‘Like many lives, mine has had its disappointments, successes, happiness and sadness’
Author Bill Morgenstern shares an autobiography that, while totally entertaining as an adventure in reading, is also a recapitulation of life in America from the Depression Era to the present. Characteristically, Bill shares his reason for writing in his Foreword: ‘This book is written by a generally shy and quiet person, with strong ideas, skeptical, hates injustice, fraud and who believes that you learn by listening and observing. Normally my decisions are made quickly but the decision to finally write the story of my life only came after some persuasion from friends. What I hope comes out of reading this book, besides the humor, is not only the love of life but the extreme dislike for injustice and tyranny. I realize that some laws and rules are necessary but I am firmly convinced that we have far too many regulations. Economic laws especially end up having cross purposes to their original intent.’
Within the moments of reading the opening paragraph, the engaging mood of this immensely successful book is set: ‘It was 1933, in the middle of the Depression. Sam, my father, had found out in October 1929 that his entire fortune was wiped out. He would need to liquidate his successful curtain-rod factory with six hundred employees to pay for the margin call. Sam was a moderately religious Jew, but he did not fit the stereotype of that period. And although he was born in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn (on farmland with a pedestrian toll bridge going to their property), he spent some time up in Norman, Oklahoma. My father was an excellent horseman and could rope a steer. Otherwise, he was the gentlest person that I had ever known. He was also an expert on nature and animals, and he knew the Latin name of almost any tree or plant.’
This warmly conversational style pours out of the pages of this fine book, and in an author’s note the essence of Bill’s history is shared – ‘My dream then was to play baseball for the New York Yankees. I was on the Stuyvesant baseball team, but because of my working hours, my playing time was limited. During my time at public school I was quite the rascal, along with my best friend Louie. In high school I continued my antics, only without Louie, who went to a different school. At the University of Alabama my cray antics were somewhat moderated after I met and married my wife, Sylvia. While waiting to be drafted into the service I got a job with my wife's relatives' footwear wholesale company traveling to the "Hill" country of Tennessee. After being drafted I was sent to Fort Jackson for basic training. My next assignment was Fort McClellan, Alabama. If was great duty since I was about sixty miles form where we lived in Birmingham. It was great that is until I was sent to Korea for 18 months. When I was discharged, my first dream to become a corporate president by the time I was 35 years of age and after 8 eventful years with Thom McAn shoes company that goal was fulfilled. After that I became and Executive Vice President of a shoe import-export company. At the peak of that career I formed my own company, which became quite successful. Throughout that period I traveled the world having fun, interesting and exciting times. I continued to experience the ups and downs of a life well lived.' Pepper this life with hilarious moments, insights into the ever-changing mood of life in the USA as perceived by a child, then young adult, then mature adult, and the result is a book that pleads to be read again. This is the third edition of Bill’s book, enhanced apparently with more memories and documentation, but having never read the first edition, this reader can only be dazzled by the current memorable memoir – one of the most successful autobiographies available! Highly Recommended.
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