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The Great Possum-Squashing and Beer Storm of 1962: Reflections on the Remains of My Country Paperback – December 5, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (December 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595151094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595151097
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fred Reed is a Marine combat veteran, police reporter, amateur biochemist, former long-haul hitchhiker, and part-time sociopath living in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.

More About the Author

According to Fred, who is an occasionally reliable source (though he says his heart isn't in it): I was born in 1945 in Crumpler, West Virginia, an unincorporated coal camp near Bluefield where my maternal grandfather was the camp doctor, and steam locomotives chuffed spectacularly in to load coal at the tipple. (When someone got sick on the other side of the mountain, the miners would put Big Pat, as granddad was called, in a coal car and take him under the mountain. He had a robust conception of a house call.) My father was a mathematician, but then serving in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Franks. My paternal grandfather was dean and professor of mathematics at Hampden-Sydney College, a small and (then, and perhaps now) quite good liberal arts school in southwest Virginia. In general my family for many generations were among the most literate, the most productive, and the dullest people in the South. Presbyterians.
After the war I lived as a navy brat here and there--San Diego, Mississippi, the Virginia suburbs of Washington, Alabama, what have you, and briefly in Farmville, Virginia, while my father went on active duty for the Korean War as an artillery spotter. I was an absorptive and voracious reader, a terrible student, and had by age eleven an eye for elevation and windage with a BB gun that would have awed a missile engineer. I was also was a bit of a mad scientist. For example, I think I was ten when I discovered the formula for thermite in the Britannica at Athens College in Athens, Alabama, stole the ingredients from the college chemistry laboratory, and ignited a mound of perfectly adequate thermite in the prize frying pan of the mother of my friend Perry, whose father
was the college president. The resulting six-inch hole in the frying pan was hard to explain.
I went to high school in King George County, Virginia, while living aboard Dahlgren Naval Weapons Laboratory (my father was always a weapons-development sort of mathematician, although civilian by this time), where I was the kid other kids weren't supposed to play with. I spent my time canoeing, shooting, drinking unwise but memorable amounts of beer with the local country boys, attempting to be a French rake with only indifferent success, and driving in a manner that, if you are a country boy, I don't have to describe, and if you aren't, you wouldn't believe anyway. I remember trying to explain to my father why his station wagon was upside down at three in the morning after I had flipped it at seventy on a hairpin turn that would have intimidated an Alpine goat.
As usual I was a woeful student--if my friend Butch and I hadn't found the mimeograph stencil for the senior Government exam in the school's Dempster Dumpster, I wouldn't have graduated--but was a National Merit Finalist.
After two years at Hampden-Sydney, where I worked on a split major in chemistry and biology with an eye to oceanography, I was bored. After spending the summer thumbing across the continent and down into Mexico, hopping freight trains up and down the eastern seaboard, and generally confusing myself with Jack Kerouac, I enlisted in the Marines, in the belief that it would be more interesting than stirring unpleasant glops in laboratories and pulling apart innocent frogs. It was. On returning from Vietnam with a lot of stories, as well as a Purple Heart and more shrapnel in my eyes than I really wanted, I graduated from Hampden-Sydney with lousy grades and a bachelor-of-science degree with a major in history and a minor in computers. Really. My GREs were in the 99th percentile.
The years from 1970 to 1973 I spent in largely disreputable pursuits, a variety that has always come naturally to me. I wandered around Europe, Asia, and Mexico, and acquired the usual stock of implausible but true stories about odd back alleys and odder people.
When the 1973 war broke out in the Mid-East, I decided I ought to do something respectable, thought that journalism was, and told the editor of my 327
home-town paper, "Hi! I want to be a war correspondent." This was a sufficiently damn-fool thing to do that he let me go, probably to see what would happen. Writing, it turned out, was the only thing I was good for. Using my clips from Israel, I argued to the editors of Army Times that they needed my services to cover the war in Vietnam. They too let me do it. Editorial bad judgement is a valuable resource.
I spent the last year of the war between Phnom Penh and Saigon, leaving each with the evacuation. Those were heady days in which I lived in slums that would have horrified a New York alley cat, but they appealed to the Steinbeck in me, of which there is a lot. After the fall of Saigon I returned to Asia, resumed residence for six months in my old haunts in Taipei, and studied Chinese while waiting for the next war, which didn't come. Returning overland, I took up a career of magazine free-lancing, a colorful route to starvation, with stints on various staffs interspersed. For a year I worked in Boulder, Colorado, on the staff of Soldier of Fortune magazine, half zoo and half asylum, with the intention of writing a book about it. Publishing houses said, yes, Fred, this is great stuff, but you are obviously making it up. I wasn't. Playboy eventually published it, making me extremely persona non grata at Soldier of Fortune.
Having gotten married somewhere along the way, I am now the happily divorced father of the World's Finest Daughters. Until recently I worked as, among other things, a law-enforcement columnist for theWashington Times. It allowed me to take trips to big cities and to ride around in police cars with the siren going woowoowoo and kick in doors of drug dealers. Recently I changed the column from law enforcement to technology, and now live in Mexico in Jocotopec, near Guadalajara, having found burros preferable to bureaus. I now share my existence with Violeta Gonzales, who was what God had in mind when he created women but just hadn't quite perfected the idea until recently.
My hobbies are crawling South America, scuba, listening to blues, swing-dancing in dirt bars, associating with colorful maniacs, and writing seditious columns.
My principal accomplishment in life, aside from my children, is the discovery that it is possible to jitterbug to the Brandenburgs.

Customer Reviews

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76 of 76 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
When did frank and earnest cease being socially redeeming virtues and simply become two middle class white guys relentlessly pursued by the Politically Incorrect Police? When did "doing the right thing" suddenly get a negative connotation? When did work ethic, personal achievement and the honest desire to just get laid get replaced with affirmative action, the Ebonic Plague, and frivolous sexual harassment suits? When did personal effort and motivation become less lucrative than victimization, discrimination, racism, or Syndrome of the Month?
Fred Reed's collection of columns has a way of politely tapping you on the shoulder, saying "Excuse me, but would you look at that?" and then scooping you up into an entertaining, mind-nudging look at how the social re-engineering of America affects us all on a daily basis. These are serious topics presented with such enthusiasm, humor, and clarity that even the most politically apathetic or under-informed reader can't help but smile and mumble "Well, that's the damned truth!"
I bought one for myself and two for friends who also wonder why we might be perceived as P.I. for working hard, opening doors each other, and enjoying gender differences. This is the stuff that the vast majority of us admit to each other. Finally seeing it in print is validating and exciting!
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By "lorenkvb" on March 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Fred Reed is an ex-marine, former police reporter and ex-columnist for the Washington Post. He is, also, a social analyst with a Southern twang. In his brief, easily consumed, funny-as-hell, essays he inquires into the ills and opportunities of America. He is poignant in is views and his recommendations for fixing our country which has fallen into a state of ill repair. Great, thought-provoking reading.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "jamaal_michaels" on February 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a great book - entertaining, insightful, funny, and thought-provoking - by a superb author. Fred has written for a number of different journals, including Soldier of Fortune and the Washington Times. He has an extremely refreshing, honest style that cuts through the political correctness, liberal censorship, feminist dogma, and racial hypocrisy that surround so many of today's issues. This would be a far better country if Fred Reed were running it. The book is a bargain, and expands on columns on his website. His works on the military, police work, feminism and race in America today, especially on the reparations scam and African-American attitudes, are some of the most accurate, telling, and honest that I've read anywhere. I work in the same general metro area as Fred does, and keep hoping I'll run into him so I can buy him a drink. Until then, I'll keep rereading the book and checking out his website.... Fred Reed is definitely one of those authors who will be highly revered over the years to come. Why not buy his book and enjoy his writing now?
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Fred Reed writes with a hillbilly twang, but this hillbilly has a Ph.D. in life thanks to, among other things, the marines and a life in the journalistic trenches. If you've ever suspected that things might be just a bit different from the reality seen by Naomi Wolfe, Dan Rather, and Jesse Jackson, if you've ever suspected that government dispenses favoritism while pretending that it's equality, if you've ever wondered where our leaders are taking us, this is the book for you. Fred Reed often begins his essays like a country lawyer, with the pretense of the uninformed, but then concludes with the kind of insight that our best minds should be capable of, but all too often aren't.
And after you've read it, you can give it to the neighborhood feminist and then take bets on how far she'll be able to read before going into anaphylactic shock.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Gerald M. Vrooman on October 29, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazon said my predicted rating was 4, and they are right. I don't always agree with Fred on everything but he is a great antidote for political correctness. Fred says what most of us think, but are afraid to say. A must read for anyone who feels suffocated by the unrelenting feminization of our country.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Wheelchair Assassin on July 18, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps no writer going these days demolishes the liberal scourge as well as Fred Reed. In this collection of essays from his website, Fred On Everything, this longtime reporter sheds light on the issues confronting America with his own brand of political incorrectness, or "truth" as it used to be called. Although this book does contain some entertaining personal anecdotes, Fred's at his best when he's taking on the conventional "wisdom" propagated by modern America's elites. In witty, down-home prose that's typically as hilarious as it is insightful, Fred dispenses a constant stream of facts and common sense, which is of course the perfect antidote to the drivel spouted by the parasites that inhabit the fringes of our society. Although I'm far younger than Fred and I don't know any America other than the one we live in right now, he does write very convincingly of a culture in decline and the actors who are bringing it down. "The Cultural Vandals Come to Roost," along with Thomas Sowell's classic "Barbarians Inside the Gates," is probably the perfect description of the state America finds itself in these days. Fred hands out plenty of other indictments, as well. He's certainly got some easy targets, ranging from feminists to race hucksters to grief therapists to welfare queens. Fred takes them all on, with the kind of colorful and straightforward writing you won't find in your local newspaper. Want to hear the truth about what we call democracy in this country, and why it doesn't work? Pick up this book. Voting, and why you shouldn't do it? It's right here. Why our schools and universities are such a mess? Fred knows, and he writes about it so clearly that you'll know too. Have you ever suspected that multiculturalism might be a bad idea?Read more ›
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