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Biography / Autobiography

Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising School

Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising School

$14.95
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When Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin signed up for Teach for America right after college and found themselves utter failures in the classroom, they vowed to remake themselves into superior educators. They did that--and more. In their early twenties, by sheer force of talent and determination never to take no for an answer, they created a wildly successful fifth-grade experience that would grow into the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), which today includes sixty-six schools in nineteen states and the District of Columbia.

KIPP schools incorporate what Feinberg and Levin learned from America's best, most charismatic teachers: lessons need to be lively; school days need to be longer (the KIPP day is nine and a half hours); the completion of homework has to be sacrosanct (KIPP teachers are available by telephone day and night). Chants, songs, and slogans such as "Work hard, be nice" energize the program. Illuminating the ups and downs of the KIPP founders and their students, Mathews gives us something quite rare: a hopeful book about education.

Work in Progress: Unconventional Thoughts on Designing an Extraordinary Life

Work in Progress: Unconventional Thoughts on Designing an Extraordinary Life

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How did a couple of quirky siblings from suburban Pittsburgh end up as the king and queen of eclectic-design chic with their own HGTV show? They never let fear get in the way of a great idea. Leanne and Steve Ford share their secrets for how to turn dreams into reality.

Leanne and Steve were middle-class kids growing up in Pittsburgh in the 80s and 90s. There was nothing particularly glamorous or unusual about their lives as kids. Leanne was a shy, stubborn child who lived a rich life in her own imagination. Steve was outdoorsy and offbeat and was bullied mercilessly at school for being different. Their parents, grounded in faith and always encouraging of both creativity and hard work, gave them the confidence and the encouragement they needed to pursue the often difficult creative life. Leanne's slogan as a child was, "My name is Leanne. If I want to, I can."

Leanne studied clothing design and pulled gigs at fashion houses in New York and as a stylist to country music stars in Nashville before she found her true passion: interior design. Steve threw himself into kayaking and snowboarding and opening his own men's clothing store in Pittsburgh. And then their individual passions converged when Leanne asked Steve to help renovate her bathroom. There was magic in their collaboration, and they began renovating for clients in Pittsburgh--creating unique, authentic spaces that manage to feel both chic and completely obtainable--before catching the eye of producers at HGTV.

Leanne and Steve share the details of their journey, including the beliefs that have inspired them and the experiences that have challenged them along the way.

Working

Working

$16.00
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"One of the great reporters of our time and probably the greatest biographer." --The Sunday Times (London)

From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Power Broker and The Years of Lyndon Johnson: an unprecedented gathering of vivid, candid, deeply moving recollections about his experiences researching and writing his acclaimed books.

Now in paperback, Robert Caro gives us a glimpse into his own life and work in these evocatively written, personal pieces. He describes what it was like to interview the mighty Robert Moses and to begin discovering the extent of the political power Moses wielded; the combination of discouragement and exhilaration he felt confronting the vast holdings of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas; his encounters with witnesses, including longtime residents wrenchingly displaced by the construction of Moses' Cross-Bronx Expressway and Lady Bird Johnson acknowledging the beauty and influence of one of LBJ's mistresses. He gratefully remembers how, after years of working in solitude, he found a writers' community at the New York Public Library, and details the ways he goes about planning and composing his books.
Caro recalls the moments at which he came to understand that he wanted to write not just about the men who wielded power but about the people and the politics that were shaped by that power. And he talks about the importance to him of the writing itself, of how he tries to infuse it with a sense of place and mood to bring characters and situations to life on the page. Taken together, these reminiscences--some previously published, some written expressly for this book--bring into focus the passion, the wry self-deprecation, and the integrity with which this brilliant historian has always approached his work.

Working

Working

$25.00
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"One of the great reporters of our time and probably the greatest biographer." --The Sunday Times (London)

From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Power Broker and The Years of Lyndon Johnson: an unprecedented gathering of vivid, candid, deeply moving recollections about his experiences researching and writing his acclaimed books.

Now in paperback, Robert Caro gives us a glimpse into his own life and work in these evocatively written, personal pieces. He describes what it was like to interview the mighty Robert Moses and to begin discovering the extent of the political power Moses wielded; the combination of discouragement and exhilaration he felt confronting the vast holdings of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas; his encounters with witnesses, including longtime residents wrenchingly displaced by the construction of Moses' Cross-Bronx Expressway and Lady Bird Johnson acknowledging the beauty and influence of one of LBJ's mistresses. He gratefully remembers how, after years of working in solitude, he found a writers' community at the New York Public Library, and details the ways he goes about planning and composing his books.
Caro recalls the moments at which he came to understand that he wanted to write not just about the men who wielded power but about the people and the politics that were shaped by that power. And he talks about the importance to him of the writing itself, of how he tries to infuse it with a sense of place and mood to bring characters and situations to life on the page. Taken together, these reminiscences--some previously published, some written expressly for this book--bring into focus the passion, the wry self-deprecation, and the integrity with which this brilliant historian has always approached his work.

Working Fire: The Making of an Accidental Fireman

Working Fire: The Making of an Accidental Fireman

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A remarkable memoir, by turns funny and deeply moving, of one man's coming into his calling and his transformation from ambivalent Ivy League grad to skilled and dedicated firefighter.
Zac Unger didn't feel like much of a firefighter at first. Most of his fellow recruits seemed to have planned for the job all their lives; he was an Ivy League grad responding to a help-wanted ad at an Oakland bus stop. He couldn't keep his boots shined, and he looked horrible in his uniform. "Working Fire" is the story of how, from this unlikely beginning, Zac Unger came to feel at home among this close-knit tribe, came to master his work's demands, and came to know what it is to see the city of Oakland through a firefighter's eyes.
From the materials of his day's work-the harrowing calls and the hilarious, the moments of triumph and of grief-Zac Unger has forged a timeless story of finding one's path. He never takes himself too seriously, but he comes to take his job very seriously. Because he tells his story with such extraordinary empathy and wit, his fierce passion for his work, his comrades, and the city he protects becomes our own.
World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers

World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers

$28.00
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As seen on the Today Show: This true story of an unforgettable mother, her devoted daughter, and their life in the Detroit numbers of the 1960s and 1970s highlights the outstanding humanity of black America (James McBride).
In 1958, the very same year that an unknown songwriter named Berry Gordy borrowed $800 to found Motown Records, a pretty young mother from Nashville, Tennessee, borrowed $100 from her brother to run a numbers racket out of her home. That woman was Fannie Davis, Bridgett M. Davis's mother.
Part bookie, part banker, mother, wife, and granddaughter of slaves, Fannie ran her numbers business for thirty-four years, doing what it took to survive in a legitimate business that just happened to be illegal. She created a loving, joyful home, sent her children to the best schools, bought them the best clothes, mothered them to the highest standard, and when the tragedy of urban life struck, soldiered on with her stated belief: Dying is easy. Living takes guts.
A daughter's moving homage to an extraordinary parent, The World According to Fannie Davis is also the suspenseful, unforgettable story about the lengths to which a mother will go to make a way out of no way and provide a prosperous life for her family -- and how those sacrifices resonate over time.
World According to Tom Hanks

World According to Tom Hanks

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An entertaining and insightful homage to Tom Hanks, America's favorite movie star, from the New York Times bestselling author of the cult sensation The Tao of Bill Murray.

Niceness gets a bad rap these days. Our culture rewards those who troll the hardest and who snark the most. At times it seems like there's no place anymore for optimism, integrity, and good old-fashioned respect. Enter "America's Dad": Tom Hanks. Whether he's buying espresso machines for the White House Press Corps, rewarding a jovial cab driver with a night out on Broadway, or extolling the virtues of using a typewriter, Hanks lives a passionate, joyful life and pays it forward to others. Gavin Edwards, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tao of Bill Murray, takes readers on a tour behind the scenes of Hanks's life: from his less-than-idyllic childhood, rocky first marriage, and career wipeouts to the pinnacle of his acting career and domestic bliss with the love of his life, Rita Wilson.

As he did for Bill Murray, Edwards distills Hanks's life story into ten "commandments" that beautifully encapsulate his All-American philosophy. Contemplating the life, the achievements, and the obsessions of Mr. Tom Hanks may or may not give you the road map you need to find your way. But at the very least, it'll show you how niceness can be a worthy destination.

World Elsewhere

World Elsewhere

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The extraordinary love story of an American blueblood and a German aristocrat and a riveting tale of survival in wartime Germany
Sigrid MacRae never knew her father, until a trove of letters revealed not only him, but also the singular story of her parents intercontinental love affair. While visiting Paris
in 1927, her American mother, Aimee, raised in a wealthy Connecticut family, falls in love with a charming, sophisticated Baltic German baron, a penniless exile of the Russian revolution. They marry. But the harsh reality of post World War I Germany is inescapable: a bleak economy and the rise of Hitler quash Heinrich s diplomatic
ambitions, and their struggling family farm north of Berlin drains Aimee s modest fortune. In 1941, Heinrich volunteers for the Russian front and is killed by a sniper. Widowed, living in a country soon at war with her own, Aimee must fend for herself. With home and family in jeopardy, she and her six young children flee the advancing
Russian army in an epic journey, back to the country she thought she d left behind.
A World Elsewhere is a stirring narrative of two hostages to history and a mother s courageous fight to save her family."
World is a Carpet

World is a Carpet

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An unforgettable portrait of a place and a people shaped by centuries of art, trade, and war.
In the middle of the salt-frosted Afghan desert, in a village so remote that Google can t find it, a woman squats on top of a loom, making flowers bloom in the thousand threads she knots by hand. Here, where heroin is cheaper than rice, every day is a fast day. B-52s pass overhead a sign of America s omnipotence or its vulnerability, the villagers are unsure. They know, though, that the earth is flat like a carpet.
Anna Badkhen first traveled to this country in 2001, as a war correspondent. She has returned many times since, drawn by a land that geography has made a perpetual battleground, and by a people who sustain an exquisite tradition there. Through the four seasons in which a new carpet is woven by the women and children of Oqa, she immortalizes their way of life much as the carpet does from the petal half-finished where a hungry infant needs care to the interruptions when the women trade sex jokes or go fill in for wedding musicians scared away by the Taliban. As Badkhen follows the carpet out into the world beyond, she leaves the reader with an indelible portrait of fates woven by centuries of art, war, and an ancient trade that ultimately binds the invaded to the invader."
World Is Moving Around Me: A Memoir of the Haiti Earthquake

World Is Moving Around Me: A Memoir of the Haiti Earthquake

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On January 12, 2010, novelist Dany Laferrière had just ordered dinner at a Port-au-Prince restaurant with a friend when the earthquake struck. He survived; some three hundred thousand others did not. The quake caused widespread destruction and left over one million homeless.

This moving and revelatory book is an eyewitness account of the quake and its aftermath. In a series of vignettes, Laferrière reveals the shock, rage, and grief experienced by those around him, the acts of heroism he witnessed, and his own sense of survivor guilt. At one point, his nephew, astonished at still being alive, asks his uncle not to write about this, this being too horrible to give up so easily to those who were not there. But as a writer, Laferrière can't make such a promise. Still, the question is raised: to whom does this disaster belong? Who gets to talk and write about it? In this way, this book is not only the chronicle of a natural disaster; it is also a personal meditation about the responsibility and power of the written word in a manner that echoes certain post-Holocaust books.

Includes a foreword by Michaëlle Jean, UN special envoy to Haiti and the former Governor General of Canada.

Dany Laferrière was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1953. He is the author of fourteen novels, including Heading South and How to Make Love to a Negro without Getting Tired. His awards include the Prix Médicis and the Governor General's Literary Award. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.


World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul

World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul

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The first major biography of V.S. Naipaul, the controversial and enigmatic Nobel laureate: a stunning writer whose only stated ambition was greatness, in pursuit of which goal nothing else was sacred.

Beginning in rich detail in Trinidad, where Naipaul was born into an Indian family, Patrick French skillfully examines Naipaul's life within a displaced community and his fierce ambition at school. He describes how, on scholarship at Oxford, homesickness and depression struck with great force; the ways in which Naipaul's first wife helped him to cope and their otherwise fraught marriage; and Naipaul's struggles throughout subsequent uncertainties in England, including his twenty-five-year-long affair.

Naipaul's extraordinary gift--producing, uniquely, masterpieces of both fiction and nonfiction--is most of all born of a forceful, visionary impulse, whose roots French traces with a sympathetic brilliance and devastating insight.

World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul

World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul

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Since V. S. Naipaul left his Caribbean birthplace at the age of seventeen, his improbable life has followed the global movement of peoples, whose preeminent literary chronicler he has become. In "The World Is What It Is, " Patrick French offers the first authoritative biography of the controversial Nobel laureate, whose only stated ambition was greatness as a writer, in pursuit of which goal nothing else was sacred.
Beginning with a richly detailed portrait of Naipaul's childhood in colonial Trinidad, French gives us the boy born to an Indian family, the displaced soul in a displaced community, who by dint of talent and ambition finds the only imaginable way out: a scholarship to Oxford. London in the 1950s offers hope and his first literary success, but homesickness and depression almost defeat Vidia, his narrow escape aided by Patricia Hale, an Englishwoman who will devote herself to his work and well-being. She will stand by him, sometimes tenuously, for more than four decades, even as Naipaul embarks on a twenty-four-year affair, which will awaken half-dead passions and feed perhaps his greatest wave of dizzying creativity. Amid this harrowing emotional life, French traces the course of the fierce visionary impulse underlying Naipaul's singular power, a gift to produce masterpieces of fiction and nonfiction.
Informed by exclusive access to V. S. Naipaul's private papers and personal recollections, and by great feeling for his formidable body of work, French's revelatory biography does full justice to an enigmatic genius.
World of Juliette Kinzie

World of Juliette Kinzie

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When Juliette Kinzie first visited Chicago in 1831, it was anything but a city. An outpost in the shadow of Fort Dearborn, it had no streets, no sidewalks, no schools, no river-spanning bridges. And with two hundred disconnected residents, it lacked any sense of community. In the decades that followed, not only did Juliette witness the city's transition from Indian country to industrial center, but she was instrumental in its development.

Juliette is one of Chicago's forgotten founders. Early Chicago is often presented as "a man's city," but women like Juliette worked to create an urban and urbane world, often within their own parlors. With The World of Juliette Kinzie, we finally get to experience the rise of Chicago from the view of one of its most important founding mothers.

Ann Durkin Keating, one of the foremost experts on nineteenth-century Chicago, offers a moving portrait of a trailblazing and complicated woman. Keating takes us to the corner of Cass and Michigan (now Wabash and Hubbard), Juliette's home base. Through Juliette's eyes, our understanding of early Chicago expands from a city of boosters and speculators to include the world that women created in and between households. We see the development of Chicago society, first inspired by cities in the East and later coming into its own midwestern ways. We also see the city become a community, as it developed its intertwined religious, social, educational, and cultural institutions. Keating draws on a wealth of sources, including hundreds of Juliette's personal letters, allowing Juliette to tell much of her story in her own words.

Juliette's death in 1870, just a year before the infamous fire, seemed almost prescient. She left her beloved Chicago right before the physical city as she knew it vanished in flames. But now her history lives on. The World of Juliette Kinzie offers a new perspective on Chicago's past and is a fitting tribute to one of the first women historians in the United States.

World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes That Inspired the Little House Books

World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes That Inspired the Little House Books

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"If you loved Wilder's books, or if you garden with a child who loves her books, you will enjoy the read." --San Francisco Chronicle

In this revealing exploration of Laura Ingalls Wilder's deep connection with the natural world, Marta McDowell follows the wagon trail of the beloved Little House series. You'll learn details about Wilder's life and inspirations, pinpoint the Ingalls and Wilder homestead claims on authentic archival maps, and learn how to grow the plants and vegetables featured in the series. Excerpts from Wilder's books, letters, and diaries bring to light her profound appreciation for the landscapes at the heart of her world.

Featuring the beloved illustrations by Helen Sewell and Garth Williams, plus hundreds of historic and contemporary photographs, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a treasure that honors Laura's wild and beautiful life.

World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words

World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words

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Raymond Chandler never wrote a memoir or autobiography. The closest he came to writing either was in and around his novels, shorts stories, and letters. There have been books that describe and evaluate Chandler s life, but to find out what he himself felt about his life and work, Barry Day, editor of "The" "Letters of Noel Coward "( There is much to dazzle here in just the way we expect . . . the book is meticulous, artfully structured splendid Daniel Mendelsohn; "The New York Review of Books"), has cannily, deftly chosen from Chandler s writing, as well as the many interviews he gave over the years as he achieved cult status, to weave together an illuminating narrative that reveals the man, the work, the worlds he created.
Using Chandler s own words as well as Day s text, here is the life of the man with no home, a man precariously balanced between his classical English education with its immutable values and that of a fast-evolving America during the years before the Great War, and the changing vernacular of the cultural psyche that resulted. Chandler makes clear what it is to be a writer, and in particular what it is to be a writer of hardboiled fiction in what was for him another language. Along the way, he discusses the work of his contemporaries: Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, W. Somerset Maugham, and others ( I wish, said Chandler, I had one of those facile plotting brains, like Erle Gardner ).
Here is Chandler s Los Angeles ( There is a touch of the desert about everything in California, he said, and about the minds of the people who live here ), a city he adopted and that adopted him in the post-World War I period . . . Here is his Hollywood ( Anyone who doesn t like Hollywood, he said, is either crazy or sober ) . . . He recounts his own (rocky) experiences working in the town with Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, and others. . .We see Chandler s alter ego, Philip Marlowe, private eye, the incorruptible knight with little armor who walks the mean streets in a world not made for knights ( If I had ever an opportunity of selecting the movie actor who would best represent Marlowe to my mind, I think it would have been Cary Grant. ) . . . Here is Chandler on drinking (his life in the end was in a race with alcohol and loneliness) . . . and here are Chandler s women the Little Sisters, the dames in his fiction, and in his life (on writing "The Long Goodbye," Chandler said, I watched my wife die by half inches and I wrote the best book in my agony of that knowledge . . . I was as hollow as the places between the stars. After her death Chandler led what he called a posthumous life writing fiction, but more often than not, his writing life was made up of letters written to women he barely knew.)
Interwoven throughout the text are more than one hundred pictures that reveal the psyche and world of Raymond Chandler. I have lived my whole life on the edge of nothing, he wrote. In his own words, and with Barry Day s commentary, we see the shape this took and the way it informed the man and his extraordinary work.
"

World of Yesterday

World of Yesterday

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By the author who inspired Wes Anderson's film, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, The World of Yesterday recalls the golden age of literary Vienna--its seeming permanence, its promise, and its devastating fall.

Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Stefan Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction.

This new translation by award-winning Anthea Bell captures the spirit of Zweig's writing in arguably his most revealing work.

World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero

World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero

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In the tradition of The Boys in the Boat and Seabiscuit, a fascinating portrait of a groundbreaking but forgotten figure--the remarkable Major Taylor, the black man who broke racial barriers by becoming the world's fastest and most famous bicyclist at the height of the Jim Crow era.

In the 1890s, the nation's promise of equality had failed spectacularly. While slavery had ended with the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws still separated blacks from whites, and the excesses of the Gilded Age created an elite upper class. Amidst this world arrived Major Taylor, a young black man who wanted to compete in the nation's most popular and mostly white man's sport, cycling. Birdie Munger, a white cyclist who once was the world's fastest man, declared that he could help turn the young black athlete into a champion.

Twelve years before boxer Jack Johnson and fifty years before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Taylor faced racism at nearly every turn--especially by whites who feared he would disprove their stereotypes of blacks. In The World's Fastest Man, years in the writing, investigative journalist Michael Kranish reveals new information about Major Taylor based on a rare interview with his daughter and other never-before-uncovered details from Taylor's life. Kranish shows how Taylor indeed became a world champion, traveled the world, was the toast of Paris, and was one of the most chronicled black men of his day.

From a moment in time just before the arrival of the automobile when bicycles were king, the populace was booming with immigrants, and enormous societal changes were about to take place, The World's Fastest Man shines a light on a dramatic moment in American history--the gateway to the twentieth century.

World's Largest Man

World's Largest Man

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Winner of the 2016 Thurber Prize

The riotous, tender story of a bookish Mississippi boy and his flawed, Bunyanesque father, told with the comic verve of David Sedaris and the deft satire of Mark Twain or Roy Blount, Jr.

Harrison Scott Key was born in Memphis, but he grew up in Mississippi, among pious, Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father--a hunter, a fighter, a football coach, "a man better suited to living in a remote frontier wilderness of the nineteenth century than contemporary America, with all its progressive ideas, and paved roads, and lack of armed duels. He was a great man, and he taught me many things: How to fight, how to work, how to cheat, how to pray to Jesus about it, how to kill things with guns and knives and, if necessary, with hammers."

Harrison, with his love of books and excessive interest in hugging, couldn't have been less like Pop, and when it became clear that he was not able to kill anything very well or otherwise make his father happy, he resolved to become everything his father was not: an actor, a Presbyterian, and a doctor of philosophy. But when it was time to settle down and start a family of his own, Harrison started to view his father in a new light, and realized--for better and for worse--how much of his old man he'd absorbed.

Sly, heartfelt, and tirelessly hilarious, The World's Largest Man is an unforgettable memoir--the story of a boy's struggle to reconcile himself with an impossibly outsized role model, a grown man's reckoning with the father it took him a lifetime to understand.