Hazing: Destroying Young Lives (Indiana University Press) is the latest book on hazing by Hank Nuwer
Sons of the Dawn book review by Nuvo Newsweekly: “Franklin College professor Hank Nuwer’s Sons of the Dawn: A Basque Odyssey, has all the dusty bravado and high noon tension of a Wild West shoot-em-up. But it’s more than a genre exercise. [Published] by Shalako Press, Nuwer’s Western novel tackles weightier topics such as cultural diversity in 1890s Idaho, and the related issues of hazing and bullying (Nuwer is known internationally as an expert on bullying).” — Reviewer Jim Garlits
Sons of the Dawn on Buber’s Basque News page
Hank Nuwer excels at creating a vivid, atmospheric sense of place, both in Spain and Idaho. His pacing is by no means brisk, but rather than being a detraction, it highlights the introspection and attention to detail throughout the story. The dialogue has a few awkward moments…However, readers will likely gloss over these issues in favor of Nuwer’s keen eye for detail and historical accuracy. With its focus on teenage characters and specific exploration of bullying and hazing, this book has considerable appeal not only to fans of Westerns but to young adults as well.
Informed, unpretentious and attentive, this Western breathes life into little-known historical events.
Quotes of the day:
“An alcohol-free house should not mean members give booze away for free. Too many fraternity chapters defy their national organizations and endanger their prospective members and guests. Enforcement by law is essential to stop the next death of a Tim Piazza, Max Gruver or all these fine members of the lost chapter.” –Hank Nuwer, Author
Get it directly from Indiana University Press
READ AN EXCERPT: THE FIRST FRATERNITY DEATH–Mortimer Leggett
Features investigative journalism and scholarship by Nuwer, interviews with education law guru Peter Lake and “Guyland” author Michael Kimmel; essays by HPO founder Tracy Maxwell, social activist Colleen McGlone, Professor and law expert Brian Crow, NCAA Survey author Norm Pollard, Lawyer Douglas Fierberg, Chloe Neely, Ashley Stone, Prof. Gina Lee-Olukoya, Prof. Ray Begovich, Robert Biggs, Malinda Matney, Prof. Elizabeth J. Allan, Morgan B. Kinney, Susan P. Stuart, Debbie Smith, Stacey Kennelly, Edward G. Whipple, Sarah Wild, Allison Swick-Duttine, David Westol, James F. Keenan, S.J.;David Hovde, and Travis P. Apgar.
Thanks for reading and possibly reposting. I am grateful to EVERY contributor who wrote an essay for “Hazing: Destroying Young Lives.”
Elizabeth J. Allan is a professor of Higher Educational Leadership at the University of Maine. Her research on hazing is often noted by national media. She is the principal investigator for The National Study of Student Hazing.
Travis T. Apgar served Cornell University as the Robert G. Engel Senior Associate Dean of Students from 2006 to January 2017. An authority on hazing prevention, he is currently Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Ray Begovich teaches as a Pulliam School of Journalism faculty member at Franklin College. He is at work on a biography about Elmer Davis, a onetime Director of War Information in World War Two.
Robert A. Biggs is executive vice president and CEO of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and the president of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation.
Brian Crow is professor of sport management at Slippery Rock University. He has presented and written extensively on hazing in sports and is an expert on sports law.
Douglas Fierberg established a legal practice specializing in the representation of victims of school violence, now operating as The Fierberg National Law Group. Fierberg also founded the national litigation group, Schools: Violence, Misconduct, and Safety, which operates within and under the authority of the American Association for Justice.
David M. Hovde is associate professor of library science and research and instruction librarian at the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center at Purdue University Libraries.
James F. Keenan, SJ, holds the Canisius Chair at Boston College and is director of the Jesuit Institute. He is the author of University Ethics: How Colleges Can Build and Benefit from a Culture of Ethics.
Stacey Kennelly is a California freelance journalist and former associate editor at Diablo magazine.
Michael Kimmel is the author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men and author or editor on more than twenty books on gender studies. He is professor of sociology at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.
Morgan B. Kinney is a graduate advisor at University of Maine, Student Life. She has a University of Maine Master’s Degree in Student Development in Higher Education.
Peter F. Lake is Professor of Law, Charles A. Dana Chair and Director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and author of the seminal The Rights and Responsibilities of the Modern University.
Malinda Matney works as Senior Research Associate for the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Michigan. Matney is the former national president of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.
Tracy Maxwell is the founder of HazingPrevention.Org. She has been working in and around higher education for more than 25 years. She currently speaks about hazing for CAMPUSPEAK. Her work as a healing coach assists survivors of hazing and their families.
Colleen McGlone is an associate professor in Recreation and Sport Management at Coastal Carolina University. Her Ph.D. is in Sport Administration from the University of New Mexico.
Chloe Neely is in law school at New York University and is clerking for The Fierberg National Law Group. Neely secured a federal clerkship and plans to represent survivors of sexual assault.
Hank Nuwer has written The Hazing Reader and Wrongs of Passage for Indiana University Press. He has also performed a one-man play about hazing called “The Broken Pledge,” and he penned the novel Sons of the Dawn: A Basque Odyssey that concerns hazing in the American West.
Gina Lee-Olukoya is associate dean of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and serves on the foundation of Hope Street Youth Development. She formerly served as a board member on HazingPrevention.com.
Norm Pollard is the dean of students at Alfred University, a licensed mental health counselor and certified Title IX investigator. Pollard was the co-author with Nadine Hoover on a seminal study of hazing among athletes and hazing in high schools in the United States.
Debbie Smith is the founder and CEO of AHA! Movement, a non-profit organization created in memory of her son, college student Matt Carrington. Matt died in 2005 after enduring a horrific water hazing pledging at a fraternity in Chico, California.
Ashley Stone is an academic counselor in the African American Academic Network (AAAN) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Stone has used her background in non-violence education and sociology to create identity-conscious programming for various audiences.
Susan P. Stuart has written many essays on education law. Retired as dean from the Valparaiso University School of Law, she credits her research assistants who assisted her: Colleen Clemons, Emily Calwell France, Adam Miller, William Horvath, and Shay Hughes.
Allison Swick-Duttine is director of fraternity/sorority Life at SUNY Plattsburgh. She was a founding board member and a past president of HazingPrevention.org.
David Westol, JD, is the Founder of Limberlost Consulting, providing strategic planning and consulting to campuses, organizations and foundations. A former executive director of Theta Chi Fraternity, he once served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Kalamazoo County, Michigan.
Ed Whipple is vice president for campus life at Willamette University. He holds a doctorate from Oregon State University and is a member of the Phi Delta Theta General Counsel.
Sarah Wild is a certified counselor based in North Carolina with a professional background in fraternity/sorority advising and career counseling.
Veteran Investigative Journalist Vic Ryckaert interview with Hank Nuwer for the Indianapolis Star.
Vic Ryckaert: Why did you write a Western novel?
Nuwer: Once, long ago, I took leave of my senses and decided that getting a Ph.D. at Nevada-Reno was a great idea. My two main doctoral areas were the New Journalism and Western American Literature. One of the guest speakers in a Western Lit class was the great American novelist Wallace Stegner who wrote “The Big Rock Candy Mountain,” and I interviewed him and went out to dinner with him and Bobby Clark, the son of Walter Van Tilburg Clark of “The Oxbow Incident” fame. I vowed then and there at that very table that I would write a literary Western. A mere 43 years later, I have written one. And no, I never got that Ph.D. Instead, a hazing death happened at Nevada-Reno right before I quit the program, and my life’s course as a writer took a turn I never had wished for and certainly never expected.
Ryckaert: Are any of the characters based on people you met?
Nuwer: Yes, and no. The old sheep herder and camptender Tubal in “Sons of the Dawn”was based on Jacinto Madrieta, a Basque I “trailed” sheep with from the high country of Nevada to the low country of Nevada on two magazine assignments when I was young—and on Lucien Millox, a Basque herder who brought in 2,000 sheep with a broken neck after a twister lifted up his sheepwagon and rattled it like corn in a popper. In addition to teaching me to herd sheep and protecting me from a sheepdog who wanted to sink his fangs into a Hank rump roast, Jacinto told me of his horrific experience as a boy surviving the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Basque country by Hitler’s air force in collusion with the evil prime minister Francisco Franco. By the end of the book, Tubal’s personality, however, drastically changed from Jacinto’s serious world outlook into the personality of my late fishing buddy Jimmy Dale Noble, an ex-sheriff’s deputy and ex-logger, who was one of those competent, tart-talking human beings who viewed the world with sarcasm, wit and a “no B.S.” world view. But back to Jacinto– the sad ending of the book , moving from the Idaho outback of 1898 to the Basque country of Spain, was carved from a first-person recollection of the bombing that Jacinto had told me about in his Basque sheepwagon over a couple shots of bad Four Roses whiskey. Both my Tubal and the real Jacinto considered herding sheep as a sacred trust. To lose even one out of negligence or even carelessness was an unpardonable sin.
Ryckaert: How did your sabbatical in the Basque Country of Spain inspire you?
Nuwer: The Guernica Peace Museum (Museo de la Paz de Gernika) may be one of the last thoughts on my mind when I leave this world. It affected me so. In one exhibit the floor is glass and underneath is the actual rubble of Hitler’s bombing—things such as a child’s shoes, a rosary, everyday things charred and burnt. There were very old people from Guernica who had survived the bombing, and they were crying so hard. The museum used red stage lighting to make it seem like the room was afire. It was an astonishing experience. Last January, while in Madrid on Franklin College business, I saw Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece “Guernica,” and the sabbatical experience in Guernica made that painting all the more inspiring and meaningful for me.
Ryckaert: You have built a reputation as a national expert on hazing and more generally, bullying. Are there any bullies in this novel? Tell us about them.
Nuwer: Oh, yes, there is a savage rancher named Faro Sinclair who has lone shepherds burned in a circle of fire. That really happened, by the way, and I read about it in an old newspaper clipping as a graduate student at Nevada. Another character who works for Faro tried to cut off the queue of a Chinese minor, which is a horrific insult for someone of a certain culture at that time. My hero Anton Ibarra steps in as a bystander and dumps the would-be hazer into a water trough.
Ryckaert: Name some of your favorite authors.
Well, Kurt Vonnegut is the most meaningful, and I am writing his biography for Indiana University Press, stressing his life as a Hoosier, author and war veteran. A small grant from Franklin College sent me to Dresden, Germany, and I retraced Vonnegut’s own steps as a prisoner of war before and after the bombing of Dresden by the allies. But in terms of Western authors, I have a great deal of respect for the work of Louis L’Amour who wrote “Hondo” and Jack Schaefer who wrote “Shane.” Their books can be read by adults or teens, and I had those two in my mind when I targeted my novel for an audience aged from 14 to 99.
Ryckaert: What’s your favorite Western?
That is such a hard question. I have driven three times to the Zanesville (Ohio) Zane Grey Museum because his life spent traveling the world inspired me so. Then there is Willa Cather whose “Death Comes for the Archbishop” is a book I so want to teach one day because its every page is perfection. Recently I read a great mystery novel by Gwen Florio called “Montana,” and I was predisposed to like it because Gwen is a journalist and former war correspondent. But in the end I go back to my graduate school days and select Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s “The Oxbow Incident,” which was made into a classic film starring Henry Fonda. On one level it is a straightforward novel about vigilantes who hang an innocent man as a rustler. On another level, it is a life’s lesson in that every community ought to learn to be skeptical of its leading citizens since arrogance, greed, abuse of power and blind insistence on obedience can destroy a community if the ordinary citizens do not speak up and say, “Hold enough” and “What you’re proposing is immoral or amoral.”
Ryckaert: After authoring so many serious, scholarly articles and books, I’m guessing you had a little more fun writing a work of fiction, am I right?
Nuwer: Nearly ever word of the novel was written between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. It was my dog Casey, me and the coffee pot. The academic garb is gone, replaced by baggy sweats, a gimmee cap and a tee shirt badly in need of washing. I’d read a passage aloud and my dog Casey would look at me with these stern eyes. “You’re right, Casey,” I joked once. “Too many adverbs.”
Yes, you’re a writer, Vic, to just have the freedom to do your best work at a crazy hour day after day was exhilarating. On a serious note, you also worry that you’ve boxed yourself into a corner. You are writing about under-represented people in the Basques and Chinese. Your buckaroos are scum. Will readers accept Basque herders as heroes? While writing about the Basques in 1979, one of them gave me a green-and-white baseball cap that said “I am a sheep herder” on it. No one in the Gillette, Wyoming restaurant I visited with that on either threatened me or made me take it off, but a couple patrons asked me if I was trying to start a fight. All this took a much more sinister turn when a couple ranchers murdered Lucien Millox one night in Wyoming. My old Basque sources, ranchers and common herders, phoned me at the time, and I realized that the murderous West is still here in modern-day cow and sheep towns.
Looking for something different for your hazing education needs? Consider finding a male adviser or older fraternity alum or theatre department faculty member and put on Hank Nuwer’s one-man play (available on Amazon and Stophazing.org) “The Broken Pledge.” Link to play
The play is also downloadable on your mobile phone and/or Ipad.
Hank does not charge any royalty for any group or individual that puts on his play but suggests that you make a contribution to one of his preferred charities. Note: for my sports issues class I rewrote the play as “Death of a Rookie” instead of a pledge. I can send this version if you wish (no charge, of course).
Nuwer’s “Beyond Survival” play has been performed at the University of Nevada. He also was an American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco) award winner for his three-act adaptation of Stephen Crane’s “The Monster.”