A LONG WAY FROM HOME: Growing Up in the American Heartland

Tom Brokaw, Author
Tom Brokaw, Author . Random $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-50763-2
Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
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"For as long as I or anyone in my family can remember, I have been a chatterbox, someone with a verbal facility and an eager attitude about exercising it," writes news anchor Brokaw in this follow-up to An Album of Memories: Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation. The author's tendency to fill space with words comes across loud and clear in these pages, as the book is essentially a soup to nuts oral history of an all-American kid's years growing up in the Midwest. Brokaw was born in 1940 in Webster, S.Dak., and lived in the area for the first 22 years of his life. The son of upstanding farmers who lived by the motto of "waste not, want not," Brokaw had a squeaky-clean childhood and adolescence, ruled by work, sports and family. His memoir reflects that straight-arrowed monotony, with chapters entitled "Games," "Boom Time" and "On the Air." And although the prose and subject matter are largely dry and mundane, Brokaw does occasionally reflect on the bigger picture, recalling, for example, that while he was going to high school basketball games, Rosa Parks's bus boycott was making history hundreds of miles away. His sweet recollections of his early journalism career—he got his start volunteering at a small radio station—will probably interest nostalgic readers more than young journalists. Peppered with photographs of "Mother and Dad helping out at Yankton's Teen Canteen, 1958" and other similar images, this tribute to an idyllic childhood should please Brokaw's loyal fans. Photos. (Nov. 5)

Forecast:Ubiquitous media will get Brokaw's book going, and holiday sales should be strong.

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