The Growing Seasons
An American Boyhood Before the War
By Samuel Hynes
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780142003961, 304pp.)
Publication Date: February 24, 2004
List Price: $14.00*
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For Americans who grew up in the 1930s, the phrase "before the war" calls up a distant time as remote from the way we live now as some foreign country. Looking back with a clear-eyed, unsentimental gaze, Samuel Hynes describes his midwestern boyhood during the lean times of the Great Depression: his father's wandering search for work; a long, hot summer on a farm; rough-and-tumble games in city alleys; the temptations of sex, stealing, and drinking; the wonder of falling in love for the first time. With eloquence and humor Hynes recaptures the dreams, adventures, sins, and triumphs of his American boyhood in the years of hardship and innocence before the war.
Samuel Hynes is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of several major works of literary criticism, including The Auden Generation, Edwardian Occasions, and The Edwardian Turn of Mind. Hynes's wartime experiences as a Marine Corps pilot were the basis for his highly praised memoir, Flights of Passage. The Soldiers' Tale, his book about soldiers' narratives of the two world wars and Vietnam, won a Robert F. Kennedy Award. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.