Friday, November 11, 2011

Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances By Scott Brown

Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances

Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances
By Scott Brown

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Product Description

The extraordinary personal journey of a man who, against all odds, rose to become one of America's most surprising and promising new political figures

Scott Brown's greatest win did not occur on a cold January election night in 2010 when he came from behind to capture the U.S. Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for nearly fifty years. It began when he survived a savage beating at the drunken, dirty-fingernail hands of a stepfather when he was barely six years old, while trying to protect his mother.

In this gripping memoir of resilience and redemption, Brown tells the story of his difficult, often nomadic childhood, shunted from house to apartment, and town to town, seventeen times over his first eighteen years. He somehow thrived despite a largely absent father, who married four separate times. So did his mother, in relationships frequently stained with alcohol, anger, and even violence. For nearly two decades' growing up, Brown endured innumerable hardships and challenges, even stealing food to eat. He was periodically sent off to live with relatives, his possessions wrapped in a few old blankets. Saved by basketball, he was the boy who shoveled snow from the public courts to shoot hoops alone in the frozen cold.

With clear-eyed conviction and unflinching can-dor, Brown tells the story of his own bad-boy days, of the coaches who mentored him, and of how he found a way out of familial chaos through the swish of a ball in the net, winning a starting slot on the Tufts varsity basketball team as a freshman player and becoming the tenth-highest scorer to graduate in the school's history. His rise from there was even more improbable: a first-year law student and member of the Massachusetts National Guard, he was picked as Cosmopolitan magazine's "America's Sexiest Man" and was vaulted into the glamorous world of New York modeling at the height of the 1980s. But the man who was once ushered into the backrooms of Studio 54 returned to Massachusetts to continue with his military and legal training, settle down, raise a family, and soon found an unlikely path that would lead him to national political stardom. Here, too, are the secrets from the unprecedented Senate race that captured the country's imagination and how Scott Brown won his remarkable victory.

Poignant, heartfelt, humorous, and profound, this is the story of one man's dream and his determination to fight for a better future.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #336633 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-02-21
  • Released on: 2011-02-21
  • Format: Bargain Price
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 336 pages
Editorial Reviews

"Powerful stuff. . . .This isn't your typical memoir. It is brutally honest, difficult to read, and important." (The Tucson Citizen )

"A[n] engaging autobiography. . . . A rags-to-riches narrative that sometimes recalls Horatio Alger. . . . Lyricism and occasional symbolic richness emerge in these pages." (The New York Review of Books )

"Dramatic. . . . Poignant. . . . Scott Brown's life could have veered horribly wrong so many times, as he amply demonstrates in his disquieting memoir. . . . A reader will get an everything's-finally-right-with-the-world thrill from his success in life. (The Washington Post )

"A fresh, compelling memoir of a childhood that could have led to a miserable life, but didn't. . . .Brown's straightforward narrative makes for a good read." (Louisville Courier Journal )

About the Author

U.S. Senator Scott Brown was elected by the people of Massachusetts on January 19, 2010, to fill the term of the late senator Ted Kennedy. He lives in Wrentham, Massachusetts, with his wife, Gail, and their two daughters, Ayla and Arianna.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

38 of 45 people found the following review helpful.
5Amazing book -- could not put it down
By DC Mom
I stayed up to 2 a.m. to finish this remarkable, heart-wrenching, and ultimately inspiring and uplifting book. My eyes teared up reading the story of Scott Brown as a six year old boy being beaten by his drunken father on the day that Scott's own half-sister was being born. Scott's "crime"? He had been told to wake up his stepdad so that he could go to the hospital. He was a boy who was shunted from home to home, traveling with his few meager possessions wrapped in a blanket. He was picked on and prayed upon. His clothes were too small, and he was desperately hungry. His mother worked multiple jobs, but never kept enough food in the fridge. He could have easily been a sullen bad-boy, but instead after a teacher, a coach, and a judge took a chance on him, he took it upon himself to turn his life around. And he never stopped. The last of his mother's husbands was a horribly abusive man, who terrorized the house and night after night threatened to break Scott's hands -- which would have rendered him unable to play basketball. But Scott answered every call to protect her and his sister, no matter what the risk to himself. Even when he reaches adulthood, the book never flags. He captures the world of New York in the early 80s and you feel like you are with him in the field or on night parachute jumps after he joins the military. When he builds a successful life for himself as an adult, it is a wonderful triumph and although I find most political campaign descriptions boring, I was on the edge of my seat for this one, because it was so improbable at every turn. This book really has something for everyone, a powerful and difficult boyhood, the magic of sports, the thrill of the chase in politics, and the pleasure of watching him win in life. I saw a couple of the TV interviews, and I don't think they begin to do justice to just how great and special this book is. Read it -- you'll come away with a renewed faith in the power of the human spirit.

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
5"My Life Is Like A Spiderweb..."
By James R. Holland
A reader has to admire someone who describes his life as being like a spiderweb. He obviously isn't suffering from any kind of Messianic complex. The secret of the young Senator from Massachusetts's success is that he can relate to everyone and he isn't afraid to say "thank you" and share credit for his accomplishments. He reminds many voters of Ronald Reagan in that regard. The 40th President didn't care who got the credit just as long as the work got done.

As far as the spiderweb comparison goes, Brown means each piece of web is an integral part of the overall construction. "The final creation is an intricate combination of perfectly positioned" links that form the whole. "Sever just one key link and the entire web succumbs to capricious winds. With one cut, the entire web is razed."
"My life is like that web. I cannot imagine any piece of its design to be any different; I would not change any part of the experiences that have been woven together to create the larger whole.... If I changed any one of these things, it would change the architecture of my life, and I would no longer be the person I am today."

In the first of 18 chapters in this 325-page memoir the author tells how at age 13 he was busted by store security for stealing popular music albums from a Liberty Tree Mall record store. He had already stolen food from super markets and a suit need to attend a school dance from a clothing store in the years prior to his arrest for record theft. Young Scott Brown seemed headed for an entirely different kind of public record.

Anyone who has heard any news coverage of this new book has probably only learned that as a kid Scott Brown was the victim of repeated sexual abuse and brutal beatings. However, while that naturally attracts the attention of the "headline hunting" media, that's only a small part of the book. This is a book of salvation and redemption. It's the story of how one young man's slide toward a life of crime was deflected back toward the main stream of society.

Brown attended Tuff's University and played basketball there, which provided him with some free clothes. "I got shorts, T-shirts, and sweats. And that was what I wore, to class, to parties...I would do almost anything for extra cash." He recalls earning $10 for a two-minute job of cleaning up some drunk's vomit. "No job was too disgusting or too small."
At the end of 1979, in the middle of his junior year, he went to the armory at "Camp Curtis Guild to officially register to join the Army National Guard." It was the beginning of his long service in the Army National Guard.

Basketball is the love that allowed him to avoid becoming a juvenile delinquent. He recalls how as a child he used to take his basketball to bed with him. He was famous in Massachusetts for being "picked as `Cosmopolitan' magazine's `America's Sexiest Man' and was vaulted into the glamorous world of New York modeling at the height of the 1980's. When he returned to Tuffs he also signed up for the ROTC program. For a while he was in both the Guard and the ROTC at the same time.
Despite the temptations of being a celebrity model at the time he avoided the downward spiral that often comes with the world of private clubbing and continued his education and military service. He also continued his modeling because it provided him the money he needed to attend Boston College Law School.
Like another Massachusetts's politician with a new memoir, Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Brown's life story is amazing. So was Patricks. This is a well written, easy to read tale of personal trial and professional triumph. As Brown states in his lengthy acknowledgements and thank you section at the conclusion of his book, "As soon as I won the election in January 2010, publishers began calling, interested in a book. I had never considered such a project, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to tell my story, the good and the bad. My hope in sharing my life is that it will give hope to others, that other people who are struggling will be reminded that things can get better."
Like his service as a Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this book serves a good purpose and it's nice Scott Brown took the time to see it completed.

(The reader might wish to see the four photos this reviewer uploaded to the customer images of this book listing?)

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
5An American Story
By R Duffy
Every so often I get a book that I can't wait to get home to finish reading it. Every couple of pages Scott Brown had another problem to deal with. With each issue, he seemed to get stronger. This autobiography proves that with hard work and the right attitude anything is possible. Light on politics and heavy on personal experiences and life lessons. This is the type of book you purchase and pass around for others to read. It does not belong on a bookshelf.


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