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Big Russ and Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life

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Overview

Tim Russert is perhaps the most admired man in television news. As NBC-TV's Washington bureau chief, producer; moderator of Meet the Press, the longest-running TV news program of all time; and host of the Tim Russert Show; he has garnered a huge fan base with his quick wit and candor. And every Tim Russert fan knows that Tim's #1 hero, hands down, is his dad -- Big Russ.

Big Russ and Me is an intensely personal, charming, down-to-earth look at Russert's roots, growing up a ...

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Overview

Tim Russert is perhaps the most admired man in television news. As NBC-TV's Washington bureau chief, producer; moderator of Meet the Press, the longest-running TV news program of all time; and host of the Tim Russert Show; he has garnered a huge fan base with his quick wit and candor. And every Tim Russert fan knows that Tim's #1 hero, hands down, is his dad -- Big Russ.

Big Russ and Me is an intensely personal, charming, down-to-earth look at Russert's roots, growing up a hometown guy in 1950s working-class Buffalo, the son of a larger-than-life man and proud WWII veteran. From the indelible bond that links him to his father, to the lessons learned from his old-fashioned Catholic upbringing, from his passion for the Buffalo Bills and the New York Yankees, to the importance of hard work, the grace of daily obligations, and patriotism, Russert's reflections hit the very epicenter of American values.

Rich with personal anecdotes and Russert's easygoing style and straight-talking charm, Big Russ and Me will be embraced by his myriad fans -- and will delight dads across the country on Father's Day and for years to come.

Hear our exclusive audio interview with Tim Russert. (8:23)

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Meet the Press host Tim Russert serves up tough questions to the likes of Ted Kennedy and Dick Cheney, but for his mom, his dad, and his Jesuit teachers back at Canisius High, he has only the kindest words. Every confirmed Russert fan will enjoy this collection of gentle nostalgic pieces about his boyhood in blue-collar South Buffalo.
Publishers Weekly
Meet the newsman's father in this stupendously entertaining book. The senior Tim Russert served in WWII, married and settled in South Buffalo, N.Y., worked days for the Sanitation Department, drove a night truck for the local evening paper and raised four kids. The younger Russert's memoir begins as a tribute to his dad and the lessons he taught through the years, but also takes ample time to tell how Russert junior grew up and became the moderator of Meet the Press. His neighborhood in the 1950s was tightly knit, Irish Catholic and anchored by the institutions of marriage, family, church and school. Nuns and Legionnaires shaped young Russert's character; in high school, his Jesuit instructors strengthened and solidified it. John Kennedy's short life and career still resonated when Russert began law school in 1970. He worked on Daniel Patrick Moynihan's 1976 campaign, then on the senator's staff. A friend of Moynihan provided the link that brought Russert to NBC and the Today show. He first appeared as a panelist on Meet the Press in 1990, becoming moderator in 1991. Throughout his private and public life, Russert continually turned to his father for advice, and the older man's common sense served the younger pretty much without fail. The memoir is candid and generous, so warm-hearted that readers should forgive the occasional didactic touch (and it's a soft touch). There are hard ways to learn life lessons; fortunately, readers have Russert to thank for sharing his with them. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Bob Barnett. (May 10) Forecast: Ads in the national press as well as the Buffalo News, along with TV satellite and radio drive time tours, and a 17-city author tour, should help Russert's memoir to take off. Readers of Tom Brokaw's books will enjoy it, as will dads of all ages. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Journalist Russert gives a warm tribute to his father, a Buffalo garbage man, World War II veteran, and one-man greatest generation, whose simple lessons of hard work, humility, and consideration for others guided his son through his Catholic school upbringing, his political education at the feet of Sen. Daniel Moynihan, and success as the host of TV's Meet the Press. Russert's good-natured, anecdotal style bobs amiably along at the surface of events, excitedly relating various brushes with greatness and enthusing over fried chicken, football, and faith. Although one suspects that the author might have provided a more textured reading of his own life story, David Guion's sincere tone and earnest, plain-spoken delivery serve the material well. Nothing crucial is lost in the abridgment; either version should prove popular in all libraries as an upbeat choice for multigenerational listening.-David Wright, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The gimlet-eyed interlocutor of Meet the Press is a pussycat when it comes to matters of family and faith. Russert, the kid from blue-collar South Buffalo who now grills the prominent and powerful, writes in a style as unadorned as the snow in the land of the Bills. Uncle Fran was a police detective and a great ballplayer. Big Russ, Tim's father, supported his family by driving a newspaper truck and collecting garbage; he instructed young Tim (Little Russ) in decent behavior and how to wrap trash considerately. Little Russ served as an altar boy, tended his paper route, and took a summer job on a garbage truck-he still seems to recognize garbage when he smells it, even if it's wrapped in the finest political fustian. The author fondly recalls hours with Dad at the Legion Hall, the nuns in grammar school, and his Jesuit teachers at Canisius High. In college, Tim booked speakers and entertainers for the University Club. A fan of both John F. and Robert Kennedy, he went to law school, then worked for Pat Moynihan, his intellectual father, and for Mario Cuomo. At NBC, he booked the Pope, no less, for Today before moving up to oversee the Washington news bureau and the Sunday morning talk shows. Russert offers little about the news business or his work on Meet the Press, eschewing the talking-head mode to speak from the heart in a particularly American way. (Check out the chapter titles: "Respect," "Work," "Faith," "Baseball," and "Cars," etc.) This memory piece is primarily a devoted tribute to Dad, and if Big Russ doesn't seem much different than anyone else's father, that's fine. As portrayed by his son, he's the best national Pop since Robert Young in Father Knows Best. And Little Russseems to be a pretty nice Dad himself. A largely self-effacing souvenir and a fulsome, sincere Father's Day greeting. (16 pp. photos, not seen)Author tour. Agent: Bob Barnett
From the Publisher
"What Tom Brokaw did for South Dakota, Russert will do for Buffalo. There's only one Tim Russert, and he's got a lot of clout. [This is] the Angela's Ashes of Buffalo."—The New York Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401384968
  • Publisher: Miramax Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

TIM RUSSERT is NBC-TV's senior vice-president and Washington Bureau Chief, the producer and moderator of Meet the Press, contributing political analyst for The Today Show, and host of his own weekly news program on MSNBC. He holds the Walter Cronkite Award for journalism and the American Legion Journalism Award. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, writer Maureen Orth, and their son, Like, and was named "Dream Dad of the Year" by Parents magazine.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    back in time with the russerts

    excellent warm read; took me back to the way it used to be; gifted all my children with this book

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    I thought the title was appropriate and a clever hint about their lives together.

    This book brought back many memories of my childhood and my relationship with my Daddy, who is now deceased. Tim wrote vivid descriptions of Buffalo, which brought back pleasant memories of my childhood in a small town in Arkansas.<BR/><BR/>It's especially more meaningful to be able to hear Tim's voice again since his untimely death only leaves us with tapes of him and our memories of him.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    A must read/listen to...heart warming

    A touching insight into the Love of a Family, sweet and touching.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Old School

    Old fashioned values that are timely today. Was going to buy the book when Tim was alive, wanted to read it even more after he passed away. I really admired him and love "Big Russ". Well worth the time and fun reading about all the folks he met in his very public line of work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2008

    A Must Read!

    This book is an outstanding portrait of humanity, a story of life and growing up in a capsule of time that should stand as a model for integrity, character, respect and dignity. Both Tim Russerts are men to be emulated with respect to their character qualities. To have shared friendship in life with either of these was surely a blessing and as I read this book, I found myself wanting desperately to know these lovely people. Thank you, Tim Russert! Tim says 'You gotta eat.' I say, 'You gotta read this book!'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2006

    Ode to Me

    Yes this is a well written book. And yes, I am a Tim Russert fan. But after reading halfway through this piece of puffery, my fan-ship is much diminished. There is little of substance here ... and certainly nothing that could not have fit into a two-page essay. Between the rose-colored glasses (were the Russerts ALWAYS perfect? Did that little scamp Tim do NOTHING worse than write on a Nun's whimple?), the repetition, and the overwhelming ego (even if it is a family-oriented ego), I tossed this across the room at around page 150. My advice: Get your Russert fix from 'Meet the Press ' do not waste your money on the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2004

    A TOUCHING TRIBUTE TO A FATHER

    Tim Russert reads this touching tribute to his father with humor, understanding and love. 'The older I get,' Russert says, 'the smarter my father seems to get. Hardly a day goes by when I don't remember something that Big Russ taught me.' With those words and more Russert recalls a childhood in South Buffalo, New York, a predominantly Irish Catholic neighborhood where families shared with and cared about one another. A veteran of World War II the elder Russert fathered four children and provided for them by his day job with the Sanitation Department and a night job with the local newspaper. Along the way he instilled in his offspring his basic beliefs in duty, responsibility, patriotism, and courage. Most of us know Tim Russert as a celebrated television newsman and moderator of Meet The Press. Now, we meet him as a devoted and appreciative son. Listen and be reminded of what really matters in life. Many sons might want to say to their fathers much of what Russert is saying to his but cannot find the words. Suggestion: give your father this CD and he'll understand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

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