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161. The Scent of Eucalyptus: A Missionary
$9.99
162. Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir
$20.37 $18.95 list($29.95)
163. Surviving in Silence: A Deaf Boy
$8.21 $7.47 list($10.95)
164. While the Locust Slept (Native
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165. Bye Bye Baby : My Tragic Love
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166. Displaced Persons : Growing Up
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167. Ultimate Judgment : A Story of
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168. Clear Springs : A Family Story
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169. Orphan Boy
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170. The Cross on Castle Rock: A Childhood
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171. Daddy's Apprentice: Incest, Corruption,
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172. Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit: A Culinary
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173. Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood
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174. Pulling Down the Barn: Memories
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175. Meant to Be : The True Story of
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176. Buffalo Nickel: A Memoir
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177. Through the Jungle of Death: A
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178. The Price We Paid : A Life Experience
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179. First Words: A Childhood in Fascist
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180. Boyhood Along the Brook Called

161. The Scent of Eucalyptus: A Missionary Childhood in Ethiopia
by Daniel Coleman
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0864923740
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Goose Lane Editions
Sales Rank: 486457
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Contrasting The Zanzibar Chest with The Scent of Eucalyptus
If you were born in Africa of foreign parents or spent most of your childhood years in Africa, you owe it to yourself to read these two books. Whether your experiences were positive and you have returned to Africa as an adult, or whether you need catharsis from emotional wounds Africa is so adept at administering, these authors will provide contrasting mirrors in which to search for your reflection.

The Zanzibar Chest describes a Reuters war correspondent's life-experiences (mostly Africa), including the meandering description of a colonial officer's death, as described in a diary left to Hartley in his deceased father's carved Zanzibar chest. The Scent of Eucalyptus uses the foreign gum tree, widely planted in Africa, to symbolize a missionary child's nostalgic return, as an adult, to Ethiopia; the last part of the book is spent attempting to debunk the widespread academic view that missionaries were inept, short-sighted religious fanatics that spread cultural disarray in Africa and like places. Both books have much insight to offer those who would understand the world-views of Europeans raised in an African setting and who then spend a lifetime striving to amalgamate the various cultures that make up their characters.

Given the first person singular that dominates these non-fiction efforts, a certain amount of narcissism is to be expected. Both books suffer from a lack of focus, since neither have a readily discernable central plot. They jump between present and past, between what the authors perceive is their African story and the story of others around them. Anyone who has suffered culture shock or it's lifelong after-tremors can relate to this sense of what I call "socio-cultural netherness". The experiences these authors relate explore the trauma of self-imposed (in Hartley's case) or childhood (Coleman) African experiences that flash back uninvited for all of us Africans of foreign blood, long after they are relegated to suppressed memory. Sitting at my desk I can relive a decades-old Angolan war scene in crimson detail yet forget what was said at my last annual job evaluation. This lack of plot in both books, therefore, is understandable to me personally but makes categorization of these books difficult.

Having read these two books at the same time, I was struck by the contrast in world views from authors with fairly similar childhood backgrounds. Both were born and raised in Africa, fluently spoke, at one time, at least one African language, while growing up in strongly colonial (or neo-colonial) family settings. The privileged backgrounds of private schools and relative wealth contrast with the stress of social and emotional disconnect with everyone (including non-African raised parents) except those similarly lost.

Both authors portray, in unusually gentle terms, their parents' failure to change Africa. Coleman's missionary family's calling to evangelize Ethiopia's ancient Christianity is portrayed as sincere by an author who himself appears to have rejected their brand of theism. He even goes to great lengths to deflect the cultural imperialism his academic colleagues in Canada attribute to the entire missionary effort of the past few centuries.

Hartley, by contrast, minces no words describing his parents' failure to protect Africa from itself, first as British colonial servants and then as post-colonial development workers in the service of "do-gooder" foreign organizations. But, for a war correspondent, his writing is almost sympathetic as he describes his father's failure as agriculturalist, husband and parent, contrasting these with physical and social sacrifices in remote regions that eventually lead the elder Hartley to "go native" by starting an ultimately failed parallel African family. Both the newly arrived Canadian missionaries and the long-established British expatriates are well-intentioned Europeans who, if they change Africa, do so in completely unintended ways. Africa, it is clear, changes those who come to change it.

There the similarities end, however. Although Hartley is no saint, unapologetically describing his debaucheries while constantly living on the edge in Africa's hellholes, he appears more attuned to his own immortality than Coleman. During several occasions in which Hartley assumed his life was prematurely ended by violence, accident or disease, he finds comfort in the spiritual realm. He also searches for humanity buried in the inhumanity surrounding a war correspondent. Coleman, living the quiet, sheltered life common to most Westerners of the northern hemisphere, hints at agnosticism that does not require religion to get him through the drudgery of a predictable day-to-day.

Coleman describes his surprisingly detailed African experience through the rose-tint of a returning, long-absent son. His rejection of an absorbed (if not genetic) Africaness, as implied by never having returned to live there as an adult, leads him to choose the sedentary, colorless life of a Canadian academic. No surprise, then, that he describes his childhood experiences and defends his missionary roots with seemingly little understanding of the broader impact his culture, his nation, and his family have had (intentionally or not) on Africa. Yet one can tell from his ramblings, inspired by a short visit to his childhood haunts, that Africa has never quite left him.

In violent contrast, Hartley over-loads his writing with realism that describes, in mind-numbing detail, the atrocities Africans commit on each other as the world feigns disinterest while simultaneously devouring Hartley's gristly Reuters reports. Ethiopian, Rwandan, or Mozambican post-colonial traumas spill out in maggot-infested, visceral stench. If your African experience ended twenty years ago with picturesque village scenes and verdant boarding school rugby pitches, Coleman will help you catch up on what you have missed in the mean time. It may even temporarily cure your chronic nostalgia.

These two books are worth the read, if for different reasons. Coleman's quiet childhood memories of an Africa that, even then, was crumbling, remind us of what we often forget from our own childhood. Hartley slams us back to earth, reminding us that Africa is far from the simplistic, idyllic land of our youth. Both versions are correct, both versions worth reliving. ... Read more


162. Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir
by Mary Higgins Clark
list price: $9.99
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Asin: B00007GZAR
Catlog: Book
Manufacturer: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 786495
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"In her long-awaited memoir, Mary Higgins Clark, America's beloved and bestselling Queen of Suspense, recounts the early experiences that shaped her as a person and influenced her as a writer.Even as a young girl, growing up in the Bronx, Mary Higgins Clark knew she wanted to be a writer. The gift of storytelling was a part of her Irish ancestry, so it followed naturally that she would later use her sharp eye, keen intelligence, and inquisitive nature to create stories about the people and things she observed. Along with all Americans, those who lived in New York City's borough of the Bronx suffered during the Depression. So it followed that when Mary's father died, her mother, deciding to open the family home to boarders, placed a discreet sign next to the front door that read, FURNISHED ROOMS. KITCHEN PRIVILEGES. Very shortly the first in a succession of tenants arrived: a couple dodging bankruptcy who moved in with their wild-eyed boxer; a teacher who wept endlessly over her lost love; a deadbeat who tripped over a lamp while trying to sneak out in the middle of the night... The family's struggle to make ends meet; her days as a scholarship student in an exclusive girls' academy; her after-school employment as a hotel switchboard operator (happily listening in on the guests' conversations); the death of her beloved older brother in World War II; her brief career as a flight attendant for Pan Am (a job taken after a friend who flew with the airline said ever so casually, ""God, it was beastly hot in Calcutta""); her marriage to Warren Clark, on whom she'd had a crush for many years; sitting at the kitchen table, writing stories, and finally selling the first one for one hundred dollars (after six years and some forty rejections!) -- all these experiences figure into Kitchen Privileges, as does her husband's untimely death, which left her a widowed mother of five young children. ... Read more


163. Surviving in Silence: A Deaf Boy in the Holocaust
list price: $29.95
our price: $20.37
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Asin: 1563681196
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: Gallaudet University Press
Sales Rank: 621589
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Slightly long-winded bio stretching entire life...
I'm sorry, but this book just was not what I expected it to be. Though Harry Dunai did experience the Holocaust as a Jew, his deafness barely entered into it, except to maybe save his life. His typical experience of being sent away to residential schooling in Budapest probably saved his life, since his parents and brothers were collected and sent to the gas chambers.

Dunai's life was not easy by any measure, but he had many protectors and many people who cared for him and did so much for him in the way of providing homes and jobs. I don't know if it is the translating of Dunai's own words through his daughter and ghostwriter, but Dunai comes across as a very self-centered human being, who often does not show either the gratefulness for his blessings and for those who do things for him, nor does he express much concern for others.

Since I've read so many histories and biographies about those who did care on all sides, this one was very disappointing. The section on the war is short...mainly about how hungry he was. A lot of people starved to death...a lot of other people never had the people caring for them nor the opportunities for escaping a horrific existence that Dunai had.

If you are looking for a good book on the Medical Holocaust as it affected the Deaf, read 'Crying Hands' about the Deaf in Germany who were targeted before and during WWII. This book is okay as a demonstration of deaf life during the war and afterwards in Europe, I guess. (...) ... Read more


164. While the Locust Slept (Native Voices)
by Peter Razor
list price: $10.95
our price: $8.21
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Asin: 0873514394
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Sales Rank: 878058
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening
I guess I'm not done with this book quite yet, so technically I shouldn't be reviewing it, but I'm going to anyway. I live in Owatonna and work in the main building of the old orphanage. I had never heard before that children were abused and even killed here! Peter's book is definitely eye-opening! It's well-written and sometimes seems more like a novel, I have to keep reminding myself that it is indeed true and didn't happen all that long ago. I would defiinitely recommend this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars while the locust slept
Like Peter I lived and went through total hell from a matron while I was in the same orphanage. After reading Peters book while the locust slept,I relived the same anger, as Peter indured.This book should be a must read by anyone,who plans on going into the socialwork field and know that this is truly a non fiction tragedy which happened.This is a story that took place a long time ago,but could still and does happen today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tragedy and horific treatment of innocent babies & children!
My father as well was in the Owatonna "orphanage" which he termed as an "intournment camp/prison"! Babies and children were treated more tragically at this place than you could even imagine. Babies died for lack of "touch" and nurturing! Children were beaten, mauled, and oftentimes died as a result of such treatment. Peter Razor cites an insightfully true story of just SOME of the horific experiences of babies and children in this most insightful book on our country's past (AND EVEN PRESENT) ways of "Social Services" treating our "lost" children!! A MUST TO READ! ... Read more


165. Bye Bye Baby : My Tragic Love Affair with The Bay City Rollers
by Caroline Sullivan
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1582340552
Catlog: Book (2001-02-10)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Sales Rank: 243930
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Everybody has a guilty secret--but most people tend to want to keep their skeletons well hidden in the closet. Not so Caroline Sullivan, a noted rock journalist in the U.K. In Bye Bye Baby, Sullivan stands up and shouts, "I was a Bay City Rollers fan."

Sullivan readily admits that the Rollers were not musical geniuses. Growing up in Millburn, New Jersey, on a diet of Led Zeppelin, the Who, and Peter Frampton, she recognized skilled musicianship. But she was a fan from the moment she saw BCR on television. "My entire Rollermaniac career was a struggle between knowing they were no Led Zep but loving them anyway."

For her obsession, Sullivan lacks even the excuse of extreme youth. Age 15 in 1975, when the Rollers made their first appearance in the U.S., she and her 16-, 17-, and 19-year-old friends--the self-proclaimed "Tacky Tartan Tarts"--were already older than the average Roller fan. But she was no average fan: "I love them desperately. For four years I lived for them. It's not a pretty story."

But it is a funny story. Bye Bye Baby tracks the history of the band, from their unassuming beginnings as the Saxons to the top of the U.S. charts with "Saturday Night"--and their inevitable decline. It also traces the antics of a group of dedicated fans who would do anything to get close to their idols--turning up at airports at the crack of dawn, wild car chases through city streets, elaborate subterfuges with hotels, airlines, and PR companies. "We were a bit like those dogs who chase cars--what would they do if they caught one?"

In the end, Sullivan did catch one--though only for a brief time (and she's gentlewoman enough never to expressly name which one). And she, her fellow Tarts, and the Rollers all moved on. But in Bye Bye Baby, Caroline Sullivan tells a funny and touching story--and pays homage to the band she once loved. --Sunny Delaney ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars I was a Roller fan, too...
I knew I HAD to get this book as soon as I found out what the subject matter was. The Bay City Rollers were my first favorite group, and I will always have a soft spot in my heart (some would say my head!) for them.

If only I had been old enough to travel around the country after them (I was 11 years old when I became a fan). Ms. Sullivan takes you into the world of single-minded obsession that flares at its brightest during the teen years. I know how it is to want something (and someone!) so badly, even though you ask yourself WHY you felt this way years later...

But I must say (for those who don't know the Rollers)...the BCR's music is not QUITE as bad as Ms. Sullivan describes it. I recently bought "The Definitive Collection" ... and it's tons ahead of the slop that passes for pop on today's radio...

2-0 out of 5 stars A watered-down American Psycho for Teenyboppers
As a non-gay, young male teenage fan of the Rollers back in the 70s, I was quite intrigued to read this book - especially in light of recent press about Courtney Love purchasing the rights to this for film (and reports of Ewan McGregor playing BCR singer Les McKeown, despite McKeown's protestations that it should be Keanu Reeves). What I found was a mildly entertaining story of obsession - but obsession with what? Clearly it really wasn't the Bay City Rollers. What emerges is a rather negative and downer read, based mostly on teen rivalry, boredom and fanaticism, with the Rollers themselves (and their music) as a non-essential peripheral excuse for the whole shang-a-lang. Actually, this so-called "fan" makes continued slams on the band themselves, mostly their music. She offers very little in the way of information about the group, other than what everyone already knows from numerous press releases and stories already on the net. Aye, a wee number of personal observations, of course, but these are peppered with less-than-accurate negative critiques of their music, looks, style, decisions, etc. This book is more the tale of a loser with nothing better to do than compete with other losers for "stalking rights" for a band she cares almost nothing about musically...which begs the question "what is the point"? This book, actually, could have ANY teenie band substituted for the Rollers (i.e Westlife, Boyzone, Osmonds, etc.) It reads a tad like American Psycho, but instead of murder, it very blandly tells of endless waits in hotel corridors, and the occasional angry spat if one of the band members was seen walking with another girl. Jeesh. One wonders how on earth a film could be squeezed out of these boring pages...I had hoped for a true memory of those days (I didn't necessarily need an apologetic and nostalgic look at Rollermania, but this is a completely dull opposite), but what we get is a rather pathetic portrait of life as an American school leaver obsessed with a band she didn't actually care for, and, from these pages, a band with an image, music, musicianship, style, etc. she actually disliked. What's the point? Rollermaniacs, or those interested in the whole subject: avoid - this really offers nothing; not even a glimmer of the fun and excitement we all felt back when we had acne and funny tartan clothes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yikes! What a fun book!
I was a COMPLETE BCR fan when i was a child, but i was much, much younger than the author...much too young to chase after them. so this was an incredibally entertaining read for me. i actually believed the whole 'milk drinking boys' thing at the time, and it was so funny to hear the REAL story. woody was my favorite Roller, and i'm guessing he was the author's as well, so this read was especially entertaining for me. can't wait for les' book to come out to get the story of being a BCR.

5-0 out of 5 stars Five Tartan Stars!
I was never a fan of the Bay City Rollers, but a friend mailed me this book saying that it was a must read. It sat on the coffee table for a few weeks, but once I sat down to start reading it, I couldn't put it down! The writing style sucks you in, almost as if it was a friend casually telling you the story.

What is the story? An out of control obsession with the Bay City Rollers, of course! You've got a group of friends who ban together in their love of the Rollers. They trick managers into telling them where the band is staying and airline agents into giving them info on flight times. They call the band members' mothers. They basically do anything they can to see and be near the Rollers.

This book is amazing and for anyone who's ever been obsessed with a band - you can either read it and say "yeah, I did stuff like that too" or "at least I wasn't that obsessed!"

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read for all the"Rollermanics" out there!
I bought this book and totally loved it! It is so refreshing to read something that comes from the fan perspective. Caroline tells her story very well. Being a "Rollermaniac" myself, I dreamed of running after the Rollers, but unfortunately I never even got to see them live in their short lived careers. Caroline and friends live out every Roller fan's fantasy and that WAS to get physically close to the Rollers! The only thing that the book was missing was some pictures of the Tacky Tartan Tarts(!) and pictures of some of their adventures. I did love the Roller's music however and Derek (sigh:), two things that Caroline does not seem to embrace. Pretty sure that Mr. Roller is Woody, but after what she says in the book about Derek, I thought it would have been hysterical if that would have been her Roller!(He certainly could have been mine!) At any rate, its a good read for any person who considers themselves to be a FANatic! ... Read more


166. Displaced Persons : Growing Up American After the Holocaust
by Joseph Berger
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 068485757X
Catlog: Book (2001-04-24)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 451217
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Although I may not have been able to articulate it, I already felt these alien streets would be a trial, filled with unfamiliar faces and unfamiliar tongues. How could I make a friend when I didn't even speak English? How could I understand a teacher or classmate? And how could I rely on my perplexed, frightened parents to help me cope?"


So begins veteran New York Times reporter Joseph Berger's beguiling account of how one family of Polish Jews -- with one son born at the close of World War II and the other in a "displaced persons" camp outside Berlin -- managed to make a life for themselves in an utterly foreign landscape. Displaced Persons speaks directly to a little-known slice of Holocaust history, illuminating as never before the experience of 140,000 refugees who came to the United States between 1947 and 1953.

The world of Manhattan's Upper West Side, in the shadow of Hitler's atrocities, has been the subject of some of Isaac Bashevis Singer's best fiction. But through the eyes of a bright and perceptive boy we come to understand the reality on a more visceral level. Like many immigrants and children of immigrants, Joseph Berger lives in two worlds at the same time. On the one hand, there is this thrillingly rich American turf to explore as a child, and he does a brilliant job of bringing that adventure to life. On the otherhand, he never lets us forget what it's like to feel intractably rooted in another, incompatible world of refugee parents who cannot speak English, a world of people dazed from unimaginable loss, and whose loneliness is unrelenting.

Joseph Berger pays eloquent homage to his parents' extraordinary courage, luck, and hard work. For as he says, "If we, the sons and daughters of those who survived, will not remember their vanished world, who will?" But Displaced Persons also testifies to the frustratingly hardy state of being a refugee -- no matter where one's initial port of call happens to be and no matter how much success has been achieved in the adopted country. By writing so sweetly and honestly about this "indelible way of seeing the world," Joseph Berger has shed a warm light on a perennial, universal condition. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars superb read
i loved this book. i felt as though i was right there with him and his family through every phase of their lives. this book had everything going for it, sadness, chaos, happiness, tragedy. it was so personal and you just felt as though the author let you in to share with him.

5-0 out of 5 stars sensitive, poignant memoir about Holocaust/American roots
New York Times journalist Joseph Berger has created a masterful, evocative and moving account of the ever-present duality of his life: his identity as an acculturated American child of Holocaust survivors. This duality gives his account of his mother's life and his own evolution from a bewildered refugee child into an accomplished American a poignancy and power. "Displaced Persons" will stand as an important contribution, not only to our understanding of the long-term implications of being a survivor of the Holocaust, but of the unique burdens, pressures and responsibilities children of survivors inherit from their parents.

Berger is acutely aware of "the unmentioned sorrow that was the subtext to everything [his] parents said or did." Haunted by memories, devastated by enormous loss, handicapped by their arrival in America in their twenties and driven to provide security for their families, Holocaust survivors often perceive their children as replacements of beloved family members who perished and as repositories of hopes and dreams denied them. Worried about their children's safety, happiness and future, Berger muses about his parents' perspective, "What could I say about the dread and suspicion with which they encountered a world that had proven maliciously fickle?"

As the author emerges from childhood, he begins to chafe from his mother's protective, controlling instincts and desires to assert himself as his own man. Berger's wrenching analysis of his status becomes the overarching theme of his memoir. "I saw myself now an an American...I would no more be the timid refugee boy with one leg planted in the fearful shtetls of Poland, with a mother ever vigilant that no more perils come to the remnants of her kin." It is this unspoken loving tension between Joseph and his mother, Rachel, that gives "Persons" its dynamism.

Alternating between two narratives, one his own and the other the gripping account of his mother's survival, Berger deftly intermingles past and present. Aware of his distinct heritage, the young Berger recognizes others in his impoverished Manhattan neighborhood who share his background. "We knew one another, knew in our young bellies that our parents were the same dazed and damaged lot, had the same refugee awkwardness, the same whiff about them of marrow bones and carp." Now attempting to wrest coherence in America, Holocaust survivors tend to frustrate Berger with their problem solving techniques. Berger prefers the American way of standing up directly; survivors "were always scraping by on a willingness to do what was necessary to survive, even if that meant surrendering pride or principle."

Raw emotion floods "Displaced Persons." Rachel's symbolic mourning of a dead child in Warsaw at the onset of World War II serves to remind us that she has no "mental picture" of the actual murder of her family. Unspoken grief undulates throughout the memoir. Berger's stoic father Marcus scarcely articulates his unfathomable sense of loss; nearly half a century passes before he can utter the names of his sisters. Guilt ebbs and flows in Rachel's description of her survival. Anguished over refusing to bring non-kosher food to her hungry brother during World War II, she has never forgiven heself, calling it "the worst thing I ever did in my life."

Yet life surges and humor emerges in Berger's descriptions of growing up in New York City in the 1950s and 60s. With both parents working at dreary, tiring jobs, the author experiences a freedom of movement he admits he would never conceive of allowing his own daughter today. His descriptions of his initial exploration of Manhattan reveal the sheer joy of discovery, the incredible exuberance of youthful hopes and the awesome sense of possibilities Berger recognizes in his new home. Berger's frantic disposal of an illicit girlie magazine carries universal appeal; he becomes an American everyboy. His struggles with self-confidence, academic competition and sexual frustrations are those of not only his generation, but of those before and after.

Written with conviction and compassion, "Displaced Persons" is that kind of memoir that not only describes, but instructs. Through the author's descriptions of his resolute, stubborn and proud mother, survivors attain an identity beyond that of suffering and loss. His own life's story shapes our understanding of the purpose of our national experience and the sacredness of an American identity. Treating both the Holocuast in its past brutality and its implications for the second-generation children of survivors, the memoir blends sorrow and joy, heartache and hope, pain and redemption.

4-0 out of 5 stars Informative and important, but not a great book
Joseph Berger has written a story that needed to be told, but he has included too much extraneous material about his own life. Much of what he tells reveals what it was like growing up as the child of a refugee, but who cares whether or not he dated in high school?

The best parts of this book were those about his mother's life and about how she managed in the United States as a refugee. Berger's writing is more journalism than story telling. He's got all the facts, but none of his descriptions flare above the mundane. His mother's reminisences are far more artistic, and reveal more than the words on the page.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read on the subject
My father's story parallels Joseph Berger's in eerie ways...they were both at the Schlactensee DP Camp and the Landsberg-Am-Lech DP camp...Berger's mother's story of her youth could be my grandmother's, from an unpleasant step-mother to the flight East to Russia. My father was born during my grandparents' refuge in the USSR, and crossed illegally with his family into Poland after the war ended. I have always been close to my grandparents, but this book brought clarity and insight into topics they don't generally discuss...the duality that immigrant survivors (the displaced persons) felt between their new lives in America and the tragedy and loss left in Europe. When I look at my grandparents' happy faces at family occasions---graduations, weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties---I wonder if the events make them remember times similar back in Lithuania. Berger's story, beautifully written and researched, is a must-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written Memoir
This book will be enjoyed by all who read it for it is a story of survival from the ashes of the Holocaust. This book is also an excellent book club selection that will spark much thought and conversation. ... Read more


167. Ultimate Judgment : A Story of Emotional Corruption, Obsession and Betrayal
by Meg Clairmonte
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1558748318
Catlog: Book (2001-02-01)
Publisher: HCI
Sales Rank: 140398
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When millionaire shrimping magnate Donald Sahlman died of cancer in November 1992, his friends, family and business associates crowded into a church in Tampa, Florida to mourn a man who was gentle, generous and compassionate. But their benevolent image of Sahlman was about to be shattered. In a case that would shock all who knew him and set a legal precedent, Sahlman was put on trail and posthumously charged with the heinous sexual abuse of his stepdaughter.

This is a gripping story documented with actual court transcripts as Clairmonte details the sexual and emotional abuse she suffered at her stepfather's hands for twenty-five years. Perhaps even more shocking are Clairmonte's allegations against her own mother, who conspired in the abuse and even facilitated it, selling her daughter into sexual and emotional slavery for financial security. In this precedent-setting court case, Sahlman's estate was ordered to pay Meg Clairmonte $3 million. This riveting story is one of emotional corruption, obsession and betrayal at their darkest levels, but more importantly, it is the story of human courage, resilience and ultimate triumph.

... Read more

Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Ending to a child betrayed.
Being from Tampa and reading a write-up in a local newspaper regarding ULTIMATE JUDGMENT prompted me to read the book. The story is well told with enough details to give a reader a glimpse of the hoorors Meg Clairmonte must have gone through for so many years. The book is well written and remains interesting with the addition of the depositions throughout the story; one can hardly put the book down once it is started. Going through these experiences must be terrible memories for me; as a child, she unfortunately missed out on so many positive experiences with grownups and what life should be like.

Somehow Meg's "power of choice" in her daily living were chrushed by her mother and step-father, people who should have been loving, guiding and trusting. Instead they were human beings filled with their own selfish egos, wants and negative desires that betrayed their own child. He was a "religious person" yet he was so corrupt in countless ways in how he treated Meg and her brother as human beings. Meg's forgiveness of his inappropriate behavior is certainly rewarding and speaks of her character. If the book is given enough press and talked about, perhaps just a few more individuals will be able to break an abuse cycle in which they might be trapped in. No child should ever be put in a situation that daily life becomes a nightmare. Trust and respect must be automatice in a child's life; for Meg these elements may never be part of her journey in life. The book is great because the story is extremely touching. It is filled with descriptions that paint so many pctures and has a GREAT ending for Meg. Good job Meg and Aurora.

5-0 out of 5 stars Things Every Human Being need to know exist in this world
This book has not been in my home for 12 Hours and has been completely "devoured" and some of it reread. The world, as Meg knew it must be revealed and we should pay attention. The damage done for the selling of her, by her mother, into sexual slavery, the emotional crippling of a prisoner of war, and only God knows what else, purely for materalistic gain and status in the world and Don's perverse desires are akin to the small segments that ultimately tear down the very fiber of society. Meg is a very brave woman and people should be empathetic enough to wonder what they would have done in her place, and if she can ever be happy, whole and mentally sound....I, for one fervently hope so. And thank you for letting me experiance this incredable story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book Ever
I've learned from personal experience that Meg is truely as strong and good hearted as she seems. I cringe at the thought of the horrible things she was forced to endure for so long and can only pray this book touches others as much as it has me. Meg's story inspires everyone to never give up or give in to the wicked people surrounding us. I thank the Lord everyday for the voice he has given her, and hope that others can find peace that have been through similar tragidies.

5-0 out of 5 stars I can relate
I met this wonderful person that this book was written about. She gave me this book when she learned that I too was abused. It is incredible how she has turned so much pain and suffering into something positive as she shows so clearly in the way she leads her life. I never thought in a million years there was so much abuse going on in our United States. It't time that abuse is stopped including verbal, mental,emotional and sexual. I pray that in opening the scarrs and barring her soul in her book that Megan will be continuely blessed and never forgotten. Your Friend, June

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolute Must-Have
Once I opened this book, I could not put it down. I think anyone who has suffered from sexual abuse should read this book. It shows us that we are not alone, even though it feels that way most of the time. Meg's picture should be next to the word "survivor" in the dictionary. ... Read more


168. Clear Springs : A Family Story
by Bobbie Ann Mason, Random House Inc.
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060956291
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 108625
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

People love and remember the novels of Bobbie Ann Mason because they ring so true. This dazzling memoir saga of three generations, their aspirations, their conflicts, and the ties that bound them to one another. Spanning decades, Clear Springs gracefully weaves together the stories of Mason's grandparents, parents, and her won generation. The narrative moves from the sober industriousness of a Kentucky farm to the hippie lifestyle of the countercultural 1960s; from a New York fan magazine to the shock-therapy ward of a mental institution; from a county poorhouse to the set of a Hollywood movie; from a small rustic schoolhouse to glittering pop music concerts. In the process of recounting her own odyssey--the story of a misfit girl who dreamed of distant places--Mason depicts the changes that have come to family, to women, and to heartland America in the twentieth century. Ultimately, Clear Springs is a heartfelt portrait of an extended family, and a profound affirmation of the importance of family love. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars The way it was, for some of us, in childhood...
When writing a memoir, authors are advised to write the first draft as if everyone is dead - and then to prune the damaging parts in subsequent rewrites. Perhaps Mason pruned a bit too much. This otherwise lovely and affectionate memoir of how it was to grow up in a small, working-class town in Kentucky in the 40s and 50s is a bit long on respect and caution - and a bit short on grit.
Otherwise, I loved it. I grew up in Kansas in the 50s and can relate to the pace, small-town values, and lack of danger (except from the "evil Communists" and "the bomb") that Mason portrays as such inherent parts of her roots. Her language, esp in the first part of the book focusing on her own childhood memories, is rich and multi-layered and pulls readers into every scene right along with her. In the rest of the book, she uses the techniques of creative nonfiction to weave a background narrative that spans the lives of three generations of women within the community.
A worthwhile read; it won't change your life, but it might make you think, and it's certainly a pleasant trip to take with this accomplished author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magical and nostalgic
Bobbie Ann Mason has written an honest and wonderful book dealing with her growing-up years in Western Kentucky, with her leaving the rural life and entering the urban world, only to return in her later years to Kentucky. The book will trigger a lot of similar memories in many readers, and should take its place alongside books by Russell Baker and others as a true and accurate picture of bygone eras.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Mason
Indispensible to serious readers of Mason's fiction, this memoir is true to family and community life in Western Kentucky (despite what other reviewers might say).

5-0 out of 5 stars The author remembers and revisits her Kentucky home
I'm an appreciative fan of Bobbie Ann Mason's short stories, about rural people raised with traditional values now somewhat at sea in a world of consumerism, pop culture, and a new morality. Young adults, whose parents would have stuck with a marriage come hell or high water, now divorce and drift through relationships. Their parents tied to the land and other life-long occupations, Mason's post-war generation is less rooted, freed of conventional beliefs, but often at a loss about what to believe in. Most striking as America grows increasingly urban, Mason's people continue to inhabit a rural landscape -- more worldly than their forebears, but not more sophisticated.

While some readers of Mason's stories and novels may have been puzzled by the point of view in them (ironic? matter of fact? sentimental?), this wonderful memoir should do much to clear up that ambiguity. Here a reader is introduced to the world of day-to-day experience that these narratives have emerged from. And you can begin to see how the matter of fact, ironic, and sentimental blend into a perspective that is distinctly rural American. The strongest individual (who is surely the source of many of Mason's fictional characters) is without doubt her mother, a remarkable woman with a quizzical sense of humor, a colorful manner of speaking, and a long view that comes of witnessing much of the 20th century at first hand.

A list of highlights in this book would go on for pages; there's just so much to savor and enjoy. There's Mason's own unsophisticated childhood (barefoot summers, crushes on pop stars, rock and roll fandom), the making of the film "In Country," and the continuing transformation of the rural Kentucky environment from horse-and-buggy days to the invasion of agribusiness -- a huge processing plant has sprung up across the road from the family farm.

I recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed Mason's fiction. It is rich with thoughtful and well-observed detail reaching back across three generations of family history.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Book
I can see I'm really out of step on this one! I thought this book left too many questions unanswered. For one, it failed to put the family into the context of the community: Sally Jane never comes down the road to borrow a cup of sugar; Fred Brown never drives over in his new car. Secondly, it glides over the family's obvious material success. How many husbands give their wives fishing ponds? How many farm wives go on senior citizens' junkets all over the world? I assume the money came from the tobacco allotment which is treated as a nuisance (which it is) but which is highly profitable. And thirdly, the author never relates to people outside the family. So I sense a kind of dishonesty of omission - none of these people are real to me.
I spent some time in eastern Kentucky in 1966, and the farmer who was my landlord (and who thanked god for his tobacco allotment) was signing papers right and left to prove that the young men in the neighborhood worked for him so they would be classified as essential labor and would not be sent to Viet Nam. That's why I consider it important to meet the neighbors. Otherwise the entire book is like Christy's big fish out of water, pushed onto the bank of the pond while Christy gets colder and colder. ... Read more


169. Orphan Boy
by R. J., Jr Milne
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 075968779X
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: Authorhouse
Sales Rank: 819795
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The year was 1909, and one young boy found himself alone and unwanted, left to fend for himself in trying times. Russell J. Milne, Sr., orphaned at the age of five, was shuffled between relatives – and often strangers – to work for his room and board. Sent to live in Montana, he endured harsh winters working as a farmhand; braved treacherous working conditions as a miner in Butte’s copper mines; and eventually owned his own successful business in excavation. Possessing an affection for animals, he also had an affinity for horses – of which he owned several in his time – and even trained one to jump into the back of his truck for a ride home, at the end of a long workday. He was also an excellent rider, and, at one time even participated in a rodeo. This story recounts his many adventures, how he overcame seemingly impossible obstacles as a young orphan, to rise to the top and become a successful entrepreneur and family man. His story is truly an inspiration to future generations – and that anyone can succeed, if they choose to do so. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspirational and adventure-packed read.
Orphan Boy is an interesting read. The book recounts the true story of a boy left parentless at an early age, his struggles to earn a living--or sometimes just to survive--in the early 20th century West. It's an inspirational story of a boy who never relented, and always forged ahead to make a better life for himself. It was never easy for him, but his persistence paid off. As his life progressed, he became a very successful businessman--quite a change from the often homeless, disregarded boy of his youth, who sometimes wondered where he would get his next meal.

I encourage you to read Orphan Boy for it's overall message of persistence and ingenuity. The story of how this boy (Russell Milne, Sr.) was compelled to survive and succeed in a tough world is truly a motivational read! ... Read more


170. The Cross on Castle Rock: A Childhood Memoir
by George Nakagawa
list price: $13.95
our price: $13.95
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Asin: 0595296130
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: iUniverse
Sales Rank: 780672
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In early 1942, the U.S. government imprisoned, without charge or trial, 120,000 American citizens and legal resident aliens. Their crime? They were of Japanese ancestry and were living on the West Coast.

The Cross on Castle Rock chronicles the World War II years which author George Nakagawa spent in American prison camps. In spite of the poor food, stark conditions, and restrictions on freedom, communal living and freedom from chores resulted in a fun-filled three years for the young son of a poor immigrant farmer. Endless days of school, sports, play, and mischief-making with adolescent buddies who lived together like members of the same family are the source of many of Nakagawa's best childhood memories.

There was also a dark side. Widespread racism in America and instances of gross incompetence on the part of inexperienced camp administrators resulted in mistrust and misunderstanding. This led to ruined lives and the irreparable fracturing of the closely-knit Japanese American community, leaving scars that have never healed. There was also needless pain and suffering when the camps were suddenly closed and some of the last residents of the camps, mostly the elderly, were evicted, leaving them homeless, jobless, and virtually penniless.

... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Anyone Interested in American History
This fascinating first-hand account describes life as a young Japanese-American boy imprisoned during WWII in the American internment camps. This book covers Mr. Nakagawa's experiences of May 1942 through October 1945--from the first day of his relocation to the last day of his imprisonment at age thirteen. Mr. Nakagawa writes about each camp where he and his family were relocated: Pinedale, Tule Lake, and Heart Mountain. (The camp names alone are strangely surreal and somehow revealing of this sad era in American history.)

Yet while the period itself is a sad one, Mr. Nakagawa's story, as told through the eyes of his childhood self, remains uplifting. The writing is impeccably clear and non-filtered; unlike many memoirs that lose themselves in nonessential meanderings, The Cross on Castle Rock focuses on the matter at hand--how a child copes in dire straits. Mr. Nakagawa is too graceful to dwell on the darker matters, instead focusing on the daily routines of camp life. This is what makes the story so heart wrenching.

The detail used to describe games he and other children played in the camps is amazing. "The Ring Game" and "Poison" are two marble games explained so well one can't help but feel you're there watching the children play.

The Cross on Castle Rock, however, is not all child's play. Mr. Nakagawa touches on the difficulties of camp life--family separations, property loss, and conflicts within the Japanese American Citizen's League (JACL). Sufficient background on Pearl Harbor, Executive Order 9066, President Roosevelt, General DeWitt, No-No Boys, agricultural competition in California, and the general climate of that period are provided so that we have the historical perspective to understand the significance of young George's experiences.

In short, this book is highly recommended for those studying American history, Asian-American history, the internment camps of Japanese Americans, or autobiographies in general. Readers are guaranteed an enriching experience that, like I, will want to share with others. ... Read more


171. Daddy's Apprentice: Incest, Corruption, and Betrayal-A Survivor's Story
by Sandy Wilson, S. L. Bolton
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0595135544
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Writer's Showcase Press
Sales Rank: 423915
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sandy Wilson immerses you in the horrific, true account of her childhood. You travel the labyrinth of incest, crime sprees, and exploitation. Her struggle captures your heart and fuels your outrage. How does Sandy end a decade of her father's psychopathic tyranny? ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Appreciating Daddy's Apprentice
Sandy Wilson's "Daddy's Apprentice" is an account that deserves serious attention.One of the many profound issues that this work addresses is that of the devices employed by abusers to intimidate their victims into silent compliance.The courage summoned by the author to reveal her secrets broke the fundamental bonds of her father's control.The themes of guilt, fear, and accountability are brilliantly woven between the lines of this text.The storyline is exciting and fast-paced, while deeper personal and social issues are subtly explored.The reader is not bombarded with the explicit details or the extent of the sexual abuse, however, the issues of power, violation, guilt, and perpetual dread are apparent.Meanwhile, the notion of "pigeon-holing," which is only mentioned directly towards the end of this memoir, is ever-present throughout this book.Sandy accepts a society that views her as "white-trash" and by this, our society not only minimizes, but compounds her sufferring.Nonetheless, the author does not depict herself as a martyr, a helpless female, or a heroine.She addresses her situation honestly, and reccounts her experiences without prejudice.This work not only lends understanding to a very sensitive subject for every reader, but empowers those who can identify with Sandy's struggle.As this is a true story, it cannot be neatly packaged up and shipped out.Therefore, the unanswered questions, the jagged edges, linger with the reader and offer a sense of wonderment at the vague line between what can be seen and what lurks in the shadows beyond.I invite those who pick up this book to examine such themes as co-dependency, enablement, the depth of trust and the depth of fear, isolation (personally and geographically), stereotyping, and the ease at which we can be manipulated by others.Sandy's gift to the public in sharing her story must be noticed and appreciated.

5-0 out of 5 stars Appreciating Daddy's Apprentice
Sandy Wilson's "Daddy's Apprentice" is an account that deserves serious attention.One of the many profound issues that this work addresses is that of the devices employed by abusers to intimidate their victims into silent compliance.The courage summoned by the author to reveal her secrets broke the fundamental bonds of her father's control.The themes of guilt, fear, and accountability are brilliantly woven between the lines of this text.The storyline is exciting and fast-paced, while deeper personal and social issues are subtly explored.The reader is not bombarded with the explicit details or the extent of the sexual abuse, however, the issues of power, violation, guilt, and perpetual dread are apparent.Meanwhile, the notion of "pigeon-holing," which is only mentioned directly towards the end of this memoir, is ever-present throughout this book.Sandy accepts a society that views her as "white-trash" and by this, our society not only minimizes, but compounds her sufferring.Nonetheless, the author does not depict herself as a martyr, a helpless female, or a heroine.She addresses her situation honestly, and reccounts her experiences without prejudice.This work not only lends understanding to a very sensitive subject for every reader, but empowers those who can identify with Sandy's struggle.As this is a true story, it cannot be neatly packaged up and shipped out.Therefore, the unanswered questions, the jagged edges, linger with the reader and offer a sense of wonderment at the vague line between what can be seen and what lurks in the shadows beyond.I invite those who pick up this book to examine such themes as co-dependency, enablement, the depth of trust and the depth of fear, isolation (personally and geographically), stereotyping, and the ease at which we can be manipulated by others.Sandy's gift to the public in sharing her story must be noticed and appreciated. ... Read more


172. Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit: A Culinary Memoir
by Austin Clarke
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565845803
Catlog: Book (2000-04)
Publisher: New Press
Sales Rank: 165098
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A tantalizing Caribbean memoir--part cookbook, part family history--by "one of the more talented novelists at work in the English language today" (Norman Mailer). Reminiscent of Like Water for Chocolate, Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit blends lyrical, evocative writing with engaging descriptions of how to cook the dishes of Austin Clarke's native Barbados. Winner of the 1999 Martin Luther King, Jr., Achievement Award and author of eight highly praised novels and five short-story collections, Clarke is considered one of the preeminent Caribbean writers of our time. Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit describes the way he learned traditional Bajan recipes--food that has its origins in the days of slavery, hardship, and economic grief--by listening to his mother, aunts, and cousins talk about food while they cooked it. From Oxtails with Mushrooms, Smoked Ham Hocks with Lima Beans, and Breadfruit Cou-Cou with Braising Beef, to Clarke's renowned Chicken Austintacious, each dish evokes the vibrant, sun-drenched island of his childhood and is accompanied by stories about the rituals of food and family. The result is not only succulent food, but a unique portrait of growing up in Barbados in the late 1930s and early 1940s. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Visit beautiful Barbados....
This delightful book evokes the language and spirit of Barbados. The author weaves in tales of growing up in Barbados with memories of the food, 'hot cuisine', that fashioned his childhood. For anyone who has visited the island, this will surely bring back fond and enticing memories. Read the book, visit Barbados!

5-0 out of 5 stars Descriptions of preparing dishes, lovingly detailed.
This culinary memoir of the author's childhood in Barbados describes his early introduction to cooking, his involvement with native dishes, and his progress in becoming a cook. Don't look for recipes here; it's more a memoir and biography of Barbados cooking, though descriptions of preparing dishes are lovingly detailed and rival James Beard's American presentations. ... Read more


173. Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood
by Willie Morris
list price: $10.95
our price: $8.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0916242684
Catlog: Book (2000-10)
Publisher: Yoknapatawpha Press
Sales Rank: 108831
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Baseball, Football and the Yazoo City Witch
This was a great memoir about a "typical" southern boy's childhood. I wish Willie Morris had not died so young because I found his work so enjoyable, and it would have been wonderful to read even more of his writing.

I would not put Mr. Morris up on the same level as Mark Twain (and he probably would not want it either), but this book reminds me in a lot of ways of Tom Sawyer--a young boy's life on the Mississippi Delta. Everyone should experience these memories, whether in real time or vicariously.

He tells of his childhood in Yazoo City, Mississippi, with all his childhood friends, including Spit McGee (the forty's Huckleberry Finn). He recalls their baseball games, football games, hunting on the Delta with his father, practical jokes played on anyone and everyone. He recounts the story of the Witch of Yazoo and the broken chain. One of the best and most humorous of his stories is the tale of the haunted house and what the boys found in it one dark and stormy night.

I best remember in this book the chapters of a typical day in the life of a boy his age in Yazoo City--a day in the summer and a day in the fall. These are great vignettes and very poignant pulling in the reader to want to recall his or her own childhood memories.

This is a great memoir and can be enjoyed by all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I have Ever Read
This is one of the best books that I have ever read.Mr. Morrishas a beautiful writing style, and captures the beauty of the southperfectly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Willie done right
This was a great book ... I am from MS and Good Ol' Boy really makes you feel what it could have been like growing up in the Delta. If you dig Southern Lit, you won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny, nostalgic and scary
Though young readers won't recognize Morris as a writer, this story of his youth is wonderful.It starts with a witch, moves on to sports- his dog is on the team and then goes to more mayhem with haunted houses and robbers. There are wonderful characters like Bubba- a modern day Huckelberry Finn and Rivers Applewhite- the only girl who hangs with the boys. there are pranks- like tricking the boys from the next town with twins running a race. Most of all its a look at a time when people listened to baseball games on the radio and had time to explore the woods rather than cyberworlds. ... Read more


174. Pulling Down the Barn: Memories of a Rural Childhood (Great Lakes Books)
by Anne-Marie Oomen
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0814332331
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Sales Rank: 600735
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Book Description

Blending artful language and style with the dirt, blood, and sweat of farm life, this collection of essays tells a moving story of growing up in rural Michigan. ... Read more


175. Meant to Be : The True Story of a Son Who Discovers He Is His Mother's Deepest Secret
by Walter Anderson
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060099070
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 502086
Average Customer Review: 4.92 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Parade magazine's Walter Anderson, one of America's most admired editors, grew up on "the wrong side of the tracks" in Mount Vernon, New York. The youngest child of an alcoholic, abusive father, he escaped his situation by quitting high school at sixteen to join the Marines. Four years later, while on leave to attend his father's funeral, he stunned his mother with a question that had inexplicably haunted him since he was a small boy: Was the man who had so tormented him in his childhood his real father? Her answer: Walter was born of a wartime affair between his Protestant mother and the Jewish man she loved. His mother swore Walter to secrecy, and he honored their pact for nearly thirty-five years. Then, one day he met an unknown brother -- another son of his real father -- who had lived a nearly parallel life. Their secret, in ways large and small, defined the course of Walter's life.

... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Incredibly Powerful and Inspirational Memoir
If, as the old saying goes, the past is never really past, 59-year-old Walter Anderson proves in MEANT TO BE that you do not have to be imprisoned or destroyed by your past and that people can overcome the secrets of their lives --- no matter how painful --- through love, compassion and the truth.

This is an incredibly powerful and inspirational memoir that is already being called a "coming-of-age classic." On the surface, Anderson's life appeared to be the classic "rags to riches" tale. Raised literally on the wrong side of the tracks in an impoverished section of town, Anderson suffered horrific violence and abuse at the hands of an alcoholic father. He dropped out of high school at 17, joined the Marines and began an improbable climb from the tenements of his childhood to the executive suites of modern American journalism --- first as editor for 20 years of the largest circulation magazine in America, Parade, and now as chairman and CEO of that publication.

But it's the secret lying beneath that surface that makes this book so important. This is not simply the story of yet another victory march. It is the story of a bewildered and deeply hurt child. "I found myself becoming increasingly angry," he writes of his childhood. "Undoubtedly, much of my rage grew out of the abuse and fear I lived with every day at home. But I had a deeper frustration: I didn't seem to belong anywhere...I was different. And the aching feelings of loneliness and doubt, which I kept to myself, hurt more than my father's frequent beatings."

Haunted by that doubt, the 21-year-old Anderson asked his mother a question on the day of his father's funeral in 1966: "The man we just buried...Was he my father?" She confessed that his real father was a man named Albert Dorfman, who she fell in love with during World War II when her husband was in the service. He further learned that his real father was Jewish, and he had a stepbrother alive somewhere.

Anderson's mother, Ethel, is the real hero of this book. Fearing for her child's life if her husband ever learned the truth, she immediately ended the affair and eventually broke off all contact with the love of her life. The passage where she takes her infant son to meet his real father in Grand Central Station is poignant and heartbreaking. But Ethel also acted as a buffer between young Walter and her husband, putting her body between them and trying to deflect the older man's violence whenever possible. Fearful of the impact the truth would have on Walter's older brother and sister, she made him promise to keep her secret for as long as his siblings lived. He also promised not to seek out his real father.

Anderson kept his word and ended up having to wait 35 years before seeing a picture of his real dad, who, ironically enough, died the year before the man he thought was his father. Once his mother freed him from his promise, he began a search that led him to his older stepbrother Herbert, who, he learns, has lived an eerily "parallel life" to his own. His search also helped him discover his spirituality and Jewish heritage. It ended with the reunification of a long-lost family. The alienated, angry child, who belonged nowhere in the world, finally found his home and true inner peace.

What is remarkable about this book is that, despite its high drama and emotion, it is written without an ounce of self-pity or sentiment. Anderson pulls no punches in talking about his own darkness or the shortcomings of his mom. The language is simple and the story is told with a great editor's eye for language. The result is a calm and understated narrative that becomes almost lyrical at times. He tells us: "Much of my childhood was like a dull rain punctured by noisy and unforgettable explosions of lightning."

MEANT TO BE is a courageous book, full of warmth, humanity and hard-earned wisdom. This is not a victim's story. Indeed, it transcends the memoir format to teach us all a lesson in hope and the power of love.

Anderson's life could have taken an entirely different path. Certainly, that "lightning" could have destroyed him, physically and emotionally. But he describes reading himself out of poverty long before he worked his way out. He was probably the only kid to cut school so he could go the library. "Books," he writes, "had a magic about them: I could open a page and be anywhere. I could be anyone. I could imagine myself out of a slum." He also pays tribute to a wonderful neighborhood woman, Ilza Williams, who showed an interest in him, encouraged him and taught him that education was "a voyage that never ends."

As an editor and activist, Walter Anderson has worked hard to help kids in trouble and promote literacy and education. He has distinguished himself in life by striving for things larger than himself, and therein lies the enduring message of this book. At his mother's wake in 2001, he thought, "you freed me with the truth." That truth, along with a lot of compassion and love, can do the same thing for us all.

--- Reviewed by Tom Callahan

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!
Anderson writes a very special story about his painful childhood
and his amazing journey into adulthood and a most successful career and family life. I heard Mr. Anderson on NPR and on CSPAN and I couldn't wait to read the book. I read the book in 3 hours and literally couldn't put it down. I was personally inspired and highly recommend this book to others.

5-0 out of 5 stars self discovery
Sad at times,but unable to put it down. The book draws you in...knowing/feeling the courage this person has. He reveals the truth about his life and tells this inspirational story..and you must read it.

Also recommended: Nightmares Echo,Courage To Heal,Lucky

5-0 out of 5 stars The most moving book about overcoming odds...
One of the most powerful narratives I've ever read.

Not just because the author overcame great odds to go on and achieve great things, but because he honestly describes his lack of faith in God and then describes the day he comes to believe in the God of his real father.

I can't say enough good things about this book, so, I'm just buying copies for all my friends, and letting them see for themselves.
Marsha Marks, author of 101 SIMPLE LESSONS FOR LIFE.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Awe
I am completely in awe of this author and this book Meant To Be. So many lessons,teachings and above all courage through out this book
I want to also recommend Nightmares Echo. It also has courage and determination. ... Read more


176. Buffalo Nickel: A Memoir
by Floyd Salas
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 155885049X
Catlog: Book (1992-10-01)
Publisher: Arte Publico Press
Sales Rank: 151720
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Through intensely passionate prose, this unique autobiography charts Salas' dramatic coming of age in the conflicting shadows of two older brothers: one drug addict and a petty criminal, the other an intellectual prodigy. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Important, moving tale of brotherly love and drug addiction
Buffalo Nickel by Floyd Salas is a poignant and moving tale of a man and his older brother. The strife and hardship experienced by the characters within their complex relationships allow the reader to experience a true-to-life story about the effects of drug abuse and suicide. The metaphor presented early in the novel of the buffalo nickel can be applied to the relationship of the brothers Floyd and Al Salas. In the first chapter, Al presents his little brother Floyd with a buffalo nickel. Floyd had just been in his first fight. Al later asks for the nickel back; Floyd returns the nickel. It is this metaphor, the giving of something desired and the subsequent demand for its return, that runs throughout the relationship between Floyd and his big brother. The physical action of Al giving and retrieving the nickel in the first chapter can actually be found through the entire novel. The promises that Al didn't keep becomes the focus of thier hardship. It is a tale of the anguish involved in loving an addict, the trouble that that gets Floyd into, and the eventual reality of letting go. From the beginning of the book, Floyd loves and admires his brother. After the buffalo nickel incident Floyd remarks, "he'd do that a lot to me before it was over." (p. 15) Al teaches Floyd to box. Boxing would, throughout Floyd's life, be a mixed blessing. Due to his brother's aggression Floyd finds himself in many bar fights that he would otherwise have not been involved in. When Al acts as Floyd's coach he is supportive when Floyd is winning, and extremely abusive when he feels Floyd could have done better. It became a bond between the two boys when they were young and remained to be one their entire lives. Boxing would later be extremely important and lucrative to Floyd, as it would earn Floyd a scholarship to college at University of California. Al taught Floyd how to box. He helped him earn this athletic talent. Eventually Al would waste his talent, and desert it for drugs and alcohol. Many of Al's fights were illegal and unfair, and he often got Floyd involved. He gave Floyd something valuable, the drive and ability to box; but he often used his own and Floyd's abilities for the wrong reasons. Floyd completely trusted his brother when it came to boxing, from the very beginning. When Al puts Floyd in the ring with a gypsy-kid a lot taller than him Floyd is fearless. "My brother had put me in there, though I was scared, I wasn't afraid." (P.22) Due to his drug addiction Al had an extreme tendency to steal and be involved in illegal and unfair business. This ultimately would harm the whole family; and early on it harmed Floyd. The second chapter foreshadows Al's future. Al plays with Floyd by pretending to steal his saved money. When Floyd is caught stealing from a store with another child, Al ironically reprimands him, "...don't let anybody lead you into anything like that again." He says to Floyd, "You don't want to end up in reform school like me." (P. 29) Al had saved Floyd this time. Later, Al promises to help Floyd buy a bicycle, because he doesn't want him "...hanging around the streets..."(P. 32) to sell magazines. It seemed as if Al was going to really let his little brother down (again) when he offered a pair of Levi's instead. Then their father stepped in. If he hadn't it would have been the buffalo nickel all over again - promises unkempt. Floyd often feels optimistic about his brother and their relationship during his childhood. As the two of them rode home on the brand-new bike he remarked, "He'd come through again. My brother." (p. 36) Al often warned Floyd against the evils of drugs and crime. During the time that the two were training together Al would say, "Never lie, never cheat, never drink or smoke... and don't take many from people... always be loyal to your buddies..." (p. 64) The extreme irony in these statements become evident as the story progresses and Al proceeds to do all of these things. Worse than that, he encourages Floyd to participate in them. Despite his apparent efforts to steer Floyd away from this kind of life Al's influence gets Floyd into trouble time, and time again. Floyd and Al would end up swindling people for their money as a collaborative effort. This is something that Floyd had watched his big brother do for years. When Al quit training and began drinking and using drugs heavily, this was how he used his time and made his money; he would then blow his money on booze or smack. Floyd is eventually able to use his intellect and his talent to help him overcome the heart breaking disillusionment that Al's unreliability as a brother caused. Through establishing his own separate life and through his poetry and writing Floyd is able to free himself from the invalid personality of his brother Al Salas. When Floyd notices he is being followed by the police he realizes that Al ratted him out. "...The one thing I knew: I could never trust my brother Al again." (P. 276). Ultimately, Floyd is able to release his pain caused by his brother, his addiction, and his unreliability through his writing. A boxing match helps Floyd get out his aggressions as well. During the match Floyd hits Al for some of the many wrongs Al has done him: "...that's for forty years of bullshit!" (P. 341) Floyd is even able to tell Al, "You've cheated everybody you've know and manipulated every situation to your own benefit! To this very day!" (P. 344)

4-0 out of 5 stars Salas Delivers Hard Hitting Bio
Floyd Salas, author of the classic Tattoo The Wicked Cross (a novel that was originally written as a short story about a rape in a juvenile detention center)delivers with a memoir about the love and respect he had for his family, his life, and particularly his older brother, a man who would have a tremendous affect on him. Honest, tough, funny, and sometimes so sad it's hard to read, Buffalo Nickel is written in the same stark realist fashion as Fred Exley's A Fan's Notes and throws the same righty-cross Charles Bukowski hit us with in Ham On Rye ... Read more


177. Through the Jungle of Death: A Boy's Escape From Wartime Burma
by Stephen Brookes
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471415693
Catlog: Book (2001-04-13)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 490192
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A GRIPPING SURVIVOR STORY OF ONE FAMILY’S FLIGHT FROM BURMA DURING THE JAPANESE INVASION

"As uplifting a testimonial to human courage as any to emerge from World War II."—Daily Mail (London)

"A tale of hair-raising adventure, survival, love and loss, shot through with rage, polemic, unlikely humour and a rare spiritual sensibility."—Telegraph Magazine (London)

"Unique and heartfelt . . . a tale of human resilience and bravery in the most desperate circumstances."—The Irish News

"Written with simplicity, understanding, and surprising good humour. It deserves to be read."—The Times Educational Supplement (London) ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A family's escape from the Japanese.
This was an enjoyable and quick read. Brookes as a boy escaped with his family from wartime Burma. During the trek north to China, back to Burma, and then ultimately India, Brookes lost his father and saw his family become sick because of malnutrition and malaria. However the boy became a man, and came to understand the struggle of life after seeing death every day. This is a true story of endurance, and why people should never give up.
There is both a sad and happy end to this true story. Brookes becomes a man and raises a large family. His childhood family is destroyed by the war. After the war, his mother goes back to Burma with one of his brothers. He goes to live in Great Britain. The war basically destroyed the family he loved.
This is a great read for those that need to understand the tragedy of war.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great tale of survival and the human spirit
Stephen Brookes has written an engrossing account of his Anglo-Burmese family's flight before the Japanese army in 1942. Plagued by monsoons, starvation, disease and personal tragedy, harassed by the desperate remnants of the Chinese army, and abandoned by the British authorities, it is amazing that anyone survived the long circuitous trek from Burma to India. Scores of thousands did not. Brookes does an excellent job of recounting the horrific journey from the viewpoint of a young boy, but it most definitely is not a children's book. It is a book for anyone who appreciates a fascinating tale of survival in the face of incredible adversity.

5-0 out of 5 stars From Paradise to Purgatory
Expecting a rather grim trek through familiar territory I found instead a remarkable story of loss and endurance told with a surprisingly lyrical and at times humorous touch. A twelve year old Anglo-Burmese boy tells of the flight of the Brookes family from the advancing Japanese army in Burma during the second world war. Fleeing first to China then back through Burma and on to India young Stevie tells of his frustration and anger at being dragged along not knowing what was happening or why.

There were several attempts at escape,each thwarted by events or the stubborness of one or other parent,eventually leading into the mountains of Upper Burma. Walking knee deep in mud, fighting off ambushes by renegade Chinese soldiers, or just surviving the malarial conditions of the monsoon jungle, the family trekked and starved along with thousands of others on the same journey, Worse was to come as they eventually reached the so-called safety of a British controlled village. There Dr Brookes came up against colonial racism when he was refused help by an acquaintance he had entertained in happier days - a Burmese wife was acceptable when offering hospitality but not apparently when the roles were reversed. Meanwhile the child had a man's responsibility thrust upon him as he struggled to provide food and medication for his ailing family as his father died. A harrowing tale of tragic mismanagement but also telling of the blitheness and strength of a young boy who had to learn the hard lessons survival yet managed to retain a joy and wonderment at the miracles of nature A brilliant read; even if you only buy one book this year make sure it is this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Paradise to Purgatory
Expecting a rather grim trek through familiar territory I found instead a remarkable story of loss and endurance told with a surprisingly lyrical and at times humorous touch. A twelve year old Anglo-Burmese boy tells of the flight of the Brookes family from the advancing Japanese army in Burma during the second world war. Fleeing first to China then back through Burma and on to India young Stevie tells of his frustration and anger at being dragged along not knowing what was happening or why.

There were several attempts at escape,each thwarted by events or the stubborness of one or other parent,eventually leading into the mountains of Upper Burma. Walking knee deep in mud, fighting off ambushes by renegade Chinese soldiers, or just surviving the malarial conditions of the monsoon jungle, the family trekked and starved along with thousands of others on the same journey, Worse was to come as they eventually reached the so-called safety of a British controlled village. There Dr Brookes came up against colonial racism when he was refused help by an acquaintance he had entertained in happier days - a Burmese wife was acceptable when offering hospitality but not apparently when the roles were reversed. Meanwhile the child had a man's responsibility thrust upon him as he struggled to provide food and medication for his ailing family as his father died. A harrowing tale of tragic mismanagement but also telling of the blitheness and strength of a young boy who had to learn the hard lessons survival yet managed to retain a joy and wonderment at the miracles of nature A brilliant read; even if you only buy one book this year make sure it is this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars A magnificent glimpse of the extremes of humanity
This book makes clear from the outset that suffering, pain and grief are sure to come. What comes as a pleasant surprise is the ability of the author to convey the process by which the human spirit adjusts to that pain and above all how compassion and love can be found and shine out even when humankind reveals its darkest depths. The mismanagement of the wartime retreat from Burma is one of the greater injustices the British were able to consign to anonymity but Mr Brookes goes a great way to lighting a memorial flame for both his family and the thousands of others who set out on the road to India and safety. His extraordinay journey is punctuated by moments of pure magic - further proof that when approached with an open mind life has many many mysteries still to reveal to us.

Alongside the misery (and the magic), there is a sense of a vanished way of life, not just that of Empire but also of the lost opportunity for a different reality for so many nations that demanded the integrity of independence at the cost of an increasingly fragmented social order.

A heartrending story but an inspiration to us all about just how magnificent and strong the human spirit can be - feed your soul and read this book. ... Read more


178. The Price We Paid : A Life Experience in the Khmer Rouge Regime, Cambodia
by Vatey Seng
list price: $20.95
our price: $20.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 059534383X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-30)
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
Sales Rank: 780358
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Book Description

April 17, 1975—the Communist Khmer Rouge Regime seized power and forced Cambodians of all ages into slavery, turning their lives upside down. This resulted in the death of more than 1.5 million Cambodians out of roughly 8 million population due to forced labor, starvation, and execution.

Author Vatey Seng was only thirteen years old when the Khmer Rouge took control. The Price We Paid is her vivid and haunting memoir of the atrocities of the regime. Vatey recounts everything from the initial occupation through the indoctrination and application of the Khmer Rouge’s ways of life. Every aspect of her family’s life was impacted as the new government achieved its goals through child labor, slavery, and genocide. Vatey’s memories provide a glimpse into what the people of Cambodia endured during this dark regime—a regime that totally devastated her beloved country. The Price We Paid also follows the aftermath of the regime. Vatey and her family fled the country and stayed in refugee camps in Thailand, the processing center in the Philippines, and then immigrated to America in 1982.

Twenty-five years later, she has gathered the courage and strength to finally tell her story—a story shared by countless Cambodian survivors who still bear the psychological scars of their traumatic experiences. This is the price they paid for the Khmer Rouge revolution.

... Read more

179. First Words: A Childhood in Fascist Italy
by Rosetta Loy
list price: $13.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805067388
Catlog: Book (2001-08)
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Sales Rank: 569893
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1937, Rosetta Loy was a privileged five-year-old growing up among the well-to-do Catholic intelligentsia of Rome. But her childhood world of indulgent nannies and summers in the mountains was also the world of Mussolini's fascist regime and the increasing oppression of Italian Jews. Loy interweaves the two Italys of her early years, revealing the willful ignorance of her own family as one by one their Jewish neighbors disappeared. She indicts journalists and intellectuals for their blindness and passivity, and presents a searing and dispassionate record of the role of the Vatican and Catholic leadership in the devastation of Italian Jewry.

Written in crystalline prose, First Words offers an uncommon perspective on the Holocaust -- that of one writer as she struggles to reconcile her memories of a happy childhood with her adult knowledge of one of the world's most horrifying tragedies. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very important book
Rosetta Loy opens this book with her first memories of childhood as a young girl in Rome in the early 30s. She then paints the picture from that time to 1943.

This book actually tells two stories - first the account of Rosetta's life during that period of time and second the historical facts of the time.
The entire book impressed me, but two things about this book absolutely AMAZED me.

1. Roessetta Loy's voice. On the first page she is a young girl tended by a nanny, the reader is treated with the perspective of life at this point in time from the unusual view of a curious and intelligent child. As the book progresses and Rossetta ages the story changes in vocabulary and scope.
2. Ms. Loy presents the key points of political and legal changes in her church, city and country with simply clarity. This is the first book that I have read on the subject that didn't attempt go overboard on explanations, excuses or "what ifs". Ms. Loy states the facts of legal changes and racial politics of Italy at the time without attempting to question 'how', 'why', 'to what end' and 'what if'. Instead the reader will hear these questions echo in their own mind.

This is a powerful book. It is written in simple style and easy to read. It could be read in a day or two, but if you are like me when you get to the end you will want to read it again.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Splendid, thought-provoking book!
I could not disagree more with the previous "book critic". This book is not a lambasting of individual Catholics or of the many individual priests that helped to save many Jews. One need only look at Ms. Loy's characterization of Pope Pius XI and his very anti-semetic stance to see that this book in no way sees all Catholics as heartless beasts. What it does show is that with the on-slot of Pope Pius XII's reign, the organized Catholic body-politic did nothing privately or publicly to condemn the atrocities committed against Jews at home or abroad in Nazi Germany. There were over 1200 Jews in Rome alone that could have been "hidden" in the Vatican...but no, the response to that was that Pope Pius XII could have been arrested. Getting arrested seems very tame to Jesus being crucified, does it not? All I can say is that, along with the reading of this very touching book by Ms. Loy, I would also recommend everyone out there supplimenting the reading of this book with Mr. Cornwell's "Hitler's Pope".

1-0 out of 5 stars Another false perpetuation
The media seems to be eating up every book that blasts the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII...here's another attempt to cover up the heroics of the Church during the Nazi era.... ... Read more


180. Boyhood Along the Brook Called Horn
by William F. Jeter
list price: $12.95
our price: $11.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1887542035
Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
Publisher: Hara Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 799333
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In BOYHOOD ALONG THE BROOK CALLED HORN, William Jeter invites readers to step away from the hectic pace of life and go back with him to a time when no one owned a watch until high school graduation. Jeter’s wit and imagination shine through ten vignettes that capture a variety of mischievous childhood capers. Numerous detailed sketches, which accompany every vignette, enable readers to visualize all of the fascinating locations and intriguing inventions of Bill’s childhood in the quiet California mountain town of Hornbrook in the ’40s. Men and women alike will get lost in their own remembering of childhood adventures as they laugh and cry with Bill, and children will not only be inspired to creative play, but will long to hear their parents’ and grandparents’ stories of the past. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Boyhood Along the Brook Called Horn
I have very close ties and fond memories of rural California during the 1940's.Mr. Jeter was able to capture those memories and put them on paper - a rare gift.As well as enjoying the stories, I found his artwork delightful.I have recommended it to all my friends as: one of those books that makes you very sad when you are finished and realize that you have to leave this young man's adventures behind.

4-0 out of 5 stars Evocative
I read a chapter of this book every night before I go to sleep.It relaxes me and makes me smile.Author Bill Jeter's account of a happy boyhood takes me back to the summers that I spent in his neighborhood -- the California Sierra Mountains -- with my parents and relatives.Jeter writes from the viewpoint of a boy, in rich, descriptive language, and illustrates his adventures with delightful, pen-and-ink drawings.He has captured the high whistle of the winds, the pungent pine smell of forest air, the music of running brooks, and the unspoiled sweep of high meadow.His accounts of hiking, camping out, cleaning a rifle, hanging out at the general store, rafting on the nearby creek, and making his own rafts, backpacks, boomerangs, and kites, restore my faith in children's creativity and craftsmanship.I plan to read this book again and again.It makes me want all children to experience the beauty of growing up in nature, with parents who encourage them to do things for themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
Bill Jeter and I are old college friends and we shared may adventures as young adults.
The sincerity and truthfullness with which Bill recalls his boyhood was indeed refreshing and took me back to my youth many times. In talking with Bill he never refers to himself as a great writer, only a "creative rememberer." I believe that he only has the thought half right, he is a great writer

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved It!
What a great glimpse into simpler times, before a TV in every house, before Game Boy, Nintendo and computers!A time when a kid used his imagination for entertainment.My 8 year old son had a great time reading this with me. We strongly recommend it for summertime reading!

5-0 out of 5 stars Modern Huckleberry Finn
Amazingly enjoyable book!I laughed and I cried as I followed Billy Jeter around in these true reminiscences of a young boyslife in small town America.This author captures the essence of being a boy:making discoveries,a boy's imagination,creating adventure, innocent and hilarious mischief.

This was like reading about my own childhood.I could smell the smells, laugh at the laugh's, feel the "scardiness" of getting into trouble.The railroad adventure is a dream I always had, but never had the guts to do as a kid.I lived it finally, vicariously through Jeter's real life description.

His drawings give life to each story, and amazingly some of them look just like the stuff I was trying to create or play with as a kid. Except he did it a lot better.

Read this book if you want to re-live your life as a kid, or perhaps want to see what it should have been like. It has everything: nostalgia,memories, and a glimpse of a simpler and less ccyical time in life. ... Read more


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