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The Magical Stranger
 
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The Magical Stranger [Format Kindle]

Stephen Rodrick

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“Fascinating . . . . An exemplary piece of modern reportage.” (Tom Bissell, Harper's)

The Magical Stranger is one of the realest and best books I’ve read in the past several years.” (Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)

The Magical Stranger is the true story of a boy chasing a ghost and stumbling into manhood. It is heartbreaking and funny, broken and hopeful, often on the same page.” (Judd Apatow)

“Stephen Rodrick’s The Magical Stranger illuminates the innate ties between fathers and sons in a fresh and fascinating way. . . . Rodrick’s firsthand knowledge thoroughly transports the reader into the hearts and minds of U.S. servicemen and their families.” (Norman Ollestad, author of Crazy for the Storm)

“Stephen Rodrick finds words for what I thought was inexpressible: the private language of a military family that experiences the worst kind of loss and finally creates a path forward. There’s no more authentic account of a military family. Required reading for an America that is continually considering the cost of combat.” (Alison Buckholtz, author of Standing By)

“Stephen Rodrick exhibits courage, Catch-22 comedic flair, and unfailing emotional grasp in telling this powerful and surprising story. Anyone who wants to understand the sacrifices made by military families should read this book.” (Lily Burana, author of I Love a Man in Uniform)

“Stephen Rodrick’s poignant tale blends memoir, reportage, and clean, crisp, unsentimental prose to produce a book that makes you think, even at times makes you laugh, but in the end tears your heart out. A truly fabulous book.” (Robert Timberg, author of The Nightingale's Song)

“How does Stephen Rodrick manage to produce writing that is raw, heartbreaking, and beautifully-controlled, all at once, and on that most difficult of all topics: fathers and sons? Find out for yourself—it’s time very well spent!” (Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of It All)

“A wrenching, fascinating memoir, The Magical Stranger captures the elusive, sometimes crushing unease that haunts the lives of military families. It is written with the pace of a thriller and the emotional density of first-rate fiction.” (Blake Bailey, author of Cheever)

“This memoir of a son’s search to know his father is deeply moving, important and beautifully written. Rodrick has reminded us that the casualties of war remain long after the last mission is won.” (Danielle Trussoni, author of Falling Through the Earth)

“A powerful debut. . . . Candid and affecting.” (Kirkus)

“An engaging and immersive look at the dynamics of military units and the dual lives servicemen and women lead. . . all viewed through a crisp journalistic lens that helps Rodrick separate myth from reality.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Stephen Rodrick is possibly the best prose stylist alive.” (Wil S. Hylton, author of Vanished)

Présentation de l'éditeur

The Magical Stranger is a moving story of love and sacrifice, fathers and sons, heroism and duty, soldiers and the families they leave behind.

On November 28, 1979, squadron commander and Navy pilot Peter Rodrick died when his plane crashed in the Indian Ocean, leaving behind a devastated wife, two daughters, and a 13-year-old son.

In this powerful, beautifully written book, journalist Stephen Rodrick explores the life and death of the man who indelibly shaped his life, even as he remained a mystery. Through adolescence and into adulthood, Stephen Rodrick struggled to fully grasp the reality of his father’s death and its permanence.

To better understand his father, Rodrick turned to members of his father’s former squadron, the "World-Famous Black Ravens." As he learns about his father, he uncovers the layers of these sailors’ lives: their loves, friendships, dreams, disappointments—and the consequences of their choices on those they leave behind. The journey doesn’t end until November 28, 2013, when Rodrick’s first son is born 34 years to the day after his father’s mishap.

A penetrating, thoughtful blend of memoir and reportage, The Magical Stranger is a moving reflection on the meaning of military service and the power of a father’s legacy.


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 999 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 515 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0062201476
  • Editeur : Harper; Édition : Reprint (10 juin 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00JDKBTZ8
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Commentaires en ligne 

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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  67 commentaires
21 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Masterful; this book gets everything right... 13 avril 2013
Par 35-year Technology Consumer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
...in each of the personal, professional and technical layers it addresses.

When I was offered this book for review, I selected it because of my own Navy background (now very distant) that included three flying assignments in both carrier-based and shore-based naval aircraft. In its opening pages book, I learned that the book's subject, Commander Peter Rodrick and I were --for a short time-- shipmates. While I did not know him (just I did not know many of the 5000 people who were embarked on the ship), he and I were both deployed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during the cruise where his plane would disappear into the Indian Ocean. I left the ship in the Philippines about two weeks before his fatal crash. Not every reader will feel the same immediate connection with Rodrick, but because I am familiar with the personal, organizational and technical topics that Rodrick's son Stephen weaves together in this book, I can say with this with confidence: he gets everything right.

This is the story of Stephen Rodrick's effort to shed light on father's life. In November, 1979, Commander Peter Rodrick's EA-6B Prowler crashed into the Indian Ocean, killing all four aboard. The accident came at a time when the his squadron's (VAQ-135) deployment aboard the USS Kitty Hawk had been extended. Instead of returning home (the Kitty Hawk to its San Diego homeport and VAQ-135 to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington) that November, the ship and its embarked air wing went to the Indian Ocean as part of the US response to the Iranian hostage crisis. When his father died, 13-year old Stephen had been planning to meet the ship in Hawaii, and ride back to the west coast as part of a traditional "Tiger Cruise" for family members.

Stephen Rodrick provides not one, but three narratives in this book.
-The first is the search to learn more about who his father was: as a person, as a commanding officer and as a pilot. It is not a spoiler to say that Stephen learns his father was, like all of us a complex mix. And as with all sons who eventually must view their father through an adult lens, the reality adds ambiguity to the personal myth.

-The second story Rodrick provides is that of the current generation of EA-6B flyers, flying these long-serving aircraft from the USS Nimitz in their last operational deployment before being replaced by the EA-18G Growler. Given extended access throughout the command assignment of CDR James "Tupper" Ware, Rodrick captures the forward end of the work his father did away from home with objectivity and passion. It's all here: the long hours, the time away from home, the endless silliness and dark humor of naval aviation, the hard choices that those in command face --often alone-- every day. Rodrick neither romanticizes nor demonizes any of those, but he gets it all right: wardroom politics, personal and cultural conflicts between different aircraft communities and different brands of aviators. And behind it all is the recurring and often lengthy separations from loved ones...separations that often doom both new and old relationships.

-The third story in this book is the path of an awkward high schooler trying to find his way with no father. Stephen Roderick presents his own story: athletically inept, socially awkward, highly intelligent, academically underperforming and in constant battle with his mother after the death of his father.

Stephen Rodrick does and excellent job interpreting the complexities of naval aviation with a minimum of acronyms, which is quite a trick. And while I noticed two small errors in some of the aviation terms he used, they were minor and do not detract from all that he gets right.

This is a superbly written book and a uniquely American story. Stephen Rodrick dedicates it with words from The Navy Hymn: "to those in peril on the sea". But you don't have to be connected to the Navy to appreciate this story. You just have to have ever wondered about the true nature of your family. This is one person's search for an answer. And if you don't have a lump in your throat at the the end: see a doctor, because your heart might be made of stone.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Great Book on Naval Aviation and the Sacrifices of Military Families! 7 mars 2013
Par Kindle Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I just finished The Magical Stranger: A Son's Journey into His Father's Life by Stephen Rodrick. I can't remember the last time a book touched me as deeply. When Rodrick was 13 years old, his dad, CDR Pete Rodrick, CO of VAQ-135 `Black Ravens' a EA-6B squadron flying off USS Kitty Hawk was killed in an aviation accident leaving his wife and three children. This book is the story of Stephen trying to better understand his dad and what happened to him.

On the surface, Magical Stranger is a simply amazing book about a son's search for information about the aviation mishap that took the life of his father. But there is much, much more to it than that. In addition to the main story, about the tragic death of his father, Rodrick tells two more intertwined stories; the difficulties his family faced after his dad's death, and the difficulties faced by the current generation of naval aviators and their families. Rodrick manages to tell all three stories in a compelling and engaging way. He keeps them all moving forward and really hooks the reader with all three. Although all three stories are compelling, this last one was particularly interesting as Rodrick managed to connect with the aviators currently assigned to the Squadron his dad commanded to tell their story, flying the same aircraft off of the same carriers as his dad.

To have told even one of the three stories would have made an excellent book. To tell all three this well is really something special. Everyone should read this book.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Real Navy Heros - The Navy Wife 2 juin 2013
Par Matthew T Maxwell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Title: The Real Navy Heros - The Navy Wife

I read with great interest "The Magical Stranger" since I was the first Commanding Officer of the VAQ-135 Black Ravens' EA6Bs. I also had the honor of serving in two prior assignments with the author's father Pete Rodrick, a remarkable and very professional Naval officer.

The author Steven Rodrick was a Navy junior, but lost his dad at a very young age. In his search into his fathers life, Steven spent much time on board ship and at Whidbey Island Washington Naval Air Station with the Black Ravens. With this research he did a remarkable job of portraying life in a Naval aviation squadron. His reflections were that of one of us who had lived the life as a profession.

He documents better than any book I have read, the sacrifices of the Navy wife and their families in service to our country. This was epitomized by his very special mother Barbara Rodrick. We often praise our service men without realizing the tremendous contributions of our families to the success and leadership of our service members.

I do feel, however that the author over emphasized the dark side of serving, but that can be expected with his tragic loss at a young age. My command tour with The Black Ravens was the pinnacle of my professional navy career and I had hoped that we built a platform for the world famous Black Ravens. Today they move forward with the squadrons transition to the Boeing EA18G Growler.

"Magical Stranger" is a must read for every Naval Aviator and for our wonderful and supportive Navy wives.

Captain Tom Maxwell (USN ret.)
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Must read now! 28 juin 2013
Par Lt (JG) Crewson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
An esteemed and respected (self entitled) figure in Naval Aviation is a Landing Signal Officer. Their purpose is to grade every landing aboard an aircraft carrier and evaluate the pilot on their performance. A typical point of pride (and comment of preemptive defense) is to say that they are "merely historians delivering only the truth. They take pride to note that being slave to the truth makes them incapable of lying or hiding the truth, even if it can be difficult for the listener to hear or accept.

This reflection is a perfect allegory for Mr. Rodrick's body of work in "Magical Stranger". It would seem that the "Naval Aviation LSO truth" DNA of CDR Pete Rodrick is resident in his son, regardless of the difference in their equally promising lifestyles and careers. Somewhere off the coast of Diego Garcia, the ghost of Pete Rodrick is smiling and enjoying his son's inherent ability to reveal and deliver the absolute truth. Although I must say that the "difficulty of the listener to accept" part does not exist at all here. It is an enjoyable read and will entice any reader with a desire to learn more about author's journey, as well as most of the characters in the book. For in the truth of the struggles of mother, son, father, "Skipper", Aviator, military wife, military child, etc, the book will reveal a universal revelation of the challenges of coming to grips with our past and the desire to turn those revelations into something positive for our future. In others words, There is something in this book that will appeal and resonate with anyone.

Rodrick has a Tim O'Brien-esque manner of tying multiple concurrent stories into a single thread of humanity. The fact that you do not see them all tied together until the end is the precise reason that a reader will not want to put down the book. The book entails past, present, and future, cutting to the depths of who we are as we evaluate the pieces of the past that makes us who we are. Watching Stephen trace his past, gain insight to his father's life through the process of acquiring unfiltered access to his father's squadron (read "previously hidden" life), as well as connect with their families, we as readers are allowed to enjoy the privilege of his access. We are allowed to witness military life in a time of war, watch a man get to view life through the lens of his father's past, and view the power of the realization that honesty, truth, love, and friendship can overcome the once accepted all-consuming pain of a past loss.

Certainly there may always be a tinge of pain through the memory of a lost loved one, but when allowed to watch others in their struggles, and allowed to share in ours, we can realize that we are not alone. We get to realize that our struggles are not so unique. That through the "truth" (which is presented in full frontal force by the author) that cuts through the barriers that we create, we find the beauty of life. We can accept the knowledge that our pain may be fleeting, and that in the places that we may least expect, there may lie redemption. The fact that Stephen refused to accept life as he knew it; was willing to take a journey towards redemption and document his his path with an unshakable honesty, is our gain. This is what makes this book a MUST READ.

As a current member of Naval Aviation, and the Whidbey Island community at that, I am sure there will be circles of people who are concerned about the portrayals of many of the characters in the book. Certainly those with personal knowledge of those individuals. To that end I would say this; to paint a flowery and flattering picture of the men, women, and families of VAQ-135 would have done no service to the book or to the community. It also would have been met with skepticism by anyone who was actually there. Regards the characters, my first comment are to those who judge. I can only say "be sure your house is in order." There are very few "skippers" in the world and unless you have been one in the past perhaps judgement is better left elsewhere. (Although I could say that for all members of the book and not just the "skippers" in the book)

Secondly, I will say this; no one is treated more harshly in this book than the author himself. In that, he has earned the right to tell this story exactly as he has seen it. Those who are in the book would agree. The fact that some of the content does not look like sunshine and roses only solidifies its place as a re-creation of truth and gives the story a life that will guarantee to inspire. Certainly it will solicit more inspiration than any pablum piece that may try to buy into the current societal thought that you can get something for nothing, and that a cheap 15 minutes of fame without substance is something that should be rewarded. The goodness in life comes from truth. and in this, we are richly rewarded by Mr. Rodrick's prose.

Take a read. You will not be disappointed!
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant, plain and simple 18 octobre 2013
Par Alyssa A. Lappen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Having lost my father when I was 14, I understand what it is to have a lifelong search for the missing parent. Indeed, I have written a thing or two on this subject myself, the best being a poem entitled "Dad."

From that sympathetic perspective I came to Stephen Rodrick's book on his own personal search which began 12 years or so after mine.

Readers should not miss a single word of this genuinely brilliant work, masterfully written and exceedingly poignant. The book will undoubtedly resonate with anyone who has ever lost anyone close, as it did with me, but it should also resonate with everyone, for the simple reason that the volume captures something more than your usual book---about what it means to be human, what it means to be a creature made by the Divine, what it means to have a connection with family, other people, as well as spirit and ideas unseen, what it means to be imperfect and always seek to improve and to make the world a better place.

This is quite simply one of the best books I have read in a very very long time.

Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.

--- Alyssa A. Lappen
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