Take Me with You: A Memoir

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Carlos Frías, an award-winning journalist and the American-born son of Cuban exiles, grew up hearing about his parents' homeland only in parables. Their Cuba, the one they left behind four decades ago, was ethereal. It existed, for him, only in their anecdotes, and in the family that remained in Cuba -- merely ghosts on the other end of a telephone.

Until Fidel Castro fell ill.

Sent to Cuba by his newspaper as the country began closing to foreign journalists in August 2006, Frías begins the secret journey of a lifetime -- twelve days in the land of his parents. That experience led to this evocative, spectacular, and unforgettable memoir.

Take Me With You is written through the unique eyes of a first-generation Cuban-American seeing the forbidden country of his ancestry for the first time. Take Me With You provides a fresh view of Cuba, devoid of overt political commentary, focusing instead on the gritty, tangible lives of the people living in Castro's Cuba. Frías takes in the island nation of today and attempts to reconstruct what the past was like for his parents, retracing their footsteps, searching for his roots, and discovering his history. The book creates lasting and unexpected ripples within his family on both sides of the Florida Straits -- and on the author himself.
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About the author

Frías, today a special projects reporter for the Palm Beach Post, has been called one of the finest young journalists in the country. The Associated Press Sports Editors have awarded him seven top-10 awards in the past four years for his work on in-depth features and investigative stories. (The APSE award is similar to the Pulitzer for sports writers.) Among those, a Journal-Constitution three-day series examined the deaths of five high school athletes, and was submitted for a 2003 Pulitzer Prize.

A South Florida native who grew up just north of the Dade-Broward County line, Frías gained the perspective of a boy born of Cuban exiles, but raised among the "gringos." He learned from watching the lights of Little Havana glitter in the distance and hearing the stories of Cuba stitched together in three decades of anecdotes. He says he is "assembled in America from Cuban parts." Fully bilingual, he travels easily between these two langauges and brings his unique cultural sense to his writings.

Frías, 31, resides in Pembroke Pines, Florida, with his wife, Christine, and their threedaughters, Elise, Amelia and Catalina Angeles.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Nov 18, 2008
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781416594048
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Political
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Hunter S. Thompson, “smart hillbilly,” boy of the South, born and bred in Louisville, Kentucky, son of an insurance salesman and a stay-at-home mom, public school-educated, jailed at seventeen on a bogus petty robbery charge, member of the U.S. Air Force (Airmen Second Class), copy boy for Time, writer for The National Observer, et cetera. From the outset he was the Wild Man of American journalism with a journalistic appetite that touched on subjects that drove his sense of justice and intrigue, from biker gangs and 1960s counterculture to presidential campaigns and psychedelic drugs. He lived larger than life and pulled it up around him in a mad effort to make it as electric, anger-ridden, and drug-fueled as possible. 

Now Juan Thompson tells the story of his father and of their getting to know each other during their forty-one fraught years together. He writes of the many dark times, of how far they ricocheted away from each other, and of how they found their way back before it was too late.

He writes of growing up in an old farmhouse in a narrow mountain valley outside of Aspen—Woody Creek, Colorado, a ranching community with Hereford cattle and clover fields . . . of the presence of guns in the house, the boxes of ammo on the kitchen shelves behind the glass doors of the country cabinets, where others might have placed china and knickknacks . . . of climbing on the back of Hunter’s Bultaco Matador trail motorcycle as a young boy, and father and son roaring up the dirt road, trailing a cloud of dust . . . of being taken to bars in town as a small boy, Hunter holding court while Juan crawled around under the bar stools, picking up change and taking his found loot to Carl’s Pharmacy to buy Archie comic books . . . of going with his parents as a baby to a Ken Kesey/Hells Angels party with dozens of people wandering around the forest in various stages of undress, stoned on pot, tripping on LSD . . .

He writes of his growing fear of his father; of the arguments between his parents reaching frightening levels; and of his finally fighting back, trying to protect his mother as the state troopers are called in to separate father and son. And of the inevitable—of mother and son driving west in their Datsun to make a new home, a new life, away from Hunter; of Juan’s first taste of what “normal” could feel like . . .

We see Juan going to Concord Academy, a stranger in a strange land, coming from a school that was a log cabin in the middle of hay fields, Juan without manners or socialization . . . going on to college at Tufts; spending a crucial week with his father; Hunter asking for Juan’s opinion of his writing; and he writes of their dirt biking on a hilltop overlooking Woody Creek Valley, acting as if all the horrible things that had happened between them had never taken place, and of being there, together, side by side . . .

And finally, movingly, he writes of their long, slow pull toward reconciliation . . . of Juan’s marriage and the birth of his own son; of watching Hunter love his grandson and Juan’s coming to understand how Hunter loved him; of Hunter’s growing illness, and Juan’s becoming both son and father to his father . . .
National Bestseller 

A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster.

By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event. He takes great pains to provide a balanced picture of the people and events he witnessed and gives due credit to the tireless and dedicated Sherpas. He also avoids blasting easy targets such as Sandy Pittman, the wealthy socialite who brought an espresso maker along on the expedition. Krakauer's highly personal inquiry into the catastrophe provides a great deal of insight into what went wrong. But for Krakauer himself, further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber's death. Clearly, Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster, and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically, he seems unable to view those instances objectively. In the end, despite his evenhanded and even generous assessment of others' actions, he reserves a full measure of vitriol for himself.

This updated edition of Into Thin Air includes an extensive new postscript that sheds fascinating light on the acrimonious debate that flared between Krakauer and Everest guide Anatoli Boukreev in the wake of the tragedy.  "I have no doubt that Boukreev's intentions were good on summit day," writes Krakauer in the postscript, dated August 1999. "What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn't the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients." As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air's denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer's tone is conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored The Climb, Boukreev's version of events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev, but the Russian later died in an avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I.

In 1999, Krakauer received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters--a prestigious prize intended "to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment."  According to the Academy's citation, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer.  His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind."
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