Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son

Overview

From the author of the best-selling King Leopold's Ghost, this haunting and deeply honest memoir tells of Adam Hochschild's conflicted relationship with his father, the head of a multinational mining corporation. The author lyrically evokes his privileged childhood on an Adirondack estate, a colorful uncle who was a pioneer aviator and fighter ace, and his first explorations of the larger world he encountered as he came of age in the tumultuous 1960s. But above all this is a story of a father and his only son and...

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Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son

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Overview

From the author of the best-selling King Leopold's Ghost, this haunting and deeply honest memoir tells of Adam Hochschild's conflicted relationship with his father, the head of a multinational mining corporation. The author lyrically evokes his privileged childhood on an Adirondack estate, a colorful uncle who was a pioneer aviator and fighter ace, and his first explorations of the larger world he encountered as he came of age in the tumultuous 1960s. But above all this is a story of a father and his only son and of the unexpected peace finally made between them.

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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
By turns nostalgic and regretful, lyrical and melancholy, Half the Way Home creates a deeply felt portrait of a man and a boy...it also provides an extraordinarily moving portrait of the complexities and confusions of familial love. While it pushes the reader into memories of his own experiences in that eternal, summertime world of childhood and adolescence, the book also remains firmly grounded in the specifics of a particular time and place, conjuring them up with Proustian detail and affection. -- (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)
Newsday
Adam Hochschild...knows well that the past lives on within us, unshakeable, in our dreams as well as in our waking life. With skill and knowledge, he charts his father's strange but liberating transformation in character after his wife's death. The stories he tells are in themselves remarkable, but his telling makes them doubly so.
People
It is a primer on the upper class and on class itself, a series of meditations on the burden of wealth to the liberal consciousness and even a commentary on what it means to be a Jew in America....This is a fine and moving book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618439201
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 610,093
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Hochschild

ADAM HOCHSCHILD has written for The New Yorker , Harper's , The New York Review of Books , Granta , The New York Times Magazine , and many other newspapers and magazines. In King Leopold’s Ghost, Bury the Chains, and other books, Hochschild has earned a reputation as a master of suspense and vivid character portrayal. His skill at evoking such struggles for justice has made him a finalist for the National Book Award and won him a host of other prizes.

Biography

Adam Hochschild was born in New York City in 1942. His first book, Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son, was published in 1986. It was followed by The Mirror at Midnight: A South African Journey (1990) and The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin (1994). Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels won the 1998 PEN/Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay.

Hochschild's books have been translated into five languages and have won prizes from the Overseas Press Club of America, the World Affairs Council, the Eugene V. Debs Foundation, and the Society of American Travel Writers. Three of his books -- includingKing Leopold's Ghost -- have been named Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and Library Journal. King Leopold's Ghost was also awarded the 1998 California Book Awards gold medal for nonfiction.

Hochschild has also written for The New Yorker, Harper's magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones (which he co-founded), The Nation, and many other magazines and newspapers. A former commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," he teaches writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1997-98 he was a Fulbright Lecturer in India.

He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Arlie, the sociologist and author. They have two sons.

Author biography courtesy of Houghton Mifflin.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 5, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      A.B., Harvard College, 1963

Read an Excerpt

The most vivid memories I have of my childhood are of the summer evenings when Boris's plane took off.

Boris Vasilievich Sergievsky, captain in the Imperial Russian air force, World War I fighter pilot, winner of the Order of St. George (which entitles the bearer to a personal audience with the Tsar, any time of day or night), test pilot for the Pan American Clippers of the 1930s, tenor, gourmet, lover, horseman, and adventurer, was, miraculously, my uncle. One day he had flown his plane down from the sky and, to the complete shock of all her relatives, had married my father's sister, Gertrude. She was then forty-one years old and had almost certainly never even kissed a man before. From that point on, life in our family was never the same.

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