Russell Baker is the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner for Distinguished Commentary and a columnist for The New York Times. This book traces his youth in the mountains of rural Virginia.
When Baker was only five, his father died. His mother, strong-willed and matriarchal, never looked back. After all, she had three children to raise.
These were depression years, and Mrs. Baker moved her fledgling family to Baltimore. Baker's mother was determined her children would succeed, and we know her regimen worked for Russell. He did everything from delivering papers to hustling subscriptions for the Saturday Evening Post. As is often the case, early hardships made the man.
''Growing Up'' is touching and funny, a hopeless muddle of sadness and laughter that bears a suspicious resemblance to real life....Like all the best humor, Mr. Baker's is grounded in truth and mellowed by a sense of the sadness in things.... His laughs are distilled from the juices of life. He draws from a time and a world very much in the American grain: memories of listening to grown-ups rocking on the porch and sonorously reciting cliches or of Depression evenings in Baltimore spent around the kitchen table with endless talk and cups of coffee. -- New York Times