I read this as a teenager decades ago and decided to reread it again after my own teenage son developed an interest in Stephen King's work. I gave himI read this as a teenager decades ago and decided to reread it again after my own teenage son developed an interest in Stephen King's work. I gave him this book as a Christmas gift. It feels good to have some connection with him and I hope it keeps him reading as I know King's work sparked my own interest in books. It's as good, if not better, than I remember it from my teen years. I enjoy King's ability to narrate the story from multiple viewpoints and not just using first person accounts also using excerpts from accounts in the future which gives you the impression that the event's had a much bigger impact than what's told in the book itself. It makes you wish you knew more than what being told.
Another interesting aspect of the book was it's picture of adolescent bully. I don't think it was an intentional focus but King certainly brings to light an aspect of growing up that many of us experience but doesn't always get talked about. It's a subject that in recent years has grown more out in the open. I think part of the books appeal was bully victim revenge aspect. Many who experience bullying I'm sure fantasize about exacting revenge of their persecutors.
If you're going to start reading Stephen King I feel this is the place to start. ...more
After seeing this book mentioned all over the place in regards to this year's election I had to see what all the excitement was about. Although it doeAfter seeing this book mentioned all over the place in regards to this year's election I had to see what all the excitement was about. Although it doesn't necessarily answer why poor white working class are attracted to the Republicans and the Donald Trump phenomenon this may give some clues as to what their experiences are and why they are angry.
Even though Vance is from hillbilly country in Kentucky and Ohio but it could be almost anywhere in our country. Some parts of it even reminded me of my own up bringing in Massachusetts as a child of a working class mother who was divorced with three kids. We also were helped by grandparents and are very thankful for them.
The authors story is also one of overcoming hardships and battles he fought along the way. One theme that comes out of this book is how others who support us along the way can influence us and give us a step up. Vance got it from his grandparents, the Marines, his sister and others who helped him overcome his situation. It reminds me of the Hillary Clinton book "It takes a village" in part that our success is built with the support of others.
Vance does credit his success with the help of others but even he doesn't have a single catch all answer for the majority of others in a similar situation to overcome poverty, addiction, joblessness and just plain poor decisions. No one government program, education initiative or jobs program will solve all the problem's which some of the blame also lies within their own attitudes. Though though the author does say that doesn't mean we shouldn't help "put a thumb on scales" to help those in need. That one time may just mean the difference in someone's life. ...more
I was still in the middle of this when the election happened and debated at first whether to finish it or not. I did anyway. It's very policy and ideaI was still in the middle of this when the election happened and debated at first whether to finish it or not. I did anyway. It's very policy and idea heavy. Some of which it seemed far reaching but were still good ideas and goals. It now seems like a book of what could have been but will now be even harder to reach. It's still a good read to look for ideas and such. ...more
When I first started this I had hoped that Hillary would be President by the time I finished it. It certainly looked like it at the time. Well we allWhen I first started this I had hoped that Hillary would be President by the time I finished it. It certainly looked like it at the time. Well we all know by now it didn't happen for a multitude of reason's. I'm not sure I buy into the premise that Hillary was somehow seduced by Bill Clinton or politics. With her intelligence and drive I think she would have found herself in public service somewhere. It's a straightforward assessment of Hillary in the 90's which much hasn't changed with her....more
I actually had a fear that by listening to this book I'd change my mind about him or even think that he'd be the least bit competent as President. NoI actually had a fear that by listening to this book I'd change my mind about him or even think that he'd be the least bit competent as President. No worries. When I finished I still thought he should never be in the same zip code as the White House. It was helpful to know where he came from and his family history. One thing to me stood out about him that really bothered me was his motivation. Most Presidents, even the awful ones, I've learned about usually feel some kind of higher calling, need or want to serve the public in someway. Throughout Donald's life has been about serving himself satisfying some inner need to be the center of attention. His motivation was always about money, attention and success of his name brand. If it had any benefit to anyone else that was just by chance. Even imperfect presidents at least gave the illusion they serving the people. Trump was just in it to serve his bank account. Even after listening to this I still think his only motivation to be President is to increase value of his brand name. Secondly his business dealings and actual worth have always been overrated. They maybe impressive to those of the middle and lower classes but he certainly blew a lot of money with bankruptcies and bad decisions. His talk is bigger than the reality. God help us if he becomes President.
P.S. This is to the authors and the Washington Post. You did a lot of work and did a great job. Now since you gave all this energy to Donald should we expect a book about Hillary? ...more
When talking about books about the American experience in the Iraq War of course everyone thinks about "American Sniper" by Chris Kyle which was a hugWhen talking about books about the American experience in the Iraq War of course everyone thinks about "American Sniper" by Chris Kyle which was a huge success and was made into a hit film by the same name. What can get lost in the hype of a superstar sniper are the stories of the everyday soldier who served his country there. This is that kind of story. He was an ordinary high school kid inspired by 9/11 to join the Army. He did the stuff you rarely read about or see on the TV like build roads, drive convoys and fight inhospitable environment. I'm sure his story is reminiscent of many soldier who went over to do their job and serve their country the best they could. I enjoyed the book very much and recommend it to others. ...more
I was inspired to read this after a news commentator, Fareed Zakaria of CNN, referenced this book in regards to Donald Trump. I'd have to agree that tI was inspired to read this after a news commentator, Fareed Zakaria of CNN, referenced this book in regards to Donald Trump. I'd have to agree that this does apply the Republican nominee that has used his own brand of bullshit to get as far as he has. It's a very short book and dives deeper into the concept of bullshit and the difference between a lie, being a liar, truth, bluffing or bullshit. It is an excellent read for those wishing to know more about bullshit. ...more
I became aware of David Brock through a recent documentary called" The brainwashing of my Dad" in which he is one of those that are interviewed in theI became aware of David Brock through a recent documentary called" The brainwashing of my Dad" in which he is one of those that are interviewed in the film. I found his insight and commentary into politics of the right verses left very interesting and thought provoking. This book show how David rebelled against liberalism in college and grew into a right wing conservative writer. He wrote a provocative and controversial bestselling book on Anita Hill, "The real Anita Hill", and also wrote about "Troopergate" that was one of many Clinton scandals that were propagated by the right wing media in the 1990's. Later in the 90's he develops conscience and slips back to being liberal. Thrown into the mix was his personal struggle being a gay conservative which brought it's own issues both professional and with family and friends.
I could identify with the premise of moving and changing sides in the political spectrum. I too was a liberal minded person in my young adult years. but I wasn't necessarily hard core believer of any one party. With the advent of having a family in the years surrounding 9/11 I became more conservative for awhile. I never caught hold of the anger, bitterness and lunacy that seems to grown part of right wing politics. David seems to have gone through a similar pattern himself.
The book was an interesting look at the inner workings politics in Washington DC and the give and go of the right verses left. You do see some of what drives those who push the liberal hatred to the brink with personal and unscrupulous attacks. I look forward to reading more of David Brock. ...more