Among Schoolchildren

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The Pulitzer Prize–winning author’s classic, “brilliantly illuminated” account of education in America (TheNew York Times Book Review).

Mrs. Zajac is feisty, funny, and tough. She likes to call herself an “old-lady teacher.” (She is thirty-four.) Around Kelly School, she is infamous for her discipline: “She is mean, bro,” says one of her students. But children love her, and so will the reader of this extraordinarily moving book by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of House and The Soul of a New Machine.
 
Tracy Kidder spent nine months in Mrs. Zajac’s fifth-grade classroom in a depressed area of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Living among the twenty schoolchildren and their indomitable teacher, he shared their joys, catastrophes, and small but essential triumphs. His resulting New York Times bestseller is a revelatory and remarkably poignant account of an inner-city school that “erupts with passionate life,” and a close-up examination of what is wrong—and right—with education in America (USA Today).
 
“More than a book about needy children and a valiant teacher; it is full of the author’s genuine love, delight and celebration of the human condition. He has never used his talent so well.” —The New York Times
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About the author

Tracy Kidder is the author of Home Town, Among Schoolchildren, and Old Friends. He has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Sep 6, 1989
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Pages
340
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ISBN
9780547524061
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Educators
Education / Elementary
History / Social History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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My Detachment is a war story like none you have ever read before, an unromanticized portrait of a young man coming of age in the controversial war that defined a generation. In an astonishingly honest, comic, and moving account of his tour of duty in Vietnam, master storyteller Tracy Kidder writes for the first time about himself. This extraordinary memoir is destined to become a classic.

Kidder was an ROTC intelligence officer, just months out of college and expecting a stateside assignment, when his orders arrived for Vietnam. There, lovesick, anxious, and melancholic, he tried to assume command of his detachment, a ragtag band of eight more-or-less ungovernable men charged with reporting on enemy radio locations.

He eventually learned not only to lead them but to laugh and drink with them as they shared the boredom, pointlessness, and fear of war. Together, they sought a ghostly enemy, homing in on radio transmissions and funneling intelligence gathered by others. Kidder realized that he would spend his time in Vietnam listening in on battle but never actually experiencing it.

With remarkable clarity and with great detachment, Kidder looks back at himself from across three and a half decades, confessing how, as a young lieutenant, he sought to borrow from the tragedy around him and to imagine himself a romantic hero. Unrelentingly honest, rueful, and revealing, My Detachment gives us war without heroism, while preserving those rare moments of redeeming grace in the midst of lunacy and danger. The officers and men of My Detachment are not the sort of people who appear in war movies–they are the ones who appear only in war, and they are unforgettable.


From the Hardcover edition.
“[A] masterpiece . . . an astonishing book that will leave you questioning your own life and political views . . . Kidder opens a window into Farmer’s soul, letting the reader peek in and see what truly makes the good doctor tick.”—Nicholas Thomas, USA Today

In medical school, Paul Farmer found his life’s calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Tracy Kidder’s magnificent account shows how one person can make a difference in solving global health problems through a clear-eyed understanding of the interaction of politics, wealth, social systems, and disease. Profound and powerful, Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes people’s minds through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.”

Praise for Mountains Beyond Mountains

“A true-to-life fairy tale, one that inspires you to believe in happy endings . . . Its stark sense of reality comes as much from the grit between the pages as from the pure gold those pages spin.”—Laura Claridge, Boston Sunday Globe

“Stunning . . . Mountains Beyond Mountains will move you, restore your faith in the ability of one person to make a difference in these increasingly maddening, dispiriting times.”—John Wilkens, The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Easily the most fascinating, most entertaining and, yes, most inspiring work of nonfiction I’ve read this year.”—Charles Matthews, San Jose Mercury News

“It’ll fill you equally with wonder and hope.”—Cathy Burke, People

“In this excellent work, Pulitzer Prize-winner Kidder immerses himself in and beautifully explores the rich drama that exists in the life of Dr. Paul Farmer. . . . Throughout, Kidder captures the almost saintly effect Farmer has on those whom he treats.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“[A] skilled and graceful exploration of the soul of an astonishing human being.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

Good Prose is an inspiring book about writing—about the creation of good prose—and the record of a warm and productive literary friendship. The story begins in 1973, in the offices of The Atlantic Monthly, in Boston, where a young freelance writer named Tracy Kidder came looking for an assignment. Richard Todd was the editor who encouraged him. From that article grew a lifelong association. Before long, Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine, the first book the two worked on together, had won the Pulitzer Prize. It was a heady moment, but for Kidder and Todd it was only the beginning of an education in the art of nonfiction.
 
Good Prose explores three major nonfiction forms: narratives, essays, and memoirs. Kidder and Todd draw candidly, sometimes comically, on their own experience—their mistakes as well as accomplishments—to demonstrate the pragmatic ways in which creative problems get solved. They also turn to the works of a wide range of writers, novelists as well as nonfiction writers, for models and instruction. They talk about narrative strategies (and about how to find a story, sometimes in surprising places), about the ethical challenges of nonfiction, and about the realities of making a living as a writer. They offer some tart and emphatic opinions on the current state of language. And they take a clear stand against playing loose with the facts. Their advice is always grounded in the practical world of writing and publishing.
 
Good Prose—like Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style—is a succinct, authoritative, and entertaining arbiter of standards in contemporary writing, offering guidance for the professional writer and the beginner alike. This wise and useful book is the perfect companion for anyone who loves to read good books and longs to write one.

Praise for Good Prose
 
“Smart, lucid, and entertaining.”—The Boston Globe
 
“You are in such good company—congenial, ironic, a bit old-school—that you’re happy to follow [Kidder and Todd] where they lead you.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“[A] well-structured, to-the-point, genuinely useful, and fun-to-read guide to writing narrative nonfiction, essays, and memoir . . . Crisp, informative, and mind-expanding.”—Booklist  
 
“A gem . . . The finer points of creative nonfiction are molded into an inspiring read that will affect the would-be writer as much as Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird or Stephen King’s On Writing. . . . This is a must read for nonfiction writers.”—Library Journal
 
“As approachable and applicable as any writing manual available.”—Associated Press


From the Hardcover edition.
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