My Books in Brief


Friends, I’ll insert here a note from my ABOUT page of March 20 2016:  My dolls, who are still reading my books, I’m sure, may not know yet that a new one has appeared called Me and the Grandmas  of Baghdad.  I hope they will look for this work on line, both in print and in an inexpensive ebook.  It’s about my grief over our wars but also simply my life story, laughs and all.  

Cast a Wistful Eye.  (Macmillan 1977.  Condensed in Redbook 1976).  A modest, quiet novel about a young couple I knew when I taught high school in Homerville, Georgia.  The story of their marriage and the old country house they restored.  Their emotions around the birth of their first child — their sense of becoming part, through this birth, of history and all creation.

Children of the World.  (SMU Press 1994.  Reviewed in NYT and other Sunday book pages.)  Marriage and family life in the working class of the south.  Based closely on the struggling lives of my parents in Waycross, Georgia.  Describes my mother’s childhood on a dirt street in Jacksonville, Florida, in a household of mentally afflicted individuals, and what I see as her triumph, in the end, over the strange and severe circumstances of her life.  

Women and Men and the Spaces In Between.  (Sowash Publishing, 2009).  Stories from Tri-Quarterly, Cimarron Review, and other journals.  Nine stories of marriage and family life in Waycross, Georgia, and in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Usually from the point of view of a woman character.  In one tale a woman dies, strangely, on a piney street in Waycross.  Some say her death is “A Scandal and a Disgrace,” but others take a kinder view of what has taken place and of the sad affliction of her husband.

                ALSO this memoir:

The Treatment: the Story of Those Who Died in the Cincinnati Radiation Tests (Duke University Press 2002; many reviews.)  In the hospital of the university where I taught, over ninety cancer patients were irradiated over their whole bodies, or sometimes half their bodies, and twenty-one died within a month of their “treatments.”  They had been swept into secret experiments on nuclear injury for the Department of Defense.  With the help of a student, I located surviving families and learned the stories of those who died.  

The lawsuit I helped to launch against the researchers was eventually settled by them in federal court for over five million dollars.  

This episode in the College of Medicine of my university has attracted considerable attention in the press and among students of human experimentation.  During the final hearings of the lawsuit in 1997, I was interviewed on NPR by Scott Simon, and I assisted  in two BBC films that came along afterwards.  

In October 2014  a French reporter in Paris, Olivier Pighetti, interviewed me at home for a documentary for French public television.  Pighetti was reporting on several secret U. S. military experiments such as we had had in Cincinnati.  The French are convinced that our C.I.A was behind a strange illness that developed in a French village in the fifties where villagers became deranged after eating contaminated bread — or le pain maudit.  They believe the U. S. wanted to find out what effect a certain mind drug would have on enemy troops.  Pighetti wanted to know what the military researchers in Cincinnati hoped to find out by exposing cancer patients to whole body radiation — and how they could disguise this research as cancer treatment.   I spoke about what had happened in the basement chambers of our public hospital in Cincinnati and provided photos of some of the victims.