Book Notes

Violence, Veils and Bloodlines—Reporting from War Zones

By Louis J. Salome ’62

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers

Interviewed by Cassie Shortsleeve ’10

 Louis J. Salome ’62 has worn many hats since descending from The Hill: journalist, reporter, newspaper editor in Miami, foreign correspondent and, most recently, author of Violence, Veils and Bloodlines—Reporting from War Zones. In his memoir, Salome examines the question he was asked many times overseas, “Where are you from?” He recounts his years working the war zones abroad and reflects upon the universal notion of tribalism, providing a glimpse into the cultures of some of the world’s most volatile nations (Bulgaria, Bosnia, Somalia and Afghanistan to name a few). Salome’s prose provides a happy medium of humorous anecdotes, harsh realities and insight into the similarities of peoples who sometimes seem so different. Holy Cross Magazine sat down with Salome to hear his tale.

 Q: So, I have to ask, I’ve heard that you hitchhiked to and from Holy Cross as a student. Is this true?

A: Yes, I was a dayhop at Holy Cross. I hitched for two years from Millville, Mass., up Route 122 to Holy Cross. I’d hitch to Uxbridge, to Bob ’62 and Danny ’59 DeYoung’s home just north of the town center, and get a ride the rest of the way. On most days, I’d hitch the whole 25 miles home. I ended up hitching a lot overseas. I never knew who was going to pick me up.

 Q:Any other lessons you learned at Holy Cross that guided you overseas?

A: My education taught me honesty. Holy Cross taught me to question things and to weigh responses; to say the truth when I saw it and, if I saw a lie, to say that too. I have a certain comfort level everywhere I go, but Holy Cross taught me not to accept all that I am told—to see the other side of things. I learned to like the underdog. People are so courteous in the countries I traveled to. When I was in Lebanon, I visited with a family—grandparents and grandchildren. I walked into the tiny home, they had no idea who I was, and they brought all of the sweets that they had. People are hospitable over there, but a lot depends on what you bring to the table. That family wanted me to stay the night, but I had to go write a story. I wish I had stayed and listened to the bombardment from the mountains.

Q: Your book touches on some pretty gritty realities—turmoil, destruction and fear—but there is also a lot of humor peppered throughout. How did humor help you in your journeys?

A: I think humor is effective with readers. This is not a book about presidential proclamations and pronouncements, and humor can help you make a point without being too heavy. The more humor you can inject in your travel, the better off you’ll be. Humor softens the people you meet. It shows them that you don’t have an agenda and that they have nothing to fear; they can trust you. I’d have a lot of fun with the question “where are you from?” Visitors can get away with humor. For instance, my first line to a German taxi driver was always, “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” (Do you speak German?). Of course, he would, but I was testing his sense of humor. Then I’d ask, “Sprechen Sie English?” I didn’t want a grim, literal-minded driver. If he answered with good humor, instead of anger, and also spoke English, I knew that I had my man and would use him over and over.

Q:What message do you hope your readers take from Violence, Veils and Bloodlines?

A: That people are the same everywhere. Treat them well and you’ll be treated well. Respect people, cultures and languages and you’ll be respected. If a culture calls for a certain way of dress, dress that way. That would seem elementary, but it’s not. It’s in the human DNA to want to belong to a tribe; it could be a familial tribe, a clan, a nation or state—the world is tribal. See the world. Every chance you get to travel, take it. It was once said that travel broadens the mind and narrows the eyes. That’s true.

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Boarding the Westbound

By Joseph D. Szalanski ’61

Word Association Publishers

Working from two diaries his father kept when traveling the rails as a Depression-era hobo, Szalanski shares the details of a remarkable journey that included stops in all 48 states of 1932 America. He gives special note to the struggles and traditions of eastern and southern European immigrants.

All-American Kidd

By Rob Poulin ’92

Colt Press

A former member of the Epstein’s Mother comedy group at Holy Cross, Poulin explains that his weighty debut novel is the comedic story of a disgraced former president. The road-tripping tale pairs an impeached commander in chief with a young Harvard dropout, and together they help each other find redemption in the face of public disgrace.

Part Time Pastor, Full-Time Church

Rev. Robert R. LaRochelle ’74 P06

Pilgrim Press

Rev. LaRochelle, the pastor at the Congregational Church of Union, United Church of Christ, in Union, Conn., and a full-time high school counselor, explores the benefits that a part-time (or “bi-vocational”) pastor can bring to a struggling church, where creative thinking and restructuring paired with skilled clergy can result in a success story for the congregation.

The Same Lonely Songs

Philip R. Sullivan, M.D., ’53

Bookstand Publishing

In this novel, protagonist Cal Connors experiences an identity crisis and takes to the road to start a new life as a country songwriter. Along the way he meets characters who have crises of their own, and who bring new focus—and fresh turmoil—to Cal’s world.


Walking in the City of the Dead: A Visitor’s Guide

Jeffrey A. Nedoroscik ’92

Author Solutions

A Watson research fellowship allowed Nedoroscik to study a group of ancient Islamic cemeteries in Cairo known as “The City of the Dead,” and now he offers his second book on the subject. The new guide features walking tours of the cemeteries with detailed descriptions of some of the most spectacular monuments that the Islamic world has to offer, as well as some of the most important tombs.

Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security

Charles J. Farrell, J.D., LL.M. ’88


This guide to a healthy financial life garnered notice from The Wall Street Journal and CBS Moneywatch for its smart and simple format for benchmarking one’s money situation and advice on staying secure through retirement.

Quotes & Notes: A Look at Holy Cross Faculty’s Scientific Journal Publications

“Spectroscopic measurements of the properties of Rydberg atoms provide powerful tests of our understanding of atomic physics. High-resolution spectroscopy of Rydberg states usually requires the use of narrow bandwidth continuous wave lasers, where multiple lasers excite the Rydberg state through a series of intermediate states. This technique, however, faces the challenge of keeping all lasers frequency-locked to their respective transitions.”

—Physics Professor Paul Oxley, from the article “Frequency stabilization of multiple lasers and Rydberg atom spectroscopy,” in the journal Applied Physics B: Lasers and Optics

What does it mean?
Oxley and physics major Patrick Collins ’12 used lasers to make extremely precise measurements of the energy of highly excited, or “Rydberg,” electrons in lithium atoms. Such measurements are essential for stringent tests of Quantum Electrodynamics: physicists’ fundamental theory of how light and atoms interact. To complete these measurements the laser frequencies must be precisely stabilized, otherwise electron excitation will not occur. The team developed a novel technique to stabilize the frequency of three lasers, a technical advance that allowed a broad range of energy level measurements to be made.