“Big Russ and Me” – Tim Russert

This book was my first official memoir. It was sent to me by a friend and I have had it for an exorbitantly long span of time, potentially before Tim Russert’s sudden and tragic death in 2008 (I suppose it’s high time I give it back). If you are unfamiliar with who Tim Russert is, you should be ashamed for being so detached from current events, but he was the host of “Meet the Press” on NBC. I have included a picture as well.

This book was a struggle at first. It is set as a sort of dedication to Tim Russert’s father (aka Big Russ) which is sweet, for sure, but I wondered how long I would have to wade through the compliments and cliches to get to the meat of story that we all really want to know–how did a kid from Buffalo get to become host of one of the most popular political commentary programs?

But, the book did get interesting after all and I became fascinated by Russert’s description of patriotism through his father’s experience in World War 2 and what it meant to be an American during that time. It made me sad to think about how we treat our soldiers today and the lessened prestige we give them when they return home.

I got to spend some time with my own grandfather while I was reading the memoir, who served in WW2 and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Bringing up the book to him led to a rare conversation with him when he was willing to open up more about his experience there. So, I thank Mr. Russert for that.

Overall, the book has its lulls but offers important lessons on fatherhood, faith, honor and patriotism. I would recommend it to anyone interested in politics in particular, or to people who like the memoir style. As a historical fiction fan, it took me a while to get into the rhythm, but I left it feeling inspired and intrigued by a life well lived.

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