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A thoroughly engaging account of a modern-day adventurer in the Alaskan backcountry—with spiritual elements mixed in.

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A bush pilot relates his many encounters with his guardian angel in Alaska.

Bingman’s debut book is a fast-paced and ultimately winning combination of backwoods adventure yarns and personal faith journey centering on his audacious life as a bush pilot, fisherman, and jack-of-all-trades in the Alaskan wilderness. But the heart of the work is his accounts of his relationship with an angel simply named Joe. The escapades are told with smooth storytelling confidence that should appeal to armchair sports enthusiasts. The author comes from a family of pilots and risk-takers and he gives the impression of having found his real spiritual home in the Alaskan woods, where so many aviators have lived before him. “The back country of Alaska,” he tells his readers, “is riddled with twisted metal that once flew to that very spot and is now just someone’s story, slowly fading away.” But Bingman’s own tales are set apart by the presence of Joe, who turns up for conversations and moments of insight and almost always gives the author a feeling of companionship he wants to share with his readers. He hopes readers will “reflect on subtle miracles that have happened in your life and, with God’s help, start to realize that you are never truly alone.” Christian audiences will no doubt find some of Bingman’s Joe stories familiar to their own experiences, although more skeptical readers will likely wonder about some of the details. For instance, when a charging bear changes course at the last minute in the Ugashik district, the author thanks Joe “for being there for me when I needed him most.” But the angel makes no appearance in the tale—he just gets the credit. Such conveniences are common in this kind of faith recounting, and Bingman folds them so seamlessly into his personal reflections that even the most secular readers should find them easy reading.

A thoroughly engaging account of a modern-day adventurer in the Alaskan backcountry—with spiritual elements mixed in.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973610-39-7

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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