Reflections on America and the American experience as he has lived and observed it by the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation, whose iconic career in journalism has spanned more than fifty years
From his parents’ life in the Thirties, on to his boyhood along the Missouri River and on the prairies of South Dakota in the Forties, into his early journalism career in the Fifties and the tumultuous Sixties, up to the present, this personal story is a reflection on America in our time. Tom Brokaw writes about growing up and coming of age in the heartland, and of the family, the people, the culture and the values that shaped him then and still do today.
His father, Red Brokaw, a genius with machines, followed the instincts of Tom’s mother Jean, and took the risk of moving his small family from an Army base to Pickstown, South Dakota, where Red got a job as a heavy equipment operator in the Army Corps of Engineers’ project building the Ft. Randall dam along the Missouri River. Tom Brokaw describes how this move became the pivotal decision in their lives, as the Brokaw family, along with others after World War II, began to live out the American Dream: community, relative prosperity, middle class pleasures and good educations for their children.
“Along the river and in the surrounding hills, I had a Tom Sawyer boyhood,” Brokaw writes; and as he describes his own pilgrimage as it unfolded—from childhood to love, marriage, the early days in broadcast journalism, and beyond—he also reflects on what brought him and so many Americans of his generation to lead lives a long way from home, yet forever affected by it.
Praise for A Long Way from Home
“[A] love letter to the . . . people and places that enriched a ‘Tom Sawyer boyhood.’ Brokaw . . . has a knack for delivering quirky observations on small-town life. . . . Bottom line: Tom’s terrific.”—People
“Breezy and straightforward . . . much like the assertive TV newsman himself.”—Los Angeles Times
“Brokaw writes with disarming honesty.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Brokaw evokes a sense of community, a pride of citizenship, and a confidence in American ideals that will impress his readers.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
"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.