Articles — Biographies Memoirs(26)

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

When Chris Hadfield was nine years old he set a goal that seemed impossible. After watching the Apollo moon landing, he decided that he wanted to become an astronaut. The problem was that Canada didn't hire astronauts and had little involvement in space exploration. But that didn't stop Chris. He decided to start thinking like an astronaut and even though it took over two decades or work and study, he was successful. He not only was chosen to go into space three times but, in 2013 was the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station where he lived for...

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Open Heart, Open Mind

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Open Heart, Open Mind

Clara Hughes grew up in a Canadian family that had a lot of problems. Even though her father was a respected university professor, his drinking caused havoc for Clara, her mother and sister. He never encouraged Clara, even after she had become successful in sports. After Clara was older and had moved away from the family's Winnipeg home, she realized that her mother was actually an abused woman. Her sister, also had suffered from the way that her father treated the family and had mental health issues of her own. When Clara was sixteen years old, she watched a speed...

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A House Interrupted

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

A House Interrupted

When the author, Maurita Corcoran, the author of this book, got married, she had no idea about how her past or her husband's past would result in pain for both of them and their children. Maurita was raised by a very busy father and an emotionally distant mother. They lived in a big house and even though their practical needs were met, Mauirta's emotional needs weren't. When Maurita met Ben, he was a lifeguard. He built a very successful career as a physician. Maurita and Ben became the parents of four children. All of their lives were negatively affected when,...

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A President From Hawaii

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

A President From Hawaii

Dr. Carolan and Joanna Carolan have prepared a beautiful book that shows the influence Hawaii had on Barack Obama who grew up there and subsequently became the first President from that state. The less than seventy pages are not only beautifully illustrated but also clearly state the values held by the Hawaiian people, in their language as well as in English. These include: 1. Education: Obama went to school at Punahou and is known as being "askamai" or smart. He has stated that his experience there gave him support and allowed him to grow and prosper. 2. Religion: Even though...

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Weightless: My Life As a Fat Man and How I Escaped

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Weightless: My Life As a Fat Man and How I Escaped

Gregg McBride's parents had serious personal problems. His father, who was an officer in the Armed Forces was also an alcoholic. This postings in various locations meant that the family would have to move a great deal. Gregg's mother, had multiple sclerosis but also had serious emotional problems. She lied to the point of believing herself. For example, she told people who Gregg and his younger sister, Lori, were both adopted even though this was not true. Gregg made many attempts to correct this falsehood, always without success as his mother was so convincing. She was also charming and available...

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Rosa Parks: My Story

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Rosa Parks: My Story

Rosa Parks is credited as being one of the individuals who played a key role in starting the Civil Rights movement in the United States. On December 1, 1955 she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama when asked to do so by the driver. She was threatened by him and then reported to police who arrested her. This book is the story on only of the important incident that sparked significant change in race relations but also of how the woman who is the main character arrived at that situation. Ms. Parks, who...

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"I Must Say" - My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

"I Must Say" - My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend

Martin (Marty) Short was born into an Ontario family as the youngest of five children. His father worked in a steel company during the day and enjoyed drinking alcohol in the evenings. His mother was a musician who always encouraged Marty in his quest to become a singer even when his attempts were somewhat unusual. In fact, Marty spent hours and hours in the upstairs of their home pretending that he was an entertainer. He would record episodes that he dreamed up as well as rather ludicrous conversations that the family had at various times. Marty enrolled in a university...

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Common Ground

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Common Ground

Justin Trudeau was born on December 25, 1971. His father was the Prime Minister of Canada at the time and considerably older than his wife, Margaret Sinclair. Within a few short years, Justin's parents gave birth to two more sons. Growing up in this environment provided both gifts and burdens to the three little boys. Justin's book "Common Ground" describes the many opportunities that he had to travel with his father for governmental trips. He was introduced to world leaders and learned about politics from them and from his learned father. He also, however, suffered greatly from the fighting between...

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Walking the Journey Together... Alone

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Walking the Journey Together... Alone

Cam Scott was a newspaper man. One of his goals in life was to move up the ladder in order to become a publisher. He also loved his family and wanted to spend as much time as possible with his wife and two children. Everything in his life began to change, however, when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer when he was only forty-four years of age. Cam wanted to continue working while his wife wanted him to quit work. She had hoped they could enjoy the time they had left together as she knew that they were not going...

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Love and Louis XIV

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Love and Louis XIV

When Dauphin Louis was born in 1938 his parents Louis XIII and Anne of Austria as well as all of France rejoiced. In those days infant mortality rates were high, especially in royalty where inbreeding with relatives was a common practice. As well, males were valued above females so it was important for a country to have a male heir to the throne. Louis' mother, Queen Anne was of an advanced age when he was born. She had experienced years of miscarriages as well as a difficult relationship with his father so when he was born, she treated him very...

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Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

In 2003 Lady Fiona Carnarvon became the eighth Countess for an estate that includes Highclere Castle. She has been fascinated with the history as well as the ancestors of her husband who have been responsible for Highclere since it was built by he third Earl. This book tells the story of Lady Almina who was the fifth Countess of Carnarvon. She was the illegitimate daughter of Alfred de Rothschild who loved and cared for her financial needs and wants. As a girl she was blessed with everything she asked for. Her beauty made her an attraction to eligible bachelors and...

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Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle is a Jacobethan country house that sits on 5,000 acres in Hampshire England. The eighth Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live in the castle on a part-time basis are very much involved in the daily operations of it which involve farming and tourism. The present Countess, Fiona Carnarvon, is the author of this book which tells the tale of Lady Catherine, a beautiful American woman who captured the heart of Lord Porchester, son of the fifth Earl of Carnarvon. They were married in 1922 and less than a year later, were shocked by the death of the fifth...

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou was born with a first name of Marguerite but her brother couldn't pronounce it properly and, over time, she adopted this as a form of what he called her. Maya and her brother, Bailey were sent to live with their maternal grandmother and uncle when their parents separated. They lived and worked in the store that she ran thus learning about business and people. Their grandmother was very strict with them so homework and church were a regular part of their lives. One day the children were surprised when their father came to visit them. They didn't have...

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Philomena

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Philomena

When Philomena Lee was six years of age, her mother died leaving six small children. Philomena's father couldn't look after them all so he placed the three girls in a home in Limerick that was run by the nuns of the Catholic Church. Philomena was not educated about sexual issues so when she was still a teenager, she met a handsome young man at a fair and had a romantic evening with him, not realizing that there would be consequences. After signs of her pregnancy occurred, Philomena's father disowned her and she moved into Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea Ireland....

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With Eyes From Both Sides

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

With Eyes From Both Sides

Thelma Wright grew up in a good Catholic family in Philadelphia in the 1960s. She was naive about the way that her neighbour had become a place for gangs and drug dealers. In fact, as a young woman, she fell into what she calls "crazy love" with one of the individuals who made his living by selling drugs. With that, of course, came violence and crime. She didn't know all the details of what he was doing and didn't ask for all of them. When her husband was murdered, she became one of the key players, however, and built a...

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12 Years a Slave

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup was born in New York state as a free man. He grew up with parents who were hard-working and established his own family as a young man. In 1841 he was a husband and father of three children who went to Washington DC in the hopes of earning some extra money to support them. Little did he know that his trip would result in him being drugged, beaten and sold into slavery. Solomon didn't have any way of getting help and soon found that he was transported with others who had been captured south to New Orleans. There...

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Let's Take The Long Way Home

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Let's Take The Long Way Home

"Let's Take the Long Way Home" is a memoir of the friendship that was valued between the author, Gail Caldwell and another writer, Caroline Knapp. The two women met when they were adults but there were many similarities that they shared not only at the time that they began establishing their adult relationship but also from their childhood experiences. Gail and Caroline had both struggled with problems resulting from drinking too much. They had each turned to alcohol and used it as an emotional crutch until it began negatively interfering with their lives. Each found it very difficult to give...

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My Heart Shook Like a Drum

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

My Heart Shook Like a Drum

Most people do not fully understand the trauma and pain that resulted for thousands of children who were taken from their parents and placed in mission residential schools by the Canadian Government in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are over 80,000 Aboriginal people who lived in these institutions and are still alive today. Alice Blondin-Perrin, the author of "My Heart Shook Like a Drum" was only four years old when she was separated from most of her family members and put into the St. Joseph's Mission School at Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories. Her book outlines the experiences and abuse...

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Kate The Making of a Princess

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Kate The Making of a Princess

Claudia Joseph has written one of the first biographies of the woman who has not only captured the heart of a prince but also will become the future Queen of England. But this story is not just about the beautiful young woman and her immediate family. In fact, the author takes us back seven generations to the 1700s to meet the ancestors who come from a range of situations. Joseph has done a significant amount of research. She not only talks about the members of each family but also paints the economic and social culture of the days. She takes...

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The Woman I Was Born to Be - My Story

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

The Woman I Was Born to Be - My Story

Before April 2009 few people had met or knew about the beautiful voice that Susan Boyle was to reveal to the world. For years, however, she had used music to deal with the emotional and relational problems that she was experiencing. Susan was born as the ninth child in a Catholic family. Her mother was 45 years of age at the time and, because of her high-risk situation, doctors offered to end the pregnancy. Mrs. Boyle declined but when Susan was born, she had been starved of oxygen and has therefore suffered from learning disabilities ever since her birth. School...

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My Hutterite Life

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

My Hutterite Life

Lisa Marie Stahl grew up in a Hutterite Colony in Montana. As a teenager, she submitted newspaper columns to the Great Falls Tribune which described life in the Anabaptist group. This book is a collection of the articles. The author does an excellent job of inviting the reader into an understanding the values and habits of her people. She talks about the three groups of Hutterites and how they differ from each other but, at the same time, share a common idea about separating themselves from mainstream North America. Ms. Stahl writes about daily life on the colony which includes...

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Spoken From the Heart

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Spoken From the Heart

Laura Bush was born in Texas and raised as an only child where she formed strong bonds particularly with her father. Little would she know that the years ahead would stretch beyond her chosen career as teacher and librarian to place her in roles as First Lady of the state of Texas and of the United States of America. "Spoken from the Heart" is a detailed memoir of Ms. Bush's life which began in November 1946. The 432 page story is divided into eight chapters, each of which focusses on a particular era. The author describes the cultural and family...

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The Bridge - The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

The Bridge - The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

"The Bridge" describes the very personal details of the family and life of Barack Obama as well as the political and social conditions which allowed him to become the first African-American President of the United States. The author, David Remnick, who is a journalist, traces the historical aspects of the civil rights movement which began in slavery, advanced to a Bloody Sunday race confrontation in Selma Alabama and climaxed in the 2009 inauguration. Much of the personal story of Barack Obama could be found in his autobiography or in the numerous biographical snippets found and presented by the media throughout...

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Joe Biden - Promises to Keep

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

Joe Biden - Promises to Keep

This 2007 book published by Random House 2007 is not only a personal biography but also a chronicle of political events during Senator Joe Biden's life before he became Vice-President of the United States. Joe Biden was born into a strong Irish Catholic household where family was extremely important. He also formed bonds with peers and mentors who influenced him throughout his life. Despite this, Mr. Biden has faced much tragedy. His first wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident on their way to purchasing a Christmas tree. His two young sons, who also were in the...

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True Compass - Edward M Kennedy - A Memoir

Dr. Linda Hancock Biographies Memoirs Book Reviews

True Compass - Edward M Kennedy - A Memoir

Apparently Teddy Kennedy's published book arrived at his home the day that he died. It seems rather poignant that the memoir which chronicles his life of seventy-seven years would have such interesting timing. He had started the work in 2004 as an oral history project for the University of Virginia, but, after having been diagnosed with brain cancer followed by surgery and treatment, was spurred on to finish the book in the last year of his life. Kennedy begins offers the read twenty-six chapters, the first of which begins on the day he was born. Four themes that seem to...

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