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A Song in the Night: A Memoir of Resilienceby Bob Massie
Synopses & Reviews
In this inspiring memoir of faith and perseverance, Bob Massie recounts how a childhood illness laid the foundation for a life filled with compassion and activism.
Bob Massie was born with classical hemophilia, a painful disorder that caused repeated bleeding in his joints and slowly robbed him of the ability to walk. Though bound to leg braces and wheelchairs as a child, his curiosity and enthusiasm pulled him relentlessly outward toward knowledge and people. Gradually he fought back and eventually succeeded not only in walking again but in traveling widely through a life of passion and commitment. He graduated in history from Princeton, where he organized the opening up of the university's exclusive club system, and later was ordained as an Episcopal minister. After several years teaching children and working with the homeless in New York City, he moved to the challenging halls of Harvard Business School, where he earned a doctorate while tending to a devoted but struggling congregation in the working-class city of Somerville, Massachusetts.
Though the medical dangers increased—he had acquired the HIV and hepatitis through transfusions for hemophilia—he continued to press for justice. He wrote a prizewinning book on South African apartheid, led one of America's most innovative environmental groups, ran for lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, and created the world's leading standard for corporate sustainability. Then, in 2002, the same year Massie was named one of the 100 most influential people in the field of finance by CFO magazine, he received more devastating health news. The hepatitis was causing his liver to fail, and Massie was brought close to death in 2009.
After surviving these remarkable challenges, Bob Massie is now ready to share his story. Though his journey has not been easy, he writes about it with tremendous grace and candor. In an era rife with disillusionment, A Song in the Night will inspire everyone who reads it.
"A good friend and a visionary leader, Bob Massie has combined foresight, passion, and skill to create lasting change in the US and around the world. In A Song in the Night, Bob shares deeply personal stories that help describe how he overcame great challenges to forge such strong commitments for his work and family. Bob has lived an incredible life, and we are so fortunate that he has shared it with us in this wonderful new book." —Al Gore
"I admire and deeply respect Bob Massie’s courage, his compassion, and his eloquence. He is a good man. His life's work has focused on social justice, public service, and faith, and I know he will continue to work tirelessly to make this a more just world." —Elizabeth Warren
"A constricting illness sparks an outgoing life in this exuberant memoir. Massie (Loosing the Bonds), an Episcopal priest and environmental activist, suffered from hemophilia that kept him in a wheelchair — its worst effect is crippling joint swelling — in childhood. Sensitized by suffering and forced to live largely in his imagination — his scenes from a daydreaming youth are evocative and touching — he envisioned a vigorous, morally engaged future for himself. That hope came true in spades; even his disability yielded public benefit when, after contracting the HIV virus from tainted blood products, he turned out to be immune to AIDS and became an important subject of medical research. Massie's eclectic, overachieving career sparks a wealth of cross-cutting insights — most trenchantly when he is simultaneously attending the Harvard Business School and ministering to a blue-collar parish whose flock is on the receiving end of the brutal corporate efficiencies taught in his classes. The narrative sometimes wallows in uplift as the author communes with everyone from Ted Kennedy to Nelson Mandela, and his account of using green investing to nudge and audit companies toward sustainability lacks heft. Still, Massie's success at shrugging off his fetters makes for a moving saga of faith and perseverance. Agent: Melanie Jackson." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The story of an amazing life, one full of tremendous obstacles met head on with courage and compassion.
Bob Massie was born with hemophilia, a fact that inspired much of his father's writing, including Nicholas and Alexandra, his famous biography of the last of the Romanovs. Massie contracted HIV during a blood transfusion to treat his hemophilia but never developed AIDS, and so he decided to offer himself to Massachusetts General Hospital for medical study. The results of those studies literally ushered in a new era of HIV research. That's only one example of Bob's remarkable ability to look beyond his own suffering and focus on how he can help others.
About the Author
BOB MASSIE is an American environmental leader, author, Episcopal priest, and former anti-apartheid activist. His book Loosing the Bonds: America and South Africa in the Apartheid Years won the Lionel Gelber Prize for the Best Book on International Relations in 1997. He lives in Massachusetts.
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