror as Russia spins out of control and Alexandra, oblivious, heads toward her inevitable fate; we cheer Marie on a publicity trip to the United States; we admire Sophie for her courage in the face of revolution and abdication; and we wonder why Maud refuses to adjust to Norway.

Always in the background is the iron will of Queen Victoria. Gelardi says the women carried out their lives in the spirit of their grandmother’s motto, “Still endure.” <www.juliapgelardi.com>

The Wedding MC

First it was the wedding singer, now it’s the best man. Alumnus Tom Haibeck promises you will find everything you need to know in this Canadian bestseller. <www.weddingtoasts.com>

In Fine Form:
The Canadian Book of Form Poetry

Alumna Kate Braid and former SFU employee Sandy Shreve edit an anthology of “formal” poetry. They find an unexpected number of modern Canadian poets write form poetry as well as free verse. <kbraid@istar.ca> <sshreve@direct.ca>

Gramsci Is Dead:
Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements

Alumnus Richard Day, now a professor at Queen’s University, leads us to a new way of thinking about today’s politics of the street. <www.btlbooks.com/New_Titles/gramsci_dead.htm>

Baby Boomer Health Dynamics:
How Are We Aging?

Gerontology chair Andrew Wister says baby boomers’ weight is their Achilles heel. Boomers smoke and drink less and are more active than their parents, but chronic illnesses – related to their ballooning weight – may bankrupt society’s health care budget.
<www.sfu.ca/gerontology/01faculty_staff/wister.html>

Uproar’s Your Only Music

Alumnus Brian Brett’s autobiography takes us inside his brave journey with Kallman’s Syndrome (a condition in which the hypothalamus stunts the pituitary gland so there are no male hormones), life on Vancouver’s mean streets, the founding of poetry magazine Blackfish with Allan Safarik while at SFU, and his
successful career as poet and writer. <brett@saltspring.com>

Pink Blood:
Homophobic Violence in Canada

Doug Janoff’s examination of violence against gays is based on his SFU MA thesis in criminology. He analyzes more than 400 murders and assaults that have occurred since 1990. <www.pinkblood.ca>

Sustainable Fossil Fuels:
The Unusual Suspect in the Quest for Clean and Enduring Energy

Resource and environmental management professor Mark Jaccard says we need to do something now or we’ll be in big trouble by 2100 – that’s when our current energy-use path becomes unsustainable.
<http://us.cambridge.org>

Waterfront: The Illustrated
Maritime Story of Greater Vancouver

Archaeology PhD candidate James Delgado covers the waterfront starting with the first visit to English Bay in 1791 by Spaniard Jose Maria Narvaez.

Retired and Still Rolling

Emeritus professor of education Marv Wideen and alumna wife Loretta ride their bicycles across Canada to raise awareness of schizophrenia. Their self-published book recounts their adventures, and once they have recovered their costs they plan to share the proceeds with the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. <books@gordonsoules.com>

Everything I Needed to Know About Business ...
I Learned From a Canadian

Alumnus David Raffa’s book about 16 world-class innovators who just happen to be Canadian soars to Number Two on Amazon.ca’s bestseller list. The book, co-authored with Leonard Brody, gives encouragement to young Canadian entrepreneurs and also delves into the innovators’ secrets of success.

A recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers study suggests that 75,000 jobs will move from Canada by 2010 and that immediate policy action is needed.

Outsourcing America

SFU political scientist Anil Hira and his brother Ron Hira of the Rochester Institute of Technology take on the question of offshore outsourcing (the person talking to you from a call centre is in India, for example) and conclude we need public policies that will maximize the benefits and deal with the negative impacts. CNN host Lou Dobbs writes the Foreword.
<www.amanet.org/books/catalog/0814408680.htm>

Art/photography credits (at bottom of article)