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Publisher's Summary

In this heartfelt memoir by the Masterpiece Theatre host, Pulitzer Prize winner, and groundbreaking New York Times columnist, Russell Baker traces his youth in the mountains of rural Virginia. When Baker was only five, his father died. His mother, strong-willed and matriarchal, never looked back. After all, she had three children to raise.

These were Depression years, and Mrs. Baker moved her fledgling family to Baltimore. Baker's mother was determined her children would succeed, and we know her regimen worked for Russell. He did everything from delivering papers to hustling subscriptions for the Saturday Evening Post. As is often the case, early hardships made the man.

©1982 Russell Baker (P)2017 Tantor

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Wonderful biography of a great newspaperman

A great story that portrays life for so many of my parents generation. A reminder of wonderful can be even with its trials and tribulations. Not surprising it won a Pulitzer prize!

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  • Redbird57
  • Alabaster, Alabama United States
  • 06-15-18

It's good, very good, but...

I love to hear the stories of "everyday people." There are usually so many nuggets of truth and wisdom to be gleaned.

However, I found this story, not to be an "uninteresting" story, but extremely ordinary, without much suspense or humor. I may have laughed once the entire book.

Primarily, I read the book because the author's memoir fell almost exactly into the time period in which my father was a child. I wanted to better understand the world of my father's youth and perhaps this book helped a little. But, I had already learned from my father that times were hard in the 1930's. This memoir did little to tell me anything that I did not already know.

It was a different, and tougher world. The "poverty-stricken" of today would have been considered most blessed during the Great Depression. But, I knew that, too.

I am grateful to Mr. Baker to leave us this account of that most harsh era of modern American history. It is insightful. However, I must honestly say that, unlike Angela's Ashes, I find nothing particularly compelling about the story... It simply is what it is...a story of an ordinary, depression era family. Although fiction, it would not even approach the same class as Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. It's hard to see how this engaging little memoir won a Pulitzer.