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Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son
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Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  114 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
From the author of the best-selling King Leopold's Ghost, this haunting and deeply honest memoir tells of Adam Hochschild's conflicted relationship with his father, the head of a multinational mining corporation. The author lyrically evokes his privileged childhood on an Adirondack estate, a colorful uncle who was a pioneer aviator and fighter ace, and his first exploratio ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published January 7th 2005 by Mariner Books (first published 1986)
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Mar 13, 2013 Caren rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Because I liked "To End All Wars", I was curious about the author, Adam Hochschild. This is an older book, published in 1986, and is a sort of memoir of his childhood, and in particular of his rocky relationship with his father. He had a privileged upbringing as the only son of older, wealthy parents. His family had made their fortune in worldwide mining interests. Much of the book takes place in a secluded estate in the Adirondacks. I think the author perhaps had the plight of many only childre ...more
Elliot Ratzman
Jul 21, 2013 Elliot Ratzman rated it liked it
Journalist Adam Hochschild can write hundreds of interesting pages about the varieties of colonialist terror in Africa but can’t seem to conjure up more than a dozen interesting episodes with his weird industrialist father; we only get fleeting glimpses of how the 1% live. Hochschild grew up in unspeakable wealth and privilege, his self-hating Jewish father inheriting the family mineral extraction-with-exploited-labor-in-Africa business. But for young Adam, Dad was distant, awkward and made his ...more
Jul 24, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Adam Hochschild is a wonderful historian--his book, "King Leopold's Ghost" is unforgettable. This is a memoir about his relationship with his father.

He is a wonderful writer from a very wealthy family. He honestly describes his own childish fears, which were many. He was never comfortable with his father, finding it impossible to eat with him for example. His mother doted on Adam and he welcomed those times when it was just the two of them.

Traveling around the world, he had a world of luxury. H
What a contrast to Trace's book that arrived and I read between reading Chapters 16 and 17 of this book!

Whereas there were lots of ambiguous sentences and printing errors in her book, but the emotions aroused kept me reading, in this autobiography the sentences and chapters were beautifully crafted and easy on the eye and ear, but there was for me little emotional involvement.

The differences between an explosive and difficult life full of feelings that Trace experienced (see One small sacrifice)
Sheila Myers
Feb 23, 2015 Sheila Myers rated it it was amazing
What a lovely story about a young boy and then man growing up during the tumultuous years of the 60s in a family of great wealth and privilege. The cadence was especially good. The whole book flowed well for me. I never was bored. The author's descriptions of the Eagle Nest - the family summer home in the Adirondacks is very interesting and entertaining - a throw-back to an era lost. The author's relationship with his father is sad, touching, and in the end heat-warming as the author makes peace ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok
Here's the thing: when I read a memoir, I'm looking for emotion, for the dirty details (obvious or implied), for a taste of what it's like to be that person and live that life for just a moment. Adam comes from a family background experienced by very few, especially back when he was growing up. Instead of showing us that lifestyle, I think the shame of the extreme wealth and privilege he struggles with in the book (and obviously up to his authoring of the memoir) prevents him from flinging back ...more
Sep 18, 2016 Frederic rated it really liked it
Beautiful...understated but powerfully emotional...Hochschild is a terrific historian ("To End All War" and "Spain In Our Hearts") and equally effective as a witness to the eternal Agon of Fathers and Sons...
May 11, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful style of writing! His relationship with his father was a little sad, and bittersweet at the end.
Diane Johnson
Jul 17, 2013 Diane Johnson rated it really liked it
The relationship between a father and a son is described elegantly by Adam Hochschild. Although the action and emotion is underplayed, a wellspring of emotions come to mind as their complex love reveals itself. The use of setting is so poignant and extraordinary, the reader cannot help but remember his or her childhood with a nostalgic reverence. Superbly written,this memoir is a moving testament to the peace and forgiveness that comes with time to many fathers and sons.
Jun 10, 2014 E.B. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thesis-related
Adam Hochschild writes flawlessly from both the then and now -- as a neurotic, confused child to a thoughtful, analytical adult. I aspire to write memoir with this skill. Everyone should have this much perspective on their own life. Amazing.
May 04, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, very moving. It unfolds so elegantly and thoughtfully, I wanted it to go on much longer, but Hochschild is a master of saying what he needs and wants to say without rambling.
Mar 25, 2008 Lacey rated it liked it
Shelves: recently-read
Not the most exciting book... But definitely a well-written autobiography that focuses mostly on the boyhood relationship between a son and his emotionally distant father.
Aug 22, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
Touching memoir that weaves the history of colonilaism and priveledge with the story of a father son realtionship.
Oct 07, 2012 Katharine rated it really liked it
Haunting memoir about a son's relationship with his father.
Al Olson
Apr 20, 2008 Al Olson rated it really liked it
My friend Adam Hochschild's revealing memoir. Moving.
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Sep 04, 2016
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Hochschild was born in New York City. As a college student, he spent a summer working on an anti-government newspaper in South Africa and subsequently worked briefly as a civil rights worker in Mississippi in 1964. Both were politically pivotal experiences about which he would later write in his book Finding the Trapdoor. He later was part of the movement against the Vietnam War, and, after severa ...more
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“Dans cet océan blanc, où la vie Se recueille; et bientôt l'horizon Se couvrira de fleurs ... Chère maison amie Qui nous protège tous de la froide saison!” 0 likes
“For every boy here," he says, "I like to imagine that we're helping him go in a particular direction, a direction he is best suited for. For you, I've thought it might be the State Department, or something in that realm." Suddenly, in a thunderclap of revelation, I know that whatever I do with my life, it will not be "in that realm." So: despite everything teachers and parents say about how I'm free to choose, they have a plan for me after all. I cannot yet see that plan clearly, but I suddenly become wary.” 0 likes
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