From Steven V. Roberts comes My Fathers' Houses, a memoir of growing up in Bayonne, New Jersey, an immigrant community in the shadow of the Statue if Liberty, and the story of how his father and his grandfather's dreams–and their own passion for writing and ideas–influenced Steven's future, and inspired him to seek his fortune in New York City, the media capital of the world.
This is a story of a town and a time and a boy who grew up there, a boy who became a New York Times correspondent, TV and radio personality, and best–selling author. The town was Bayonne, New Jersey, a European village so close to New York that Steve could see the Statue of Liberty from his bedroom window. The time was the forties and fifties, when children of immigrants were striving to become American and find a place in a booming post–war world. The core of Steve's world was one block, where he lived in a house his grandfather, Harry Schanbam, had built with his own hands.
But the story starts back in Russia, where the family business of writing and ideas began. Steve's other grandfather, Abraham Rogowsky, stole money to become a Zionist pioneer in Palestine before moving to America. The tale continues through the Depression, when Steve's parents lived one block apart in Bayonne, wrote letters to each other and married in secret.
During the war years, Steve's father wrote children's books and based one of his best sellers on outings he took with his twin sons to the local train station. As his byline, he used his boys' middle names–Jeffrey Victor–so Steve got his first writing credit before he was two. The story concludes with the boy leaving Bayonne, going on to Harvard, meeting the Catholic girl who became his wife, and starting work at the New York Times–across the river, and worlds away, from where he began. Now a grandfather of five, Steve Roberts looks in the mirror and sees his own father and grandfather looking back at him–a family chain that started in 19th century Russia and thrives today in 21st century America.
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About the Author
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio. From 1996 to 2002, she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program, This Week. She is the bestselling author of We Are Our Mothers' Daughters, Ladies of Liberty, and Founding Mothers.
Steve Roberts is the author of From Every End of This Earth and My Fathers' Houses. He has worked as a journalist for more than forty years and appears regularly as a political analyst on the ABC radio network and National Public Radio. Since 1997 he has been the Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.
Cokie and Steve Roberts are the New York Times bestselling authors of From This Day Forward. They write a weekly column syndicated in newspapers across the country by United Media. The parents of two children and grandparents of six, Cokie and Steve live in Bethesda, Maryland.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
From the first few pages, I was drawn into life in Bayonne. This is an intriguing memoir, and well-written (as one should expect). Roberts weaves family tales and memories into a narrative in a way that made me wanting more after each chapter. A gifted writer, he fleshes out stories from simple anecdotes and simple memories. This memoir is not fueled by anger, contempt, or discord. Instead it's everyday life, everyday pleasures, and everyday challenges in an everyday family. "My Fathers' Houses," while a fun read for the masses, is a treasure for future generations of this family. Sometimes we need to read for pure enjoyment, and I certainly enjoyed this.