Fb2 Growing Up ePub

by Russell Baker

Category: Professionals and Academics
Subcategory: Memoris and Biographies
Author: Russell Baker
ISBN: 0736609105
ISBN13: 978-0736609104
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc. (November 1, 1983)
Fb2 eBook: 1313 kb
ePub eBook: 1988 kb
Digital formats: docx lrf lit mbr

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Russell Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography about growing up in America during the Great Depression. Praise for Growing Up and Russell Baker. A wondrous book, funny, sad, and stron. s funny and touching as Mark Twain’s. Lovely haunting pros. .moves beyond the boundaries of his newspaper column to establish a place for this book among the most enduring recollections of American boyhoods-those of Thurber and Mencken, Aldrich and Twain. The Washington Post Book World.

The stock market had collapsed fifteen months earlier, but though business was bad, Washington people who understood these things did not seem alarmed. President Hoover refused to use the scare word. recession when speaking about the slump. It was merely a depression, he said. Nothing to panic about. Good times were just around the corner. My mother intended to live with her brother Allen a few months until she could find work and rent a place of her own. Allen was twenty-eight, five years younger than she, and blessed with the optimism of youth.

Russell Baker won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for this phy about growing up in the backwoods .

Russell Baker won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for this phy about growing up in the backwoods of Virginia, in a New Jersey Commuter town, and in the Depression-shadowed urban landscape of Baltimore, all happening between the world wars. Baker introduces us to the people that impacted his early life, and he also discusses powerful love, awkward sex, and courage in the face of adversity.

Growing Up. Russell Baker. Congdon & Weed, 1982. The book quickly became a beloved best seller when it was published, and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for biography. Baker was born into poverty in Virginia in 1925. He was 5 years old when his father, then 33, fell into a diabetic coma and died. The author’s strong, affectionate mother is a major presence in the book.

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Russell Baker is the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner for Distinguished Commentary and a columnist for The New York Times. This book 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.

Comments to eBook Growing Up
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In 1983 I was a freshman in college selling New York Times subscriptions at night by phone. Russell Baker was a columnist for the Times. I read that newspaper every day back then (no longer do) because I respected it (no longer do), because even in its criticism of the president (Reagan, at the time) and other politicians, its news stories remained objective, and its opinion piece were civil.

Baker was one of those writers I respected.

One evening, probably in early 1983, just a few months after Growing Up was released, a prospective customer on the phone told me: "I just read a GREAT book called Growing Up, by Russell Baker Have you read that book? I"ll take a subscription if you promise to read Growing Up. Russell Baker, Growing Up." Eager to make a sale, I replied: "Ok, I promise!"

I fully intended on keeping that promise, but autobiographies never really interested me (they still don't), unless the entire story is about what makes the author famous in the first place. In Baker's case, I wanted a book on what it's like to work for the Times - not what his childhood was like. Obviously, I concluded, a title like Growing Up suggests the latter, and so I put it off. The weeks turned into months, and soon enough, I forgot about the promise.

Years later, I saw the book in a bookstore and thought to myself: "I'm going to buy this and read this one day, but not today."

Last month, however, while looking for the newly released book Growing Up Italian-American, by Fedinand J. Visco, MD, the father of a friend of mine, just to see the reviews, the sales, etc. the first "Growing Up" that came up in the search was Baker's book. Well, that did it - 34 years was long enough! And so, I bought the book and I just finished it - less than 20 minutes ago!

It could very well be as good as any autobiography I ever read. That's why I gave it five starts. I still don't like autobiographies, but that's no reason to give it a bad rating. For what it is - it is great. So, if you want to read about a boy's coming of age in rural America from the days of the Depression to the end of World War 2, you won't find a better book.

I hope that some way, somehow, and in some dimension, the man on the phone who asked me 34 years ago to read Growing Up knows that I have - finally - made good on that promise.
There is nothing earthshaking happening in Russell Baker’s memoir, Growing Up. No rampant alcoholism, disfiguring calamity, or a soul-searing incident of abandonment to hook and maintain a reader’s interest. What is offered instead in the pages of this touching book more than makes up for any lack of heart-pumping suspense. Baker paints a picture of his upbringing in a landscape as warm and colorful as the Norman Rockwell covers gracing the Saturday Evening Post editions Baker tries to peddle as an 8-year-old boy in a small-town called Belleville at the outskirts of Newark, New Jersey.

Baker begins the book as an adult narrator visiting his 80-year-old mother who is in the throes of senility. She fails to recognize her own son, and Baker reflects on time and the disparities of perception between parents and children and memories that define us: “We all come from the past, and children ought to know what it was that went into their making, to know that life is a braided cord of humanity stretching up from time long gone, and that it cannot be defined by the span of a single journey from diaper to shroud” (18).

We come to know Baker’s mother before the onset of dementia, a woman who, after her husband’s death, takes her two young children to live with an uncle during the Great Depression, a parent who views her son’s lack of “gumption” with utter disdain, and a mom who later despises the woman Baker falls in love with and tries to sabotage their relationship in any underhanded manner she can conceive.

Baker captures a child’s unique perspective with wide-eyed innocence in describing the sight of his deceased father at the funeral: “He was wearing his blue serge suit and white shirt and necktie … But it wasn’t the niceness of the way he was dressed and the way his hair was so carefully combed that impressed me. It was his stillness. I gazed at the motionless hand laid across his chest, thinking no one can lie so still for so long without moving a finger. I waited for the closed eyelids to flutter, for his chest to move in a slight sigh to capture a fresh breath of air. Nothing. His motionlessness was majestic and terrifying (83).

The heart of the book is Baker’s relationship with his mother—two people possessed of a single-mindedness bordering on stubborn. An example is rendered in the matter of corporal punishment. Baker’s mom is frustrated to see that her belt whipping is not having the desired effect of inducing tears from her son. Baker is adamant that he won’t give his mother the satisfaction of seeing him cry: “Sometimes, to goad her with proof of my contempt, I gritted my teeth and, when the belt had fallen four or five times, muttered, ‘That doesn’t hurt me.’ In these moments we were very close to raw hatred of each other. We were two wills of iron. She was determined to break me; I was just as determined that she would not” (125).

Baker takes us through incidents of his life with an unerring eye for the right detail and whimsical prose that is pitch perfect: the wretched taste of cod liver oil as a home remedy for childhood diseases ranging from mumps to whooping cough, the accepted code of conduct in a schoolyard fistfight, the excitement of hiding out and witnessing his first real-life boy/girl kiss between an 11-year-old friend and a girl from school at a park bench, Baker’s resolve to distance himself from a stepfather named Herb, and the way Baker finally succumbs to his feelings and proposes marriage to the woman his mother cannot stand.

All of these scenes are depicted with warmth, humor, an endearing charm that rings utterly true, and crisp, entertaining prose. Baker is equally adept at dialogue that captures the essence of relationships, descriptions that bring a reader into the fold of a period such as the Depression, and characterizations snapping with sharpness and vivid details. Here’s Baker’s take on a bully: “Short, red-haired, not much taller than a fireplug but just as solid, he prowled the streets, taciturn and alone, looking for blood” (159).

After taking the reader on a journey into his life, Baker ends on the same note in which he began. He visits his mother, a woman who is senile and doesn’t know her son, but through Russell Baker’s amazing prose, we have come to know and care about her, and that’s the ultimate gift a writer can bestow.
I first read this Pulitzer Prize winner when my son was growing up. I would read a page outloud, and then he would read a page. A line from the book is, "Make something of yourself." When I told my son, with a wink, "Make something of yourself," he would laugh; and he did make something of himself. The story of Mr. Baker's life is one I will never forget, and the time that my son and I spent reading together was a special time, made even more so by this book. Of all of the books we read together, this was our favorite book.

Now that my husband and I are retired, we are reading this book to each other. The other day I read to my husband the part of the book that talks about Mr. Baker's wife when he didn't know he was going to marry her. He thought that he would just be a playboy until he saw his future wife kissing another guy . . .

More than a wonderful story about a wonderful man who made something of himself. Well written and well deserving of the Pulitzer Prize. This is a book that will be enjoyed 100 years from now. Today, Mr. Baker is in his eighties. He has left for us this gift of telling us about his life.
Russell Baker tells the reader that he wrote a book about growing up and the publisher never responded to him. After reading it again he said he learned it was not good so wrote a new one, this. After reading this one one wonders how bad could the first one have been. I feel I know nothing about Russell Baker.
I can’t decide whether to give this book three stars or four. I enjoyed reading about Baker’s life in an era of my parents’ age. He writes in a quick witted manner which is enjoyable.
Everyone should own this book. It should be next to other staple books on the shelf.
read this many years ago and bought it to read again. one of the best books about childhood I've read.
well written, enjoyed the book
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