By John Darnton
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and best-selling writer: a superbly crafted memoir of his lifelong chase after his father’s shadow.
John was once 11 months previous while his father, Barney Darnton—a conflict correspondent for The ny Times—was killed in global battle II, yet his absence left a extra profound imprint at the kinfolk than any dwelling father may have. John’s mom, a widely known Times reporter and editor, attempted to maintain alive the dream of elevating her sons in perfect atmosphere. while that proved very unlikely, she collapsed emotionally and bodily. yet alongside the way in which she created any such strong delusion of the father-hero who gave his existence for his kinfolk, kingdom, and the fourth property that John his footsteps into an analogous newsroom.
Decades after his father’s demise, John and his brother, the historian Robert Darnton, begun digging into the prior to discover the reality approximately their mom and dad. to find who the real-life Barney Darnton was—and partly who he himself is—John delves into turn-of-the-century farm lifestyles in Michigan, the anything-goes Jazz Age in Greenwich Village, the lives of hard-drinking conflict correspondents within the Pacific theater, and the anxious loneliness of the McCarthy years in Washington, D.C. He ends his quest on a seashore in Papua New Guinea, the place he learns approximately his father’s final moments from an elderly villager who by no means forgot what he observed sixty-five years prior.
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He was heading all the way to Anchorage—120 miles away. Now, so was I. ” he asked. “No,” I said. ” “It’s like boot camp for cleanup workers,” he said. The day before, he’d completed that final step in the hiring process and was now on his way home to Anchorage to await a call-up for duty. When he learned I had no interest in the work, he responded the same way the Fairbanks guys and Jack and Ali had: he was flabbergasted. “It’ll be cool,” he said. ” He wanted to turn around and take me back to Valdez.
So I marched straight from the bookstore back to the job placement center. 22 Dishwasher “I need a job,” I told the lady behind the counter. ” she asked. “Doesn’t matter,” I said. ” “Then you should go to Jack in the Box,” she said. ” I caught the bus to Jack in the Box, filled out the application and was told to start the next day. Less than 24 hours after I got the axe from the bookstore, I stood wearing a paper hat and a polyester knit shirt sizing up the vats of hot grease. As fry cook, I was responsible for deep-frying French fries, fruit pies and tacos—scutwork that any simpleton could do.
Crap, I thought, I don’t want to do this. In the rear—out of sight of both customers and my coworkers—I found a sink full of dirty spatulas, trays, food storage containers, French fry racks and the like. I wanted to slip out the back door and split. But then what? Slink back to the job placement office to ask them, now that I’d blown a second job, could I please have a third? As I stood at the sinks, a cook sidled up to me. He looked over his shoulder, then slipped me a burger. “That’s a raw deal you got,” he said.
Almost a Family: A Memoir by John Darnton