Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things to Change the Face of America
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Stories of some plain folks who get mad as hell about some injustice or other and, rather than simply complain, decide to do something about it. While Kasich has perhaps been genuinely influenced by the 20 small-town —heroes— he describes here, only the most naive observer would forget that he’s also an unusually motivated Ohio congressman with his eye on the White House for 2000. That cynical observation aside, the people in Kasich’s book do seem worthy of note on their own terms. And so does the author’s main point: that we all could make this a better country by just volunteering one hour of our time weekly to a worthy cause. Those who are profiled here, are just —regular— people whose volunteer efforts are often made at a considerable sacrifice. Loretta Nagle, for instance, worried about what would become of a fellow nurse’s developmentally disabled daughter once she and her husband, now approaching their 60s, were no longer able to care for her. As a result, she began creating homes within her Michigan community where such adults could live under supervision. Mentally retarded shoeshine man Albert Lexie, meanwhile, seems to be a living testimony to the adage that every little bit helps: for year,s he’s been donating to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh the tips he makes shining doctors’ and administrators’ shoes at that same institution. His total: $40,000, and still shining. Although the overall effect of these true-life stories and meliorist philosophies can be a little cloying, we could do worse than be inspired by them. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-49147-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998