James D. Livingston

My Works

Mary Alice Finds Love in the Yukon
In 1897, thousands of adventurers headed north to Yukon country to seek their fortunes in the famed Klondike Gold Rush. Among those seeking gold in the cold was Mary Alice Livingston, a 36-year-old unmarried mother of four, recently tried in New York for the alleged murder of her mother with poisoned clam chowder. This tells the true story, based on period newspaper accounts, of her exciting adventures on the crowded steamer to Alaska, in a hastily-built tent city at the mouth of the Yukon, and with native Alaskans in the heart of Yukon country, where she braved a winter of four-hour days and temperatures as low as 64 below. But in the Yukon, she found love, and returned to New York with a husband (her first) and a baby (her fifth). This is a brief sequel to Arsenic and Clam Chowder.

Rising Force: The Magic of Magnetic Levitation
(Harvard University Press, 2011)

From Harry Potter to David Copperfield, there is magic in conquering gravity. The book's uplifting coverage includes flying frogs, levitated sumo wrestlers, magnetic bearings in blood pumps, uranium centrifuges and wind turbines, maglev surgery inside a living pig, and the latest news of high-speed maglev trains.

Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York
(SUNY Press, 2010)

For six weeks in 1896, New York City was transfixed by the sensational murder trial of Mary Alice Livingston Fleming. Mary Alice was accused of poisoning her own mother with an arsenic-laced clam chowder delivered to the victim by her 10-year-old granddaughter. An exciting legal battle set in a city undergoing dramatic change.

A Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Wright and Women’s Rights
(with Sherry H. Penney, University of Massachusetts Press, 2004)

The dramatic life story of Martha Coffin Wright, one of the organizers of the historic 1848 Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention. She was also a pioneer in the abolition movement, and her home was a station on the Underground Railroad. Her preserved correspondence provides an unequaled insider’s view of 19th-century reform and family life.

Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets
(Harvard University Press, 1996)

From the “new” science of materials to everyday technology, Driving Force makes the workings of magnets a matter of practical wonder. The book will inform and entertain technical and nontechnical readers alike and will give them a clearer sense of the force behind so much of the working world.

Electronic Properties of Engineering Materials
(John Wiley & Sons, 1999)

Developed for an MIT undergraduate course in materials science and engineering, this text uses a balance of classical and quantum physics and chemistry to introduce the electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of metals, ceramics, polymers, and semiconductors. The writing style is much lighter than most engineering and science texts, and is very popular with students.

Selected Works

A brief sequel to Arsenic and Clam Chowder, in which Mary Alice travels north on the Klondike Gold Rush
A sensational murder trial set in 1890s New York
Popular Science
The first review of the many and varied forms of magnetic levitation written for a general audience.
A entertaining treatment of the history, legends, science, and technology of magnets for a general audience.
Historical Biography
The dramatic life story of an early feminist and abolitionist who was both witty and wise.
Undergraduate Textbook
A lively introduction to the electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of solids.

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