Growing Up

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Russell Baker is the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner for Distinguished Commentary and a columnist for The New York Times. This book traces his youth in the mountains of rural Virginia.

When Baker was only five, his father died. His mother, strong-willed and matriarchal, never looked back. After all, she had three children to raise.

These were depression years, and Mrs. Baker moved her fledgling family to Baltimore. Baker's mother was determined her ...

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Growing Up

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Overview

Russell Baker is the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner for Distinguished Commentary and a columnist for The New York Times. This book traces his youth in the mountains of rural Virginia.

When Baker was only five, his father died. His mother, strong-willed and matriarchal, never looked back. After all, she had three children to raise.

These were depression years, and Mrs. Baker moved her fledgling family to Baltimore. Baker's mother was determined her children would succeed, and we know her regimen worked for Russell. He did everything from delivering papers to hustling subscriptions for the Saturday Evening Post. As is often the case, early hardships made the man.

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Editorial Reviews

Richard Lingeman
''Growing Up'' is touching and funny, a hopeless muddle of sadness and laughter that bears a suspicious resemblance to real life....Like all the best humor, Mr. Baker's is grounded in truth and mellowed by a sense of the sadness in things.... His laughs are distilled from the juices of life. He draws from a time and a world very much in the American grain: memories of listening to grown-ups rocking on the porch and sonorously reciting cliches or of Depression evenings in Baltimore spent around the kitchen table with endless talk and cups of coffee. -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451155085
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/4/1984
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Russell Baker is the winner of the 1979 George Polk Award for Commentary, the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary, and the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his book Growing Up (1982). He served as a long-time columnist for The New York Times, writing the syndicated column "Observer" and hosted the PBS show Masterpiece Theatre. He also wrote a sequel to Growing Up called The Good Times (1989).

He began his career in 1947 at The Baltimore Sun, going on to join the Washington Bureau of The New York Times in 1954, covering national politics, in particular Congress and the White House. "Observer" began in 1962 and covered everything from national controversies to personal experiences. Baker retired from column writing in 1998, after more than three decades of well-loved and well-read writing. He lives in Leesburg, Virginia with his wife, Mimi, and is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Growing Up is the story of Russell Baker's childhood during whic

    Growing Up is the story of Russell Baker's childhood during which he lived in a poor Virginia house that had no electricity or running water, moved to a city and lived with other family members during the Great Depression, and finally a house in the suburbs. His family had little to no money during the Great Depression and Russell is forced to sell newspapers at the age of eight. His mother pushes him to become something and to rise out of poverty. He gets his chance when he graduates high school in the middle of WWII and enlists. He shares his memoirs of struggle and maturing into a man during WWII. His mother encourages him to become something after the war and Russell becomes a writer. This book describes the struggle during the Great Depression and the relief of it as WWII begins. At the end of the book, Russell Baker is fully grown up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2008

    On Line Book Review of Growing Up by Russell Baker

    My rationale for selecting this book is that it is very easy to read and understand. I enjoyed reading about Russell's childhood experiences. The greatest impact that this book has on society today is the importance of learning about your past and then passing it on to your children and other generations. Because we all come from our past and this knowledge should be shared to help society understand the reasons for some of our actions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2007

    Show a little gumption!

    I loved this book. Baker uses dry humor and emotion to take readers on a revealing and powerful journey through the hardships of the Great Depression. Baker is very strong-willed. When you read about his childhood, you can tell that he is able to cope with many difficult situations. His mother also teaches him the motivation to better himself that everyone should be taught. You should read this book if you enjoy historical facts coalesced with real emotions and family anecdotes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2006

    GROWING UP

    if you wanna learn about the great depression you must read this book for the reason that it shows the very aspects of lives of people during the great depression.and the autobiographal style, use of 'I' is very crucial..i say it again you must read this wonderful book...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2005

    Growing UP

    Growing Up is an okay story. Baker goes on too much about his aunts and uncles. He is sort of a dry writer. Not a great book, but not the worst either. would recommend for adults, not teens.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2005

    Teaches you a lot

    Growing Up helps you learn valuable life lessons and makes you feel like you can do anything you put your mind to. Although slightly boring at parts, this books is overall well-written, interesting, and sends strong messages to readers giving them advice on several different things. I would reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2004

    Gumption

    Growing up is an Awesome book that taught me that no matter what you may encounter...life still has more sh&* to throw at you! Either you get out there and fight for your dignity ,work hard and be happy or you will fail.Gumption...That's it...Gumption! Linda Henderson(Community College of Vermont) Student..used in our classroom 'Dimensions of Learning' College Course- Instructor : Gary Steller.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    Brutally honest and funny

    Russell Baker¿s Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography, Growing Up, takes the reader on a compelling journey through Great Depression. It follows iron willed Russell Baker who struggles through adversity to become the renowned writer he is today. Baker¿s no holds barred honesty, and detailed character description bring his eccentric but relatable family to life. With his mix of humor and emotion, Baker has a style that engages his readers. You will have a hard time putting this book down once you pick it up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2003

    Am I awake???

    This book is awful. It's easy enough for a 1st grader to read. It's so vague its hilarious. Don't buy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2003

    simply great.

    I have to say i stole this book from my teacher...lol...and im glad i did because its become one of my favorite ones in my library. The book is so well written, and it was interesting to read, it kept me wanting to read it all at once.Great book i reccomment it.I also stole 'The Rescue of Miss Yaskell and other Pipe dreams' from Baker, but i have not gotten to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    Funny and touching

    I read this book is Chinese translation and the book was lost long time ago(about 5 years ago) since I lent it to somebody. That year, 1998, I quitted my job which I hated but became out of work. In the book, Baker's mother told him must promote the magazine even the poorest, I thought it funny because my character like Baker, hate promoting job! But his sister was daring, just tap the window od one man's car and she succeeded sold newspaper. But depression Era, even college graduate women had nothing to do with career. The only thing do to is find a man(better be rich man) to solve their economic problem. If Baker's character exchange with his sister, it would be awful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2001

    Wonderful!

    I read this book when I was in college and I have said this is my favorite book ever since. I couldn't put it down and so love Mr. Baker's gift for writing. Do yourself a favor and read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2000

    Excellent reading! A must for aspiring autobiographers!

    Russell Baker writes his life story through vignettes and episodes that captures your interests and imagination. You can't put the book down once you start reading. You wished you didn't have to eat and sleep. This is a must-read book for anyone who wishes to write a good life story. He is an excellent story teller....he is the host of the weekly series, Masterpiece Theatre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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