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A Song in the Night: A Memoir of Resilience Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 15, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385535759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385535755
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The cynics among us will be rankled at the description of a book as 'inspiring,' but Massie is the genuine article. Although not yet an old man, he has already led an unbelievably full life that defies summary in a brief review. Without a trace of self-aggrandizement, Massie evocatively depicts the crucible in which his character was tempered, and how his expansive love for humanity is due largely to the heroic love shown to him by his parents (both noteworthy Wikipedia page holders themselves) when he needed it most."
The Daily Beast

"An intrepid autobiographical journey … Mr. Massie does inspire."
The Wall Street Journal

"An exuberant memoir...Massie's eclectic career sparks a wealth of cross-cutting insights...[his] success at shrugging off his fetters makes for a moving saga of faith and perseverance."
Publishers Weekly

"Born with hemophilia, Massie’s childhood combined bouts of intense pain and disappointment with unabashed joy and lavish family affection. In this moving memoir, the author recounts how this doubled-edged environment laid the foundation for a life filled with compassion and activism....A testament to the strength and goodness within the human spirit."
Kirkus Reviews

"This is an inspiring story of one man’s struggle with illness and a sharp analysis of moral, social, and economic issues."

"A good friend and a visionary leader, Bob Massie has combined foresight, passion, and skill to create lasting change in the US and around the world. In A Song in the Night, Bob shares deeply personal stories that help describe how he overcame great challenges to forge such strong commitments for his work and family. Bob has lived an incredible life, and we are so fortunate that he has shared it with us in this wonderful new book."
—Al Gore

"I admire and deeply respect Bob Massie’s courage, his compassion, and his eloquence. He is a good man. His life's work has focused on social justice, public service, and faith, and I know he will continue to work tirelessly to make this a more just world."
—Elizabeth Warren

"A Song in the Night is a moving and memorable story of courage, conviction, and personal relationships that touched me deeply. Bob Massie is quietly and eloquently heroic in a way I won't soon forget."
—Tom Brokaw

"Bob Massie is one of the country's great heroes. Despite--or really because of--the adversity he's faced, he's tried at every turn to change the world for the better. And he's succeeded with gratifying frequency!  Eloquent writing about a remarkable life!"
—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"A memoir can hold the reader’s interest only when its writer has been involved in 'the action and passion of his times.' Bob Massie has. He has swum in the tricky currents of politics, a novice boldly running for public office. He has served local churches as a minister in a metropolis and in a small city. He has led a pioneering environmental protection group. And he has successfully fought back against three life threatening diseases. What’s more he writes about it all engagingly, drawing the reader into a tumultuous life that he has lived with genuine inner serenity and self-deprecating humor."
—Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith

"Courageously, patiently and sometimes with a crowbar Bob Massie emerged from the exclusion and suffering of a rare lifelong bleeding disorder to become the rarest of leaders a Lawrence of Hemophilia, an Ivy League Gandhi, a Moses of Sustainability, a Clark Kent/Superman mediating between opposing forces battling for the fate of lovely Planet Earth. Massie’s deeply felt and admirably distilled song, which is the story of all human beings breaking out of the cocoon of self into global compassion, will inspire you to live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively."
—David Michaelis, author of Schulz and Peanuts

About the Author

BOB MASSIE is an American environmental leader, author, Episcopal priest, and former anti-apartheid activist. His book Loosing the Bonds: America and South Africa in the Apartheid Years won the Lionel Gelber Prize for the Best Book on International Relations in 1997. He lives in Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By thebrat on August 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you read Bob Massie's parent's autobiography, "Journey", then you know how this story begins. This book, written by Bob Massie, is a wonderful autobiography detailing how Mr. Massie learned to cope with having hemophilia, learned that the blood products he was given were contaminated by a virus which destroyed his liver, and came out the other end of what could have become a nightmare but, instead, is a continuing tale of one man's resilience and reliance on God.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Art O'Conicle on July 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book because I knew Bob's life was the inspiration for Nicholas and Alexandra, by my favorite author (his father), but this book is outstanding in its own right. Massie had a fascinating and remarkable early life, and his dedication to justice led him into many difficult and interesting situations in his later life. He survived some difficult emotional, political and physical situations to show what can be accomplished by someone with a desire to persevere. I loved this book. It reads like a novel. His voice makes me hope that he will write other books. the ending is a stunner, and it gives the reader a sense that justice will prevail for truly good people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Stensrude on September 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A Song in the Night is about many things, but the one thing that weaves its way through all the changes in geography, career, and health is Bob Massie's passion for social justice. Massie was born with classic hemophilia. It was 1956, and hemophilia was a disease that was incurable, barely manageable, and the foreteller of an early death. During the years of intermittent and frequent hospitalizations, the little boy with "the dream of the crippled Superman" had time to both ponder his plight and the opportunity to notice that there were others far more needy than he.

This theme of Massie's "pursuit of lasting justice" so dominated the narrative that it sometimes took on the feeling of a trumpet for a cause. At any moment I expected to see solicitation for donations. But it never happened. What did happen, though, was that I got an education about how a democracy starts from scratch, how bottom-line corporations are convinced to adopt environmentally friendly policies, and how an outward-lived life gives a very sick human being enough strength to tackle multiple careers and become an international participant in projects for a better world.

A Song in the Night is sometimes memoir, sometimes morality tale, sometimes sermon, and often awkward. His writing is more than adequate, yet there are some shaggy edges in his narrative. I occasionally got lost when he moved from one point in time to another with only a bit of extra space as warning. These transitions badly needed a meanwhile-back-at-the-ranch bridge. Too, I sometimes grew weary of his pontificating. But in the end, I was grateful for his sermons and pleas for a better society, as he told me, "It matters what we choose to believe in.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read Journey many years ago and had high hopes for the rest of Bob Massie's story, but found Massie's telling of his experiences all me, me, me, I, I, I. After a while, I got tired of Massie's perpetual holier-than-everyone attitude. And while glad that he seems to be immune to HIV, I was appalled at his apparent selfish disregard of the risk he exposed his wives (and children) to in his desire to have his biological children. Doubtless he made an important contribution to the anti-apartheid and environmental movements but wish he had told the tale with a little more humility ad a lot less ego.
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