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Between Panic and Desire (American Lives) Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Combining the art of being funny, tragic, and victorious with convincing honesty...Read more