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Up from the Projects: An Autobiography (Hoover Inst Press Publication)by Walter E. Williams
Synopses & Reviews
In this very frank and compelling autobiography, Walter E. Williams sets the record straight on his very public life, and in the process discusses some of the past in general— contrasting growing up black and poor in the 1940s and 1950s to the same today. As Williams says early on in his story, “just because you know where a person ended up in life doesn’t necessarily provide you with any certainties as to where he might have begun.” In Up From the Projects, he recounts many achievements that would have been unfathomable by his ancestors, underscoring his belief that, unlike so many other societies around the world, in America one needn’t start out at, or anywhere near, the top in order to eventually reach it.
Williams describes his humble beginnings growing up in a lower middle class, mixed neighborhood in West Philadelphia in the 1940s, raised by a strong and demanding mother who held high academic aspirations for her children. He recalls the teachers in middle school and later in high school who influenced him the most—teachers who always gave him an honest assessment of his learning and accepted no excuses. In describing his army experience, Williams recounts incidents of racial discrimination but stresses that his time in the army was a valuable part of his maturation process. He tells of his time “getting established” in Los Angeles—struggling happily through the first years of his marriage, getting his B.A. at Cal State LA and then his graduate degree at UCLA. As he describes his academic career, moving from teaching one class a week at Los Angeles City College to his eventual department chair at George Mason University, we find him overcoming one obstacle after another, accepting help when it is offered but never asking for special treatment, and ultimately illustrating that in America everything is indeed possible.
He leaves the reader with a key bit of advice, passed on by his stepfather and reflected throughout his own life: a lot of life is luck and chance and you never know when the opportunity train is going to come along. Be packed and ready to hop on board.
Book News Annotation:
Williams, a professor of economics shares the story of his life, from a lower-middle class upbringing in Philadelphia through his storied tenure at George Mason University. He recounts his time in the army stationed in Korea as well as his academic pursuits. Of particular note are the struggles Williams faced as an African American in the army. The text includes many intimate family photographs. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In Quotidiana Patrick Madden illuminates common actions and seemingly commonplace moments, making connections that revise and reconfigure the overlooked and underappreciated. Madden muses on the origins of human language, the curative properties of laughter, and the joys and woes of fatherhood. Sparked by considerations of selling garlic, washing grapes, changing a diaper, or chipping a tooth, his essays are an antidote to the harried hullabaloo of talk-show and tabloid cultureand#8212;and a reminder that we are surrounded by wonders that whisper to the curious and attentive.
Ingenuous and erudite, and with a beguiling wit, Madden examines the intricate tapestry of ordinary life in its extraordinary patterns. His book is a poetic and engaging exploration of the unexpectedly wide scope of our everyday existence.
Bullet-shattered glass clatters onto his baby bed; he wakes and cries out into darkness. Does he remember this? Or remember being told? Regardless, he feels it, and will feel it again, bomb bay wind buffeting his eighteen-year-old body a mile above an old volcanos jagged debris, and yet again, staring at photos of Korean orphans, huddled homeless in a blizzard after a bombing in which, at twenty-five, hed refused an order to join. It is through such prisms of the past that Ralph Salisburys life unfolds, a life that, eighty years in the making, is also the life of the twentieth century. Winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize, So Far, So Good is a sometimes strange, sometimes lyrical, and often humorous attempt by an inveterate storyteller to recount “just things as they were.”
The survivor of a lightning strike, car and plane mishaps, explosions, bullets, a heart attack, cancer, and other human afflictions, Salisbury wonders: “Why should anyone read this?” The book itself resoundingly answers this question not merely with its sheer eventfulness but also in the prodigious telling. Salisbury takes us from abject poverty in rural Iowa during the Great Depression, with a half Cherokee father and an Irish American mother, through war and peace and protest to the freedom and solace of university life; and it is in the end (so far) so good.
About the Author
Walter E. Williams is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist. He is the author of several books and more than sixty articles that have appeared in such scholarly journals such as Economic Inquiry, American Economic Review, and Social Science Quarterly and popular publications such as Reader's Digest, Regulation, Policy Review, and Newsweek.
Table of Contents
ONE Starting Out
TWO Rudderless and Drifting
THREE In the Army Now
FOUR Heading West for Opportunity
FIVE Heading East for Opportunity
SIX Teaching and Preaching
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