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Between Panic and Desire (American Lives) Hardcover – March 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: American Lives
  • Hardcover: 161 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; 1st edition, edition (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080321149X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803211490
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,932,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this unconventional, nonsequential, generational autobiography, AKA cultural memoir, Moore, a professor of English at Ohio University, describes growing up as a child of the 1950s. Panic characterized his youth, as he watched the symbols of safety and security on television—Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best—while his real world fell apart. His mother had left his often-inebriated father, but couldn't handle raising the children herself. Paranoia was the theme of his teen years, as JFK and King were assassinated; the draft and the Vietnam War drove young men to extremes; and characters like Charlie Manson, Squeaky Fromme, Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley Jr. all took aim at public figures. Moore's own paranoia was only heightened by using LSD and smoking dope while tooling around in his VW Beetle. Miraculously, desire began to overtake panic; he discovered a passion for writing, which has focused him ever since. Moore lays all this out in a series of free-form, almost playful essays; only there's something serious here, too, as he realizes our history seems to repeat itself: the Patriot Act sounds like 1984 and Iraq feels like Vietnam all over again. In the end, Moore (The Accidental Buddhist) takes readers on a quirky, entertaining joyride. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Moore forges a brisk, incisive, funny, sometimes silly, yet stealthily affecting memoir in essays and skits, a ‘generational autobiography,’ and good candid guy stuff. . . . Each anecdote, piece of pop-culture trivia, and frankly confessed panic and desire yields a chunk of irony and a sliver of wisdom.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist
 
 
(Donna Seaman Booklist 2008-03-15)

“The writing is frequently very funny; insightful, too, especially Moore’s belief that humans are generally delusional when it comes to their expectations vs. what is realistically possible. . . . The narrative has its poignant moments, particularly in Moore’s recollections of his father. And despite his fractured take on the world, his message is essentially hopeful. Moore, it seems, is moving on.”—Robert Kelly, Library Journal
(Robert Kelly Library Journal 2008-03-01)

Between Panic and Desire is more autopsy than memoir—a strange new hybrid. It's a fantasy of letting go of the things that have haunted Moore his entire life. These things do, in fact, float off the pages.”—Los Angeles Times
(Susan Salter Reynolds Los Angeles Times 2008-03-02)

“This book is funny, funny, funny. It is an unconventional—some might say, experimental—collection of frolicsome and touching personal essays. . . . [T]he book is a rare example of how unusual form actually helps. It is the ideal display for Dinty’s imagination. He daydreams. He fantasizes. He hallucinates. And this is nonfiction. For anyone who thinks the genre is nothing more than a retelling of facts, pick up a copy of Between Panic and Desire. . . . It is literary nonfiction with integrity. And it’s fun.”—Oxford Town
(Neil White Oxford Town 2008-02-28)

“[A] quirky, entertaining joyride.”—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly 2007-12-10)

"Between Panic and Desire turns the memoir genre on its head as it deftly moves from essay to essay."—Peter Grandbois, Review of Contemporary Fiction
(Peter Grandbois Review of Contemporary Fiction)

More About the Author

Dinty W. Moore was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, and spent his formative years fishing for bluegill, riding a bike with a banana seat, and dodging the Sisters of St. Joseph. He earned a BA in writing from the University of Pittsburgh, worked briefly as a journalist, and also served short stints as a documentary filmmaker, modern dance performer, zookeeper, and Greenwich Village waiter. It was only after failing at each of these professions that he went on to earn an MFA in fiction writing from Louisiana State University.

A National Endowment for the Arts fellowship recipient, Moore has guest taught creative nonfiction seminars across the United States and in Europe. In addition to editing the internet journal, Brevity, he is on the editorial board of Creative Nonfiction magazine.

Moore teaches writing at Ohio University.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
Because the novel is enjoyable, it reads quickly.
Jeffrey Grieneisen
It is an easy read, as it is organized in short, punchy chapters.
Dark Lake
Dinty W. Moore has written a completely unexpected memoir.
Sarah Einstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin O'Kelly on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This really isn't a memoir in the conventional sense--and thank God for that. This sad-yet-funny montage provides a number of poignant glimpses into the life of a writer and a country: whether he's writing about Irish-Americana, 9/11, dropping acid, or dysfunctional fathers, Dinty Moore is poignant, honest and ultimately hopeful. No matter how much you think your country is screwed up, or how much you think you've screwed up, or how much you think your family screwed you up, read Panic and Desire. By the time you finish it you'll realize life is better than you thought.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Holtsberry on May 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I don't share a great deal in common with Dinty Moore. I didn't grow up watching TV or obsessed with Richard Nixon, I haven't done drugs, I haven't been searching for a father figure, and I don't have a name that causes people to ask "is that your real name?" for example. But I enjoyed this short and readable book.

Moore uses creative chapters (quizzes, lists, imaginary conversations and interviews - using real quotes, etc.) to think about the role of perception and memory in our lives. It is an interesting stew - sorry, had to do it - of pop culture, sociology, psychology, commentary, criticism, and memoir.

If you have ever wondered what creative non-fiction meant, Moore - who teaches it - offers a good example in his latest book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Einstein on May 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dinty W. Moore has written a completely unexpected memoir. This series of linked essays (with a quiz thrown in here and there for good measure) follows the path of a single life through the cultural touchstones that that shaped all of us who are old enough to remember Nixon, Squeaky Fromme, and Mr. Greenjeans.

If you're not old enough to remember them, buy this for your father and write something on the inside flap like, "Thanks for not sending me hither and yon looking for a father figure, Dad!" Trust me. Next time you call home for money, you'll be glad that you did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beth J. Mayer on May 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Early in his completely original and frequently hilarious memoir Between Panic & Desire, writer Dinty W. Moore learns that he has double vision. As a boy, he had just seen two of everything pretty much all of the time. That was his normal. Lucky for us, because Moore's singular way of looking back on his world--from families and marijuana, to Richard Nixon and the number nine (my personal favorite, number and chapter)--lets us witness more than just his personal history. Somehow Moore seems to see, simultaneously, what is funny and sad, momentous and fleeting, then and now. Between Panic & Desire is a trip worth taking. And I'd highly recommend letting Dinty W. Moore drive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mike on September 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I first met Dinty while reading The Accidental Buddhist and was captivated by his style. I bought Between Panic and Desire as soon as it came out and learned that he is living my life five years in the future. I'm looking forward to his next work to see how my life turns out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dark Lake on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is simply an amazing book: funny, accessible, poignant, avant garde, and silly all at the same time. It is an easy read, as it is organized in short, punchy chapters. If you were born in the 1950s or 60s, the book will be even more meaningful for you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. G. Schneider on June 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Or perhaps that should be "a gorgeously surprising memoir." Inventive in form, carefully beautiful in language, funny, unexpected, heartbreaking, amusing, filial, universal... this is not just a good read but a terrific choice for book groups or just sharing with a friend. If you've had a father, if you haven't had a father, if you are a father, or if you just know what it's like to be stuck between Panic and Desire (the real towns, or just the states of being), this is a book for you. Unreservedly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Moore, the master of literary nonfiction, brings the reader into the moments that make up a life (a memoir) and explodes the meaning of them from the inside out allowing readers to glimpse reflections of their own lives refracted in the shattered glimmering fallout of a story (structured in experiential, experimental segments) well told.
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