Reflections on America and the American experience as he has lived and observed it, by the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation .
In this beautiful memoir, Tom Brokaw writes of America and of the American experience. From his parents’ life in theThirties, 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: A Long Way from Home|
|Release Date: 11-05-2002|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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A Long Way from Home
A Long Way from Home
In 1962, I put my home state of South Dakota in a rearview mirror and drove away. I was uncertain of my final destination but determined to get well beyond the slow rhythms of life in the small towns and rural culture of the Great Plains. I thought that the influences of the people, the land, and the time during my first twenty-two years of life were part of the past. But gradually I came to know how much they meant to my future, and so I have returned often as part of a long pilgrimage of renewal.
When I do return, my wardrobe and home address are New York, my job is high-profile, and my bank account is secure, but when I enter a South Dakota café or stop for gas, I am just someone who grew up around here, left a while back, and never really answers when he's asked, "When you gonna move back home?" I am caught in that place all too familiar to small-state natives who have moved on to a rewarding life in larger arenas: I don't want to move back, but in a way I never want to leave. I am nourished by every visit.
On those trips back to the Great Plains I always try to imagine the land before it was touched by rails and plows, fences and roads. I can still drive off the pavement of South Dakota highways, find a slight elevation in the prairie flatness, and look to a distant horizon, across untilled grassland, and with no barbed wire or telephone poles or dwellings to break the plane of earth and sky. It is at once majestic and intimidating. More than a century after the first white settlers began to arrive, the old Dakota Territory remains a place where nature rules.
On a still, hot late-summer day, aft...