Too Long Ago: A Childhood Memory. A Vanished World.

Church & Reid · AI-narrated by Mike (from Google)
7 hr 8 min
Want a free 5 min sample? Listen anytime, even offline. 

About this audiobook

A sardonic expedition into a small-town ethnic childhood and post-World War II America—and how to survive Rust Belt hard times.

At last . . . a memoir finally worthy of comparison to the uproariously funny fiction of the great Jean Shepherd, author and narrator of the beloved A Christmas Story.

Only . . . it’s all true. Sometimes . . . sadly true.

Award-winning presidential historian and baseball scholar David Pietrusza’s witty and wise tale of growing up in the 1950s and 60s, Too Long Ago is no Leave It to Beaver or Father Knows Best episode. It’s a unique glimpse into an unjustly ignored and forgotten immigrant experience—Eastern European and devoutly pre-Vatican II Catholic. A tale of a tight-knit Polish community, transplanted from tiny, impoverished Hapsburg-ruled villages to a hardscrabble, hardworking, hard-drinking Upstate New York mill town. It’s how the first rust corroded the Rust Belt, sidetracking dreams but not hope.

It’s a lively saga of secrets and hard times, of insanity, of manslaughter and murder, of war and postwar, Depression and Recession, racetracks and religions, books and bar rooms, unforgettable personalities and vastly unpronounceable names, of characters and character, of homelessness, of immigration—first to America and then from Rust Belt to Sun Belt—of vices and virtues, and how a sickly, bookwormish boy who loved history and the presidents finally discovered a national pastime and made it his own.

Meet Too Long Ago’s mesmerizing cast of characters: Depression-ravaged Felix and Agnes Marek, Corporal Danny Pietrusza and his wartime adventures, Uncle Tony Lenczewski and his raided saloon, brutal serial-killer Lemuel Smith, the high-kicking weather-prophet “Cousin George” Casabonne, carpet heiress and OSS operative Gertie Sanford, caught behind-enemy-lines Mary Zaklukiewicz, and the homeless (but not hopeless) Uncle Leo Zack.

Alternately sharp-edged and warm-hearted—sometimes shocking and always surprising—Too Long Ago is a poignant tour-de-force, a no-stopping-for-breath, coming-of-age narrative, akin to cross-breeding Jean Shepherd’s boisterous A Christmas Story with Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo’s gritty semi-autobiographical novel Mohawk (set mere miles from Too Long Ago) and presenting the genre-bending result in the mesmerizing form of a decidedly non-WASPY rendition of an epic Spalding Gray monolog.

About the author

Award-winning historian David Pietrusza has been called "the undisputed champion of chronicling American Presidential campaigns.” His books include studies of the 1920, 1932, 1948, and 1960 presidential elections and biographies of Theodore Roosevelt (Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal, US History), gambler Arnold Rothstein (Edgar Award finalist) and Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis (Casey Award winner).

Pietrusza has appeared on NPR, C-SPAN, MSNBC, The Voice of America, The History Channel, AMC, and ESPN. He has spoken at the JFK, FDR, Truman, and Coolidge presidential libraries, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and various universities and festivals.

A former member of the Amsterdam (NY) City Council, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University at Albany, is a Recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award of the Alumni Association of the University at Albany, and a charter member of the Greater Amsterdam School District Hall of Fame.


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Narrated by Mike