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A Song in the Night: A Memoir of Resilience Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 15, 2012
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"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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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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."
It seems so right that someone who beat all the odds just to exist would sell us on the idea that the odds of achieving a just society are simply not that enormous--dream, work, succeed and fail, then dream some more, succeed some more, fail some more, as we move forward.
There is so much about this book to criticize. Why do I give it 5 Stars? Because as I read the last word and close the book, I am 5 Stars into awe. It is, after all--just as Massie's life--worth the struggle to get to that last page. His story is a reminder that life is a miraculous mystery--not magical, but filled with unknowns.