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The Pale-Faced Lie

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  9,991 ratings  ·  1,011 reviews
Growing up on the Navajo Indian Reservation, David Crow and his siblings idolized their dad. Tall, strong, smart, and brave, the self-taught Cherokee regaled his family with stories of his World War II feats. But as time passed, David discovered the other side of Thurston Crow, the ex-con with his own code of ethics that justified cruelty, violence, lies, and even murder. ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Sandra Jonas Publishing
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  9,991 ratings  ·  1,011 reviews

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Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is just as amazing as the author who wrote it. David is a life long friend - since we sat together in 7th period Science at Kensington Junior High over 50 years ago. David was always a good story teller. Kids would gather around his desk to hear stories of living on an Indian reservation in Arizona. Even our teacher would delay class so he could finish his latest story. When we ran track together at Walter Johnson High School he would have all the long distance runners roaring with lau ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook.... ( memoir), narrated by Kaipo Schwab

I felt every peak and valley of David Crow’s emotional memoir.
It’s filled with hurt!
It’s painfully honest!
It’s devastatingly sad!

After all is said and done — after neglect, abuse, murder, wrongdoings—
chaos, dysfunction—
After the shocking and unbelievable, unimaginable, horrific life traumas—
What remains, long after reading — is the power of forgiveness. NOT JUST THE PRETEND TECHICAL ASPECTS of FORGIVENESS.....
but the grueling proces
Theresa Alan
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a heartbreaking, utterly riveting memoir. The writing is absolutely fantastic. Crow describes growing up under circumstances I cannot image surviving. With an abusive father and mentally disturbed mother, his older sister became the de facto mother at the age of seven to him, who was then three, and little baby Sam.

For a long time, his father wouldn’t let him get glasses that his teachers said he needed. Even when David could finally see, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which his father
Paul Wohkittel
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I know Dave personally and have worked with him professionally. Over the years we've attended social events, sporting events, business meetings, and have golfed together. In the course of our conversations I've picked up numerous snippets of his family relationships, hints of abuse, many stories of his childhood antics, and experiences of growing up on a reservation. I've witnessed, first hand, his present social values and work ethics. Yet, when I read the book I was absolutely dumbfounded. The ...more
I want to start by saying how happy I am that David Crow decided to share his story and write The Pale-Faced Lie. As someone who also had a difficult childhood (although the craziness ended for me when I was 12 and I wasn't a little hellion) I can understand how hard it would be to put your story out in the world for people to judge. His experiences were so hard to read about, but I'm glad I had a chance to read this book and I applaud him for writing it.

The Pale-Faced Lie really opened my eyes
Martin H.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can't fully comment about my reactions and emotions to David's autobiography. I have known him for 40 plus years as a Sigma Chi brother and close friend. I cannot write all I want to about my reactions to this true account of his life because I would give away too much background that would be a spoiler to a loving or tragic or bittersweet ending. As close to David as I am, I was shocked at events in the book. WOW! I grew up in such a loving family that was middle class and substantially finan ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok

Have to be honest -- As much as I wanted to like it, I wasn't crazy about this one. The abuse depicted was horrible, but much of the book is difficult to believe. If true, I question the author's judgment (at the least) in participating in his father's schemes well after the point where he became an adult. It's also never explained why his father held so tightly onto his own mythology -- we're never given the opportunity to understand his lies and what prompted them. Even if the author was unabl
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing true story about a boys journey to survive and ultimately succeed dispite a horrific childhood. Raised by a monster of a father, the author overcame incredible hardships growing up on the Navajo Indian reservation in Arizona. This book is a page turner, full of action and adventure. It pulls no punches, literally and figuratively. As the story's timeline unfolds it spans the country from his fathers incarceration as a violent criminal in San Quentin , to the poverty stricken Navajo re ...more
Evelyn Zorc
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My daughter suggested reading this book. She is a published author and explained it may be a tough read because of the severe neglect and brutality that David, Lonnie, Sam and Sally endured.
However this is an inspirational story of how mindset and hope bring resilience. I began reading and couldn’t stop until the end.
It was engaging and had me cheering for David and his siblings all throughout the chapters.
Thank you for having the courage to tell your harsh childhood story so others can learn
David Sandum
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn into this book from page one. The memoir is well written, but it is his honesty that throws the biggest punch. You truly walk and feel with Mr Crow for the duration, a testimony that you are experiencing a great memoir. I felt fear, love, pain and the loyalty of a child. Issues of abuse and crude treatment felt hard at times. Yet the author manages to balance difficult topics with short and descriptive dialogues, even humor. Having said that, it is a miracle to me that the author has ...more
Heather  Lou Reads
This was a powerful memoir of David Crow's life. Though hard to read at time due to the extreme abuse that was being recalled, this story is important. Some of it is hard to believe, but being someone who has seen manipulation take its course on someone's life, I know the truth can sometimes seem unbelievable.

It is hard to believe and admit that there are terrible people in the world like Crow's parents who thrive and feed off of other people's weaknesses. But in retrospect, it is imperative to
Jim Tarmann
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
David Crow has been a work colleague of mine for more than 15 years. During our tenure together I have watched in awe how people are drawn to him at the various events we mutually attend. Few people I have encountered in life can bring such interest and meaning to the simplest conversation. His real life story is no different. It's truly hard to believe someone could endure so much and continue to move forward and become so successful in life. I was truly sadden when I finished because I didn't ...more
Delilah Brinkerhoff
I absolutely love this book.

As a child of abusive parents I really loved this book. I turned 21 and after leaving my home at age 17, I finally could meet with them without being angry. Going to college, having good friends, and being independent of my parents I finally forgave them and decided to get on with my life the way I wanted. I am not a product of their abuse but because of it I learned to work hard and save money, and not waste time feeling sorry for myself. It’s a great book, and all
Kathy Brackin
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Based on true events of a family
Tom Deoudes
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story of child abuse and mental torture perpetrated by a delusional father and husband who is both borderline genius and pure evil, reads like a Steven King movie. While emotionally drawn to the family's plight and wanting their torture to come to an end, you are still compelled to find out what happens next. A definite page turner. A cathartic tale that reveals how a son tries to cope with a demon for a father, his love of his family and how human spirit perseveres. Written so you can actu ...more
Bill Deoudes
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very riveting and fast moving...... couldn't wait to see what would happen next....... could have never imagined, having known the author for 45 years, he could turn out as normal and well rounded as he is today.......who could've known....
I'm an English teacher...retired. I spent years with adolescents, reading self-selected books. IF I were still in the classroom, I would keep at least five copies of this book to loan to students. I bought a paperback for a former student who's now an English teacher.

This is one of the best-written memoirs I've read in years. David Crow lives with two damaged parents...his father is a violent braggart, unpredictable and mean. His mother is a damaged woman who tries to use her children (especial
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-read, language
I like to think of David Crow reading Tara Westover's Educated and saying, "Hold my beer." Oof. Talk about a TOUGH read. I think that this book broke me a little bit. I left a piece of my heart between the pages for that little boy who went through more than any little kid ever should.
Goth Gone Grey
Therapy journal, a difficult read

This one doesn't start off slow and ease into the story, not at all. Here's the opening paragraph:

"I WAS THREE AND A HALF the first time my dad told me we had to get rid of my mother. On that bitter cold morning in February, he jumped up from the table after eating his usual eggs, grits, and bacon and threw on his coat. Lonnie, Sam, and I had finished our cornflakes long before he sat down."

Well then. This will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Except... I
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
3.5 stars

Whew, there is so much to unpack here! David Crow and his siblings were raised on a Navajo Indian Reservation by a mentally ill mother and a criminal father who served time in San Quentin for attempted murder. His childhood was full of physical and mental abuse as he and his siblings were at the mercy of their parents emotional rollercoaster. After years of threatening/plotting, their father abandoned their mother and took the children with him.
Crow’s teen years were spent moving back a
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sad, sad story full of abuse. You truly find yourself rooting for the children in the story. Despite their circumstances, all appear to have turned out to lead normal adult lives, albeit with some scarring. To grow up in a household with a manipulative, con man of a father and mentally disturbed mother and still have any normalcy is astonishing. I found the first 75% of the book to be rather slow, not much excitement or conflict, mostly just background. The last 25% when David is in his early ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book and was left wanting more. I would have loved to read about the people who intervened in Mr. Crow's life and how they saw through his destructive streak. I am thrilled that he was able to overcome this horrendous childhood, forgive and then give so much back to the community. I am humbled that I have accomplished so much less while having been given so much more. I have never felt moved enough to want to write an author, but this book has me tempted to reach out and express ...more
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Crow creates such vivid images. I was mesmerized by the tale but horrified that that had been his reality. His "angels" helped him develop his sense of self and give him the courage to push aside the demands of his tyrannical father. I greatly admire his ability to "age" his narration from childhood through adulthood. Not an easy task to bring the reader with him from domination to self determination.
Bill Markley
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After reading this book, I’ll never think of troubled kids the same way. Now knowing there may be forces in their lives that cause them to do the things they do and that they have no control over those actions has been a real eye-opener for me. This well-written book kept me so engaged that I could not put it down—but there were times when I just had to and walk away from it because of the disturbing things that happened to the Crow children. I highly recommend this book for all to read.
Jaime F.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hard to read book in terms of its storyline. An unimaginable childhood and downright terrifying upbringing for David Crow and his siblings by their father. A real monster in my eyes, if you ask me, but David persevered for his own sake and his sisters and brother.
When life takes its last toll on us, you forgive a father in his deathbed, even this one.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking true story

No child should have to endure the life that David managed to survive. Courageously, he broke the cycle of abuse, rather than follow in his parent's footsteps, he became an advocate for others in need.
Lisa Salinas
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could barely put this one down. So many mixed emotions! How does a kid survive such a crazy childhood? But and his three siblings survived and now live well-adjusted lives. It's amazing how strong and resilient the human spirit can be.
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it

David Crow survived a chaotic childhood led by parents who definitely did not have their children's best interests at heart.  His father was an ex-con who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  On the side he stole items from the Bureau to sell.  He was also involved in many other illegal activities including murder.  His mother was mentally ill and tormented by his father.  His father went to extremes of gaslighting her and getting the children to terrorize her.  They went along with it bec
Grace Terpstra
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This memoir was the highlight of my pandemic reading. I happen to know the author as a (spoiler alert!) grown up successful, talented and thoughtful businessman. Otherwise I would have awaited every page for a tragic end to this riveting tale of family violence, crime and mental illness. Instead I found inspiration - so many selfless people stepping in to give help and offer hope, and love between a child and even the most dreadfully flawed parents. Read this book to remind yourself of the resil ...more
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sorrow lived here

I want to say thank you for sharing this story with me. My childhood was similar to yours and I have spent 64 years haunted by the spectre of it. In watching you find your way through this, I realized that I too had to fight my way through the lack of socialization, lack of meaningful like-minded and lack of personal training that many take for granted. I am now proud to say that I survived and in my own way, thrived. I've left behind my own failed family, lost wages, missed opp
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David Crow is the author of the award-winning memoir The Pale-Faced Lie.

David spent his early years on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. Through grit, resilience, and a thirst for learning, he escaped his abusive childhood, graduated from college, and built a successful lobbying firm in Washington, DC. Today, he is a mentor, speaker, and advocate for women and children.

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