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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

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Tim Russert

Feature Anthology Tim Russert's  Wisdom of Our Fathers

   

 

What does it really mean to be a good father? What did your father tell you, that has stayed with you throughout your life? Was there a lesson from him, a story, or a moment that helped to make you who you are? Is there a special memory that makes you smile when you least expect it?

After the publication of Tim Russertís number one New York Times bestseller about his father, Big Russ & Me, he received an avalanche of letters from daughters and sons who wanted to tell him about their own fathers, most of whom were not superdads or heroes but ordinary men who were remembered and cherished for some of their best momentsĖof advice, tenderness, strength, honor, discipline, and occasional eccentricity.

Most of these daughters and sons were eager to express the gratitude they had carried with them through the years. Others wanted to share lessons and memories and, most important, pass them down to their own children.

This book is for all fathers, young or old, who can learn from the men in these pages how to get it right, and to understand that sometimes it is the little gestures that can make the big difference for your child. For some in this book, the appreciation came later than they would have liked. But as Wisdom of Our Fathers reminds us, it is never too late to embrace it.

From the father who coached his daughter in sports (and life), attending every meet, game, performance, and tournament, to the daughter who, after a fifteen-year estrangement, learned to make peace with her difficult father just before he died, to the son who came, at last, to appreciate the silent way his father could show affection, Wisdom of Our Fathers shares rewarding lessons, immeasurable gifts, and lasting values.

Heartfelt, humorous, engaging, irresistibly readable, and bound to bring back memories of unforgettable moments with our own fathers, Tim Russertís new book is not only a fitting companion to his own marvelous memoir, but also a celebration of the positive qualities passed down from generation to generation.
 
 
 Veteran newsman and Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert is known for his direct and unpretentious style and in this charming memoir he explains why. Russert's father is profiled as a plainspoken World War II veteran who worked two blue-collar jobs while raising four kids in South Buffalo but the elder Russert's lessons on how to live an honest, disciplined, and ethical life are shown to be universal. Big Russ and Me, a sort of Greatest Generation meets Tuesdays with Morrie, could easily have become a sentimental pile of mush with a son wistfully recalling the wisdom of his beloved dad. But both Russerts are far too down-to-earth to let that happen and the emotional content of the book is made more direct, accessible, and palatable because of it. The relationship between father and son, contrary to what one would think of as essential to a riveting memoir, seems completely healthy and positive as Tim, the academically gifted kid and later the esteemed TV star and political operative relies on his old man, a career sanitation worker and newspaper truck driver, for advice. Big Russ and Me also traces Russert's life from working-class kid to one of broadcast journalism's top interviewers by introducing various influential figures who guided him along the way, including Jesuit teachers, nuns, his dad's drinking buddies, and, most notably, the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whom Russert helped get elected in 1976. Plenty of entertaining anecdotes are served up along the way from schoolyard pranks to an attempt to book Pope John Paul II on the Today Show. Though not likely to revolutionize modern thought, Big Russ and Me will provide fathers and sons a chance to reflect on lessons learned between generations. --Charlie Williams