- Series: VIA Folios (Book 90)
- Paperback: 170 pages
- Publisher: Bordighera Press (June 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1599540584
- ISBN-13: 978-1599540580
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,381,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Waiting For Yesterday: Pages From a Street Kid's Life (VIA Folios)
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About the Author
Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is the author of over 23 books, including the memoir WAITING FOR YESTERDAY (Bordighera Press, 2013).
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Book Review by Alexander Vavoulis
When Michael Parenti writes about his life as a street kid, the reader is pleasantly surprised because he goes beyond the subtitle; you discover detailed descriptions of a public school in the New York Italian Harlem neighborhood where he lived,interesting facts about World War I and World War II, of stereotyping of ethnic groups, about demographic changes in a big city, and of a young man (the author) who is not submerged by his environment, and more.
Waiting for Yesterday, is an intriguing title to a very interesting book by a prolific writer. Interspersed among personal everyday encounters, are his gems of observations with depth and with historical references that enriches the prose. For example, how can you not appreciate his observation of his Italian grandmother and that of an African-American grandmother of a friend? The hidden similarities that bind us are of greater essence than the highly visible superficial differences that so command our attention and divide us. . .Too bad we cannot readily live with that awareness, finding reassurance in our similarities and enjoyment in our differences.
Waiting for Yesterday has a special message about education in a democratic society: In writing about being a student at an institution of higher education, he says: It is not open only to the offspring of affluent families. My accomplishments were not entirely mine. The "self-made man" is an iconic image in America. But I really cannot claim to be self-made. I was able to afford to attend the City College of New York (CCNY) because it was a tuition-free school. . .So I am
greatly indebted to progressive individuals of generations before, whose names I do not even know, who fought for the principle of free higher education, the idea that a worker's child can
can get a degree. . ."
The above two examples are just a small part of a book which provides beautiful prose as well as poignant analysis of city life in the way the author remembers it. In one sense "Yesterday" will
never come, but it comes because the author has done us a service in writing this important book.
It's impressive that this literary artist actualized his potential given the obstacles in
his environment (where a young man can be easily submerged). He has integrated his experience and knowledge toward a full life to become an very important American writer. I highly recommend this book.
February 12, 2015
Dr. Vavoulis is a Professor Emeritus at California State University, Fresno. He is an Honorary Board Member of The Sword of Zeus Project, President of the Fresno Free College Foundation for 20-years and founder of KFCF-FM, a listener-Sponsored radio station.
wonderful memoir which covers his early years. The format is a series of deeply affecting vignettes about street life, school, religion, family, Italian-American ethnic identity and above all, the people Parenti encountered. Along the way we obtain a clear sense of his early experience of class and culture among the working class poor of Italian East Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Parenti readily acknowledges that these formative experiences did not necessarily register at the forefront of his consciousness and only upon later reflection did they assume a deeper, political meaning. Surely there's an important lesson for us there. For me, one of the all too rare qualities in a memoir is when the reader is moved to muse about his or her own shaping experiences, including reinterpretations that offer a fresh perspective. I found myself engaged in such reflection long after finishing the book and feeling grateful for the prompts.
For all his considerable accomplishments, Parenti wisely observes that "like every other 'self-made' person, I could not have done it had there not been others before me who provided resources and channels that made it all possible." It's my sense that Parenti's unrelenting work on behalf of social justice has been informed, at least in part, by that insight and appreciation. Sharing this memoir is of a piece with that life. I feel limited by only being able to award it five stars and hope a sequel covering the next stage of his life is already underway.
raising. It is always good to get to know the people you admire better.