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On Admiration: Heroes, Heroines, Role Models, and Mentors

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In a refreshing departure from today’s celebrity worship cultivated by reality television, tabloid photos, and celebrity twittering, award-winning novelist W. D. Wetherell's On Admiration celebrates the heroes and heroines who have peopled his life from his earliest years. Writers, singers, presidents, athletes, cartoonists, artists, activists, and many more are examined h In a refreshing departure from today’s celebrity worship cultivated by reality television, tabloid photos, and celebrity twittering, award-winning novelist W. D. Wetherell's On Admiration celebrates the heroes and heroines who have peopled his life from his earliest years. Writers, singers, presidents, athletes, cartoonists, artists, activists, and many more are examined here—from Henry David Thoreau to Willa Cather to Albert Camus to Dwight D. Eisenhower to Winston Churchill to Beverly Sills—in this humorous, insightful memoir that speaks powerfully about the state of fame, celebrity culture, and honest admiration. Wetherell skillfully reminds us of the magic and mystery that comes with slow discovery—of that first awareness of those figures who awoke something within us, that inspired us as children, teenagers, and adults—forever altering the landscape of ourselves. From visiting Herman Melville’s study where Melville wrote Moby Dick to being a Rangers fan living in NYC—Wetherell examines the meaning of the American cultural landscape—and its remnants—in a candid and personal memoir like no other before him. With this lively and exacting series of pop culture essays, Wetherell joins the ranks of David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and Chuck Klosterman.


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In a refreshing departure from today’s celebrity worship cultivated by reality television, tabloid photos, and celebrity twittering, award-winning novelist W. D. Wetherell's On Admiration celebrates the heroes and heroines who have peopled his life from his earliest years. Writers, singers, presidents, athletes, cartoonists, artists, activists, and many more are examined h In a refreshing departure from today’s celebrity worship cultivated by reality television, tabloid photos, and celebrity twittering, award-winning novelist W. D. Wetherell's On Admiration celebrates the heroes and heroines who have peopled his life from his earliest years. Writers, singers, presidents, athletes, cartoonists, artists, activists, and many more are examined here—from Henry David Thoreau to Willa Cather to Albert Camus to Dwight D. Eisenhower to Winston Churchill to Beverly Sills—in this humorous, insightful memoir that speaks powerfully about the state of fame, celebrity culture, and honest admiration. Wetherell skillfully reminds us of the magic and mystery that comes with slow discovery—of that first awareness of those figures who awoke something within us, that inspired us as children, teenagers, and adults—forever altering the landscape of ourselves. From visiting Herman Melville’s study where Melville wrote Moby Dick to being a Rangers fan living in NYC—Wetherell examines the meaning of the American cultural landscape—and its remnants—in a candid and personal memoir like no other before him. With this lively and exacting series of pop culture essays, Wetherell joins the ranks of David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and Chuck Klosterman.

22 review for On Admiration: Heroes, Heroines, Role Models, and Mentors

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Stern

    People and events, large and small, influence our lives. Thought provoking. I received On Admiration, by W.D. Wetherell as a gift, and what a gift indeed. In part the book is a memoir, but more a heartfelt tale of the power others have on us throughout our lives. Who we admire, who we wish to emulate, who influences us, who we really want to be, is the thread throughout the book. Although the story is the author's journey, he points out the road that we may not even know we are taking, and with a People and events, large and small, influence our lives. Thought provoking. I received On Admiration, by W.D. Wetherell as a gift, and what a gift indeed. In part the book is a memoir, but more a heartfelt tale of the power others have on us throughout our lives. Who we admire, who we wish to emulate, who influences us, who we really want to be, is the thread throughout the book. Although the story is the author's journey, he points out the road that we may not even know we are taking, and with a beautiful selection of words, subtly presents a challenge to consider our own paths and how we get there. Perhaps it takes some distance to look back and see who and what guides us, but On Admiration provides a splendid tour book. I can truly say I have become a fan of W. D. Wetherell. You should not miss this opportunity.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    It's hard not to fall in love with certain celebrities and be mesmerized by their every move. It is sad that famous people can be an overnight sensation just by partying like idiots. We as humans should be more amazed by a person who uses their resources to help all of mankind. W.D. Wetherell knows and explains in his book how admiring the wrong people can affect the way you act and feel. I really enjoyed this book and think that this book will be especially helpful to today's teens. It's hard not to fall in love with certain celebrities and be mesmerized by their every move. It is sad that famous people can be an overnight sensation just by partying like idiots. We as humans should be more amazed by a person who uses their resources to help all of mankind. W.D. Wetherell knows and explains in his book how admiring the wrong people can affect the way you act and feel. I really enjoyed this book and think that this book will be especially helpful to today's teens.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Shields Ebersole

    A life story told by remembering the heroes of each part of the author's life, from childhood to the present. I LOVED this structure--I wish it were a typical genre, so I could read such memoirs by lots of different folks. So fascinating. Five stars for the first half; the latter half dragged a bit for me, as the objects of admiration included a lot of musicians and visual artists--a difficult subject to write engagingly about. I also appreciated how much this made me want to set up my own menta A life story told by remembering the heroes of each part of the author's life, from childhood to the present. I LOVED this structure--I wish it were a typical genre, so I could read such memoirs by lots of different folks. So fascinating. Five stars for the first half; the latter half dragged a bit for me, as the objects of admiration included a lot of musicians and visual artists--a difficult subject to write engagingly about. I also appreciated how much this made me want to set up my own mental hall of heroes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Martindale

    Since the story of my life is anything but book worthy, if I were to ever write a memoir, it would need to largely capture the ruminations, thought-obsessions, observations and the analogies and metaphors I created to make sense of life. For me, though I have had a rather mundane story, the inner life has made it adventurous and worth living. So brief narrative would be a good setting for what I consider the interesting stuff that would make the book more worth reading. Wetherell, also had the s Since the story of my life is anything but book worthy, if I were to ever write a memoir, it would need to largely capture the ruminations, thought-obsessions, observations and the analogies and metaphors I created to make sense of life. For me, though I have had a rather mundane story, the inner life has made it adventurous and worth living. So brief narrative would be a good setting for what I consider the interesting stuff that would make the book more worth reading. Wetherell, also had the sense that his life story wouldn't necessarily make for a thrilling read, so he decide to write his memoir by writing about those he admired while growing up and on into adulthood. I think this was a splendid idea. Goo Goo Dolls sang "All we are is what we're told and most of that's been lies" And it really is bizarre to think to what an extent we really are a complex web of what we're told, ideas, impressions and influences from other people. There is the saying that we "become what we worship" and in ways it is true. But who and why do we admire certain people instead of others? Wetherell had a inclination towards atheist and leftist and unsurprisingly he was shaped into a secular liberal, while for me, I was inclined towards the reasoning and the lives of classical liberals and those with strong Christian convictions. I imagine our personality, place in life, friends, previous experiences/upbring and our interpretive framework by which we made sense of it all, along with the subconscious may have a large sway on why we admired certain people and than were shaped to be like those we admired. Being so different from Wetherell I am bemused by how he could admire ones like Bertrand Russell for their morality and ethics, even wishing Russel would be taught and read by children during their formative years. It was Russell who while referring to the Holocaust said "'Dachau is wrong' is not a fact. Gravity IS a fact. But 'Dachau is wrong' is not a fact. I think it's wrong, but I can't prove it.” For Russell (admired because he taught free love and ridiculed the family structure) not even the Holocaust was objectively wrong. It was little more than "like I prefer Coke and you prefer Pepsi" but with a lot more bias and emotion behind it . But of course Russell tried to push his subjective moral preferences on others and he lived contrary to his absurd beliefs. Also, for all his logic, he thought only science could show us what is true, but this is a philosophical statement, and thus if true, the statement is false. Yes, he was one bright cookie indeed. Fortunately, it was Jimmy Carter who showed for Wetherell that "not all Christians were hypocrites" The poor Wetherell had to live through Reagan and the Bush years, fortunately there were a few out there that he admired that helped him through this hell. But the book ends glorious with some unadulterated Obama worship, finally he was filled again with child like, fawning admiration and hope.

  5. 4 out of 5

    MaryEllen Clark

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris Spaigjht

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Hill

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dewdropmon

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ross Anderson

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Harrington

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany B.

  14. 5 out of 5

    T.P. Davis

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Moon

  16. 5 out of 5

    Countess of Frogmere

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mohcine Gaissi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Miss Fiona

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sprite1989

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kanchi

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Ants

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily Fore

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