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.)
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"Hear that? That is the sweet sonic boom of the Baby Boom barrier being broken by this elegant flight of essays launched from the steely hand of Captain Dinty W. Moore in his remarkable memoir "Between Panic and Desire". Impossible, they said, to reveal this precisely that sense of time, place, and even space. Listen: Read, read, read. Words away! That's it. Exactly. Like that."---Michael Martone, author of "Michael Martone: Fictions" "Dinty W. Moore's prose is crisp and clean, his insights sparkle with biting clarity and magnetic charm. This is an unusual, joyful and compelling memoir."---Lee Gutkind, author of "Almost Human: Making Robots Think" and editor of "Creative Nonfiction" "This is a refreshing and invigorating book, taking the predictable memoir form in new directions---playfully, sincerely, and intelligently. This is a terrific book."---Bret Lott, author of "Jewel"