My Fathers' Houses: Memoir of a Family (P.S.)




Author: Steven V. Roberts
Type: eBook
Date Released: 2006
Format: pdf
Language: English
Page Count: 288
Isbn10 Code: 0060739940
Isbn13 Code: 9780061945137


From Publishers Weekly This memoir tells "a story of a town and a time and a boy who grew up there." The town is the New York suburb of Bayonne, N.J.; the time is the 1940s and '50s; and the boy is Roberts, syndicated columnist and coauthor (with his wife, Cokie Roberts) of From This Day Forward. Growing up, Roberts's Old World ties were strong. His Jewish family had their roots in Eastern Europe, and he proudly relates the story of how they came to America (his maternal grandfather, Abraham Rogowsky, is particularly fascinating: born in Bialystok, he stole money to become a Zionist pioneer in Palestine in 1907). Roberts also recounts how his parents met in the mid-'30s in New Jersey-"two shy and sensitive souls, sophisticated about books and innocent about life"-but the book doesn't really hit its stride until the author begins describing his own experiences. He paints a reflective portrait of his childhood and young adulthood, when he played and fought with his twin brother, Marc, and when he attended Harvard University, where he met Cokie Boggs, his future wife. "All families have their own folklore, stories they tell and axioms they use," Roberts writes. Thankfully, the stories told here have widespread appeal. As the author's family name changes from Rogowsky to Rogow to Roberts, a universal story of the American experience of immigrant conversion emerges from all the carefully limned details. Photos. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Roberts' first newspaper job was at the Times--the Bayonne Times--and the well-known journalist recalls his childhood and adolescence in that often-disparaged New Jersey city. Thematically, his memoir traces acculturation, beginning with that of his immigrant grandparents, and extending to his own education about the world beyond Bayonne. The majority of this memoir focuses on two people: Roberts' father, Will, and Will's father, Abe, an opinionated eccentric whose businesses hovered between the legal and the illegal. The author expresses loyal and warm feelings about his father, without sentimentalizing his struggles to make it. A cache of his parents' premarital letters allows Roberts to reconstruct their youthful ambitions and anxieties, and their traditional relationship sets the stage for the 1950s adventures of Roberts and his twin, who was afflicted with polio. Set against Bayonne's population, made up of Eastern European Catholics and Jews, Roberts' affecting recollections of sports, girls, and family seldom omit an ethnic component, and fairly burst with his feelings about his family's lore. A singular saga of assimilation. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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