The Times of My Life: A Memoir

Brent K. Ashabranner, Author, Rosanne M. Lauer, Editor Dutton Books $14.95 (14p) ISBN 978-0-525-65047-8
This autobiography by a YA author ( Always to Remember ) sadly belies Ashabranner's emphasis on his writing career. ``I have lived through most of the special moments of the twentieth century,'' he claims, meaning the Depression (his father had to sell his pharmacy, but the family did not suffer much), WW II (he served in the Navy, but missed being ``tested in battle''), the founding of the Peace Corps (he started one of its first programs in Africa and was later the Corps' deputy director). Nevertheless, he doesn't give the reader any reason to pay special attention to his story--he lacks a novelist's sense of narrative. Inane details clutter promising material, such as his youthful intimations of the racism in his Oklahoma home town or his anecdotes about Peace Corps volunteers in India. His patriotism is gooey--either he is condescending to his readers here, or a career in government service has dulled his critical faculties. How else to explain his failure to discuss the well-known connections of the Peace Corps and the CIA, or his burying of his criticism of the Vietnam war in his exposition of the ``official'' point of view? Photos. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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