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Blue Skies, No Fences: A Memoir of Childhood and Family Hardcover – October 9, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Cheney's memoir of her childhood in Casper, Wyoming, is a captivating amalgam of genealogy and gems of 1950s memorabilia that will bring smiles of recognition to readers of her generation. -- Booklist

About the Author

Lynne Cheney's most recent book is the New York Times bestseller, We the People: The Story of Our Constitution, illustrated by Greg Harlin. She is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers America: A Patriotic Primer, A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women, When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots, A Time for Freedom: What Happened When in America, and Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America, and has written a memoir, Blue Skies, No Fences. Mrs. Cheney is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Vice President Richard B. Cheney.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; First Edition edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416532889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416532880
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,389,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennie L. Brown on October 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I didn't know Lynne Vincent or Dick Cheney when I grew up in Casper,Wyoming. I did know, at one time or another, many people mentioned in Lynne Cheney's memoir. She has portrayed them accurately, from the stern Dean of Women at the high school to John and Shirley Gray who operated the best after-hours joint in town.

In my experience, as both a writer and memoir workshop leader, if a memoir isn't honest, candid, and courageous, it's just fiction. Cheney's book is definitely not fiction; it's what a memoir should be - candid, honest, and true. I know. I went to the same high school, walked the same streets, played in the same parks, shopped in the same stores, people watched with my parents on the same corner (2nd and Center), and cruised the same drive-ins. While that may seem to impart an obvious bias, I read Blue Skies, No Fences with a critical eye. The book did not disappoint me.

Casper wasn't, and still isn't, like anywhere else I've ever lived or visited. Isolated on the high plains, at the foot of a mountain range, Casper developed a unique character - half-Western, half-cosmopolitan. A boom town (and occasionally a bust town), it had an influx of energy, money, and culture that created a "can-do and it's your own fault if you don't" mentality.

Self-reliance was admired; success was encouraged. Individuals were judged on their own merit. If people harbored a prejudice, and I remember very few who did, it took second place to respect for an individual's character and efforts. Harsh winters and the omnipresent wind bred hardy people who approached life with a certain stoicism laced with humor. Cheney has deftly captured both the mood and the impetus of Casper in the middle of the 20th century.
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Format: Hardcover
Lynne Cheney's self proclaimed "Valentine" to her home town of Casper, Wyoming is truly a captivating, inspiring and heart warming read.

For those of us in Generation X it is a detailed view of our parents' childhood - a time when the world encompassed your neighborhood and being respectful to others - despite race, creed or color - was modeled by all. At times the books demonstrates how far we have come as a society - the treatment of an unwed mother in the 50's versus the lessened social stigmas associated today - and how much we have lost since the glory post World War II days. Television was not the favored tool for rearing children in the 50's, it was the tool to bring families together to observe national events and celebrations.

Mrs. Cheney's writing is entertaining and at times quite humerous. It truly shows the 50's were a time that boys and girls could become whatever they set their minds and hearts too. It is an emotional story where we can all feel loss for those who are no longer with us.
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Format: Hardcover
Lynne Cheney just keeps cranking out good books. Her latest, "Blue Skies, No Fences" took me back to growing up in the 40's and 50's. It didn't matter that we came from different states, the similarities were amazing. Other than the weather, small Wyoming towns were not much different from the small, blue-collar Southern California town that I came from. Thanks, Lynne, for reminding me of a time and place that were simpler, safer, and full of the deep love that came from those who nurtured us. They might have had different names and faces, but they had the same values and taught us the same lessons. Anne Walker
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Format: Hardcover
I am not from the West, but after reading this book I have a much clearer picture of why those who are from the West love it so. Lynne Cheney paints a wonderful picture of what it was like to grow up in Wyoming. I found it to be an informative and enjoyable read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1941, a girl named Lynne Vincent was born in the Wyoming oil patch town of Caspar, population 18,000 people. "Blue Skies, No Fences" is her extraordinarily honest and highly readable memoir of her youth in Caspar, up through her departure for college.

"Blue Skies, No Fences" is told in two directions. In one direction, Lynne provides the chronological story of her childhood and teenage years in a small town where everyone knows, or knows of, everyone else, and young people's lives are shaped by their parents, teachers, and friends. Lynne Vincent pulls no punches in her narrative; family and friends are described fully, warts and all, as is the era of the 1940's and '50s. Lynne Vincent was fortunate enough to be born a gifted child, and even more fortunate to encouraged to develop those gifts by the adults around her as she grew up.

The second direction of the story is Lynne Vincent's tracing of her family roots back to Europe, and the progress of her ancestors through generations and jobs to the town of Caspar. This portion represents some significant amount of research, and while it can get hard to follow, it is worth the effort.

Towards the end of the book, the man who would become Lynne Vincent's husband makes his appearence. This young man, quiet, intelligent, hardworking, and athletic, would attract her interest in high school. The closing chapters are about their friendship, their dates, and their senior prom. As it turns out, the young Dick Cheney was only one of several of Lynne Vincent's classmates at Caspar who went on to make their mark in the world.

"Blue Skies, No Fences" is very highly recommended as a well-written and thoughtful capture of a time and a place.
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