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This title in other editions

A Hole in the World: An American Boyhood

by

A Hole in the World: An American Boyhood Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When he first published A Hole in the World in 1990, Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Rhodes helped launch and legitimate a decade-long publishing phenomenon—the memoir of abused childhood. In this tenth anniversary edition, Rhodes offers new reflections on the abuse he and his older brother endured at the hands of their terrorizing stepmother and negligent father. He also describes readers' powerful and moving responses to his book, considers his changing sentiments as the years have passed, and provides additional details on his brother Stanley, who remains the author's true hero in this moving memoir.

"Unlike too much of what is offered for public edification (and titillation) in this our age of confession, A Hole in the World comes straight from the heart with no apparent self-serving motives. Richard Rhodes is here to tell us three things, all of them important and useful. The first is that it is dangerous and self-deluding to sentimentalize a myth of idyllic American childhood. The second is that a child caught in a hell not of his own making must devise strategies for survival and must cry out for help; there are others, outsiders, ready to provide it. The third-and to those caught in their own torment the most important-is that it is possible to escape, to rise above hurt and rage, to live a life that is useful and good. A timely contribution to the literature of a problem we are only beginning to understand."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post.

"The deepest significance of Rhodes's prose is its spring-fed clarity. He writes: 'My unconscious early prose-it was largely unconscious in those days because I thought the only way I could write was to get drunk first-screens a predicament I struggled desperately to steady at [school] and continue to work forty years later to resolve: how to calm and to rescue the lurching monster of overwhelming, intractable, involuntary rage that my mother's suicide, my father's neglect and my stepmother's violence installed in me.' To judge from the simplicity with which he has woven his memories into narrative, and from it constructed his identity, the monster of rage has been laid to rest."—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times.

"A Hole in the World must be read through tears—the reader's and the writer's—and it must be acknowledged as powerful a bearing of witness, as dark a story of cruelty, as redemptive a proclamation of the soul's strength as we have been given in a very long time. Nothing by the prolific and talented Rhodes prepares us for this shattering testimony."—Frederick Busch, Los Angeles Times.

Review:

"This memoir, subtitled with almost horrific irony 'An American Boyhood,' is an autobiographical catalogue of child abuse. It contains a tale of tortured adolescence filled with echoes of Dickens and images consciously borrowed from the Holocaust. The author relates first how his mother's suicide when he was not yet two became the defining event of his life. Not only was he left half-orphaned by this most pointed gesture of abandonment, but his mother's place—that 'hole in the world'—was filled by a woman whose cruelty was Hitlerian in scope. By turns she threatened, cudgeled, flogged, and thrashed her two stepsons,
occasionally spiking their heads with her stiletto heel, working out her sadistic rage to no apparent end. Along the way the boys were also starved, perhaps to their final advantage, as their emaciated state went furthest in convincing police (to whom the fleeing older brother appealed) to entrust them to the juvenile court. Their escape and survival is a tribute to tenacity; this book, an unsettling chronicle of domestic madness. The reader is left finally wondering how many other children, equally victimized, fail to survive." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)

Book News Annotation:

An award-winning author recounts the abuse he and his brother endured at the hands of their terrorizing stepmother and negligent father, and tells of the courageous role his brother played in delivering them to the care of others who would protect and support them. Includes b&w personal photos. This tenth anniversary edition includes a new epilogue. Lacks a subject index. First published by Simon and Schuster in 1990. Rhodes received the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

When he first published A Hole in the World in 1990, Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Rhodes helped launch and legitimate a decade-long publishing phenomenon—the memoir of abused childhood. In this tenth anniversary edition, Rhodes offers new reflections on the abuse he and his older brother endured at the hands of their terrorizing stepmother and negligent father. He also describes readers' powerful and moving responses to his book, considers his changing sentiments as the years have passed, and provides additional details on his brother Stanley, who remains the author's true hero in this moving memoir.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780700610389
Preface:
Rhodes, Richard
Epilogue:
Rhodes, Richard
Author:
Rhodes, Richard
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Location:
Lawrence :
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Child abuse
Subject:
Regional Subjects - Midwest
Subject:
Childhood Memoir
Subject:
Kansas City (Mo.)
Subject:
Kansas city
Subject:
Rhodes, Richard - Childhood and youth
Subject:
Biography-Childhood Memoir
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Number:
10
Edition Description:
10th anniversary ed. /
Series Volume:
no. 30
Publication Date:
20000431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
7.94x5.88x.71 in. .93 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Abuse » Personal Stories
History and Social Science » Americana » General

A Hole in the World: An American Boyhood Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages University Press of Kansas - English 9780700610389 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , When he first published A Hole in the World in 1990, Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Rhodes helped launch and legitimate a decade-long publishing phenomenon—the memoir of abused childhood. In this tenth anniversary edition, Rhodes offers new reflections on the abuse he and his older brother endured at the hands of their terrorizing stepmother and negligent father. He also describes readers' powerful and moving responses to his book, considers his changing sentiments as the years have passed, and provides additional details on his brother Stanley, who remains the author's true hero in this moving memoir.
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