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Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons Hardcover – May 23, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Surprised by the overwhelming and heartfelt reception to Big Russ and Me(2004), Russert follows that memoir of his relationship with his father with a collection of letters he received recounting relationships between fathers and their sons and daughters. Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press, received 60,000 letters and e-mails from readers with their own touching memories of filial love. Interspersed throughout, Russert recollects moments as a son and as a father, as well as conversations with famous figures, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and news reporter Maria Shriver, about their fathers. But the contributors are decidedly ordinary Americans, many with recollections that highlight generational differences of a time when fathers were less than demonstrative. Many recall taciturn fathers who couldn't bring themselves to tell their children they loved them but showed it in myriad ways. Many write of lessons learned about honor from fathers. A man recalls going to a New York Giants game with his father, who passed up an opportunity to sell extra tickets to scalpers and instead sold them--at cost--to another father with his son. Women recall how ties to their father set the tone for later relationships with men. One contributor recalls her father's tolerance as she and her sisters practiced applying makeup on him, going so far as to paint his toenails. Once again, Russert celebrates the relationship between fathers and their children in this heartwarming book. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Tim Russert is the moderator and managing editor of Meet the Press, and the Washington bureau chief of NBC News. He is married to Maureen Orth, and they have one son, Luke.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (May 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400064805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400064809
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book is 297 pages & is divided into 21 chapters. The most crucial ones for me were "Honor, Being There, Forgiveness, Missing Dads, The Protector, Discipline, & 75 Reasons."

What was so refreshing about this book was the theme of basic normalcy & decency that most people seem to have. This book should appeal to most people, but it is not only or truly a book about a "father-son relationship." It came across more as a memoir of intimate vignettes, some of which are negative. One of a son whose father missed out being a a dad because of his drug addiction which eventually killed him.

Two of the more positive stories were when a father comforted his son after he told his dad that he was gay, & Kerry a girl who grew up with a stutter, whose dad held her hand & told her "it's ok". There are many life lessons in these stories that are very applicable to people regardless of their own individual backgrounds, beliefs, & experiences. All in all a very inspirational & intimate read.
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Format: Hardcover
Regardless of what one thinks of Tim Russert (I happen to think he is a quality journalist and very simply, a good man), WISDOM OF OUR FATHERS is an incredibly touching, diverse, and fulfilling book. Russert's previous effort, BIG RUSS AND ME, was superb also.

Russert fields and publishes the letters he received as a result of those reading BIG RUSS. These letters are personal, intimate portraits of readers' relationships with their fathers. Whether it was what your father told you, the lessons learned, a touching moment, or just the great times, the outpouring of emotion and storytelling from readers of BIG RUSS is moving.

Russert has indicated in many of his interviews that readers saw BIG RUSS as an invitation to tell the story of their dad, and the avalanche of those telling those stories was daunting. This abundance of interest was what pushed Russert to publish the letters in an effort to share these moving, sad, and funny stories.

This book is not just for fathers, it is for all to read and enjoy. There are a number of lessons applicable to all in all walks of life. I am not going to share any of the stories in this review because I cannot do the letters justice. I would strongly suggest this book as a gift for most anyone, but more than that, I would suggest that everyone get a copy of this book and read it. I rarely recommend a book this strongly, but I certainly do recommend this one.
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Format: Hardcover
This book by "The Grand Inquisitor" of Meet the Press, is largely what you would expect - a variety of touching vignettes from sons and daughters throughout America written about both big and little moments with their fathers that became big life lessons for them. Most of them are largely positive - a father telling his daughter that he would marry her if he could to help her get over a break-up with her boyfriend, the touching response of another father to his son telling him that he was gay, one son even using memories of learning to shave with his dad as a child to get over the post-traumatic stress of being a crime victim - specifically the scars from the attack that he saw on his face each morning as he was shaving. However, don't let that make you shy away from this book even if your father was not a great person. There are other letters where the writer has had a terrible role model, such as one man whose father was largely absent from his life due to his chronic drug addiction who ultimately died in a hotel room of an overdose when the man was still a child. The lesson that this son got from his father - "My father missed out on getting to know a terrific son". Thus, there really is something in this book for everyone no matter what your relationship with your father is or was. I highly recommend it, especially if you liked Russert's book about his relationship with his own father - "Big Russ and Me", since it was the publishing of that book that caused all of the people with stories in this book to write to Russert describing their own experiences with their fathers.
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Format: Hardcover
Tim Russert, the best in the biz when it comes to political interviewing, has shown his softer side again with this book. The book will draw out all emotions from the reader. Happiness, sadness, nostalgia, and much more are just some of the things you'll experience when you read this one.

Russert stays out of the way for most of the book, but his introduction is brilliant. Tim loves his dad and his son. It's evident from this book.

I guarantee, you'll find your dad in this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I've often thought that Fathers don't get enough respect in the media. I bought this book to read in honor of my father who died in 1993 at the age of 90, and whom I will forever miss. Wisdom of our fathers is a compilation of memories submitted to Russert by readers of his memoir about his father, "Big Russ and Me". Each chapter celebrates a different kind of dad.
Like the woman in the "Daddy's Girl" chapter who still has coffee with her deceased father, I often visit with mine, re-reading the notes and letters he wrote to me when I was away from him. I have just finished the book, and the memories recorded in it have caused me to tear up several times, so many of them evoke memories of Papa. Our beloved Italian father, who was the father of daughters, wrote us notes. One that we found after he passed said, "My Babies, I will love you forever after." We know he does.
This book is about fathers rich and poor, educated and uneducated of every ethnicity who have left indelible imprints on the hearts of their children. Many remind us to express our love much and often. One of the fathers tells his daughter a story about the immigrant father who gave his graduating son a ring inscribed "FUF". When the son asked what the letters meant (they were not the son's initials), the father replied, "From-a-you fadder."
The selflessness of many of the fathers, their hard work, sense of humor, sacrifices and love will bring tears of recognition to many an eye. The fathers who were characters will make you smile. Even the absent fathers left a mark.
This book makes a great companion on my bookshelf to Michelle Slung's two "Momilies" books, which I re-read right around Mothers' Day each year. Everyone should read this book.
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