A Song in the Night
A Memoir of Resilience
By Bob Massie
(Nan A. Talese, Hardcover, 9780385535755, 304pp.)
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
In this inspiring memoir of faith and perseverance, Bob Massie recounts how a childhood illness laid the foundation for a life filled with compassion and activism.
Bob Massie was born with classical hemophilia, a painful disorder that caused repeated bleeding in his joints and slowly robbed him of the ability to walk. Though bound to leg braces and wheelchairs as a child, his curiosity and enthusiasm pulled him relentlessly outward toward knowledge and people. Gradually he fought back and eventually succeeded not only in walking again but in traveling widely through a life of passion and commitment. He graduated in history from Princeton, where he organized the opening up of the university's exclusive club system, and later was ordained as an Episcopal minister. After several years teaching children and working with the homeless in New York City, he moved to the challenging halls of Harvard Business School, where he earned a doctorate while tending to a devoted but struggling congregation in the working-class city of Somerville, Massachusetts.
Though the medical dangers increased—he had acquired the HIV and hepatitis through transfusions for hemophilia—he continued to press for justice. He wrote a prizewinning book on South African apartheid, led one of America's most innovative environmental groups, ran for lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, and created the world's leading standard for corporate sustainability. Then, in 2002, the same year Massie was named one of the 100 most influential people in the field of finance by CFO magazine, he received more devastating health news. The hepatitis was causing his liver to fail, and Massie was brought close to death in 2009.
After surviving these remarkable challenges, Bob Massie is now ready to share his story. Though his journey has not been easy, he writes about it with tremendous grace and candor. In an era rife with disillusionment, A Song in the Night will inspire everyone who reads it.
"A good friend and a visionary leader, Bob Massie has combined foresight, passion, and skill to create lasting change in the US and around the world. In A Song in the Night, Bob shares deeply personal stories that help describe how he overcame great challenges to forge such strong commitments for his work and family. Bob has lived an incredible life, and we are so fortunate that he has shared it with us in this wonderful new book." —Al Gore
"I admire and deeply respect Bob Massie’s courage, his compassion, and his eloquence. He is a good man. His life's work has focused on social justice, public service, and faith, and I know he will continue to work tirelessly to make this a more just world." —Elizabeth Warren
BOB MASSIE is an American environmental leader, author, Episcopal priest, and former anti-apartheid activist. His book Loosing the Bonds: America and South Africa in the Apartheid Years won the Lionel Gelber Prize for the Best Book on International Relations in 1997. He lives in Massachusetts.
"The cynics among us will be rankled at the description of a book as 'inspiring,' but Massie is the genuine article. Although not yet an old man, he has already led an unbelievably full life that defies summary in a brief review. Without a trace of self-aggrandizement, Massie evocatively depicts the crucible in which his character was tempered, and how his expansive love for humanity is due largely to the heroic love shown to him by his parents (both noteworthy Wikipedia page holders themselves) when he needed it most."
—The Daily Beast
"An intrepid autobiographical journey … Mr. Massie does inspire."
—The Wall Street Journal
"An exuberant memoir...Massie's eclectic career sparks a wealth of cross-cutting insights...[his] success at shrugging off his fetters makes for a moving saga of faith and perseverance."
"Born with hemophilia, Massie’s childhood combined bouts of intense pain and disappointment with unabashed joy and lavish family affection. In this moving memoir, the author recounts how this doubled-edged environment laid the foundation for a life filled with compassion and activism....A testament to the strength and goodness within the human spirit."
"This is an inspiring story of one man’s struggle with illness and a sharp analysis of moral, social, and economic issues."
"A good friend and a visionary leader, Bob Massie has combined foresight, passion, and skill to create lasting change in the US and around the world. In A Song in the Night, Bob shares deeply personal stories that help describe how he overcame great challenges to forge such strong commitments for his work and family. Bob has lived an incredible life, and we are so fortunate that he has shared it with us in this wonderful new book."
"I admire and deeply respect Bob Massie’s courage, his compassion, and his eloquence. He is a good man. His life's work has focused on social justice, public service, and faith, and I know he will continue to work tirelessly to make this a more just world."
"A Song in the Night is a moving and memorable story of courage, conviction, and personal relationships that touched me deeply. Bob Massie is quietly and eloquently heroic in a way I won't soon forget."
"Bob Massie is one of the country's great heroes. Despite--or really because of--the adversity he's faced, he's tried at every turn to change the world for the better. And he's succeeded with gratifying frequency! Eloquent writing about a remarkable life!"
—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"A memoir can hold the reader’s interest only when its writer has been involved in 'the action and passion of his times.' Bob Massie has. He has swum in the tricky currents of politics, a novice boldly running for public office. He has served local churches as a minister in a metropolis and in a small city. He has led a pioneering environmental protection group. And he has successfully fought back against three life threatening diseases. What’s more he writes about it all engagingly, drawing the reader into a tumultuous life that he has lived with genuine inner serenity and self-deprecating humor."
—Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith
"Courageously, patiently — and sometimes with a crowbar — Bob Massie emerged from the exclusion and suffering of a rare lifelong bleeding disorder to become the rarest of leaders — a Lawrence of Hemophilia, an Ivy League Gandhi, a Moses of Sustainability, a Clark Kent/Superman mediating between opposing forces battling for the fate of lovely Planet Earth. Massie’s deeply felt and admirably distilled song, which is the story of all human beings breaking out of the cocoon of self into global compassion, will inspire you to live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively."
—David Michaelis, author of Schulz and Peanuts