Monday, January 9, 2012

Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of LifeBig Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life by Tim Russert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book for a few reasons. One is that I have always admired Tim Russert as a journalist. He was a direct, uncompromising interviewer, and always spoke with intelligence and fairness on all the subjects he touched. And the second is that the book was recommended by my own father a few years ago. I'm glad I listened.

The book is part memoir, part biography. It is a tribute to Russert's father, known as Big Russ, and a man the younger Russert truly admired and looked up to his whole life. Big Russ was an Army veteran who served in WWII where he was seriously injured. He came home and settled in Buffalo, NY, where he worked as a sanitation worked by day and drove a newspaper delivery truck at night to support his wife and four children. He believed in hard work, discipline, faith and family values, and passed those on to his children.

Tim Russert had a fairly typical life as he grew up in a largely Irish Catholic neighborhood. He went to Catholic schools throughout his education. He worked to earn money for college. Through it all, he looked up to his father for the example the elder Russert showed, and for wisdom and advice that Tim relied on during his whole life.

There are a lot of anecdotes and memories, both from Big Russ' life, and Tim's own. The book is written in a companionable, easy to read style and only falls into what some might consider preaching on a few occasions. Mostly, it is a loving, down to earth, and honest account of growing up in middle class America in the 1950's and 1960's, and a tribute to a truly special relationship between father and son, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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