A Reason to Believe
Lessons from an Improbable Life
By Deval Governor Patrick
(Broadway Books, Hardcover, 9780767931120, 240pp.)
Publication Date: April 12, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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“I’ve simply seen too much goodness in this country—and have come so far in my own journey—not to believe in those ideals, and my faith in the future is sometimes restored under the darkest clouds.” —Governor Deval Patrick
In January 2007, Deval Patrick became the first black governor of the state of Massachusetts, one of only two black governors elected in American history. But that was just one triumphant step in a long, improbable journey that began in a poor tenement on the South Side of Chicago. From a chaotic childhood to an elite boarding school in New England, from a sojourn doing relief work in Africa to the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, and then to a career in politics, Patrick has led an extraordinary life. In this heartfelt and inspirational book, he pays tribute to the family, friends, and strangers who, through words and deeds, have instilled in him transcendent lessons of faith, perseverance, and friendship. In doing so, he reminds us of the power of community and the imperative of idealism. With humility, humor, and grace, he offers a road map for attaining happiness, empowerment, and success while also making an appeal for readers to cultivate those achievements in others, to feel a greater stake in this world, and to shape a life worth living.
Warm, nostalgic, and inspirational, A Reason to Believe is destined to become a timeless tribute to a uniquely American odyssey and a testament to what is possible in our lives and our communities if we are hopeful, generous, and resilient.
GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK is donating a portion of the proceeds from A REASON TO BELIEVE to A Better Chance, a national organization dedicated to opening the doors to greater educational opportunities for young people of color. To learn more, visit www.abetterchance.org.
Governor Deval Patrick was born in Chicago in 1956. After junior high school, he received a scholarship to attend Milton Academy in Massachusetts, and from there he graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has worked as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and was later appointed, by President Clinton, as the assistant attorney general for civil rights. Governor Patrick has also been general counsel at Texaco and Coca-Cola. In 2010, he began his second term as governor of Massachusetts.
Even Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick himself describes the story of his life â?? from growing up on welfare in Chicago to thriving in business and politics â?? as "improbable." But he had a lot of help, he says, from a loving family and supportive teachers. More at NPR.org
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“[A Reason to Believe] . . . introduces Patrick to a national audience as an inspirational figure guided by optimism and hope who presaged the rise of President Obama.”
–The Boston Globe
Patrick shows himself here to be a gifted writer. Especially engrossing are the early pages on his childhood—he summons forth all the senses as he describes 1950s–60s South Side Chicago...Patrick presents his triumphs here as victories over his own weaknesses. His writings about his wife, Diane, are particularly touching. VERDICT Recommended to readers of memoir and to all keeping an eye on our country’s past and future. –Library Journal
“Governor Patrick’s compelling story is a reminder that no matter how unlikely a child’s future chances might seem on paper, sometimes access to the right opportunities is all it takes to allow the enormous talent and potential that is already there to thrive. A Reason to Believe is rich with the lessons Deval Patrick has learned along his journey.”
-Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund
“Patrick gives powerful voice to the reflective inner man who has a keen eye for things that really matter…A welcome celebration of idealism in a cynical time.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Patrick pays specific and warm tribute to those who helped him, from Chicago public school teachers and elite boarding school masters to families and individuals who gave him shelter, support, and assistance in Africa to an assortment of family, friends, and strangers who encouraged and assisted him, fortifying his sense of social justice, faith, and idealism.”–Booklist
“This remarkable, uplifting memoir is powerful evidence that the American dream still exists. Patrick tells his extraordinary life story with eloquence, grace, and humor, moving skillfully from start to finish between a child’s tender voice and an adult’s perspective.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and author of Team of Rivals
“This fascinating story represents a testament against the self-fulfilling cynicism that increasingly infects the American view of American politics—a testament against stupidity, a testament for honorable public service.” —Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Strength in What Remains and Mountains Beyond Mountains
“As the first black governor of Massachusetts, and as only the second African American to be elected governor in the United States, Deval Patrick is a history-making, pathbreaking figure in our state and national life. With a tremendous record of accomplishment personally, professionally, and politically, he has reason to be immodest! But what we hear instead in this moving account of this good man’s life is a voice of reason and moderation. In these turbulent times, Patrick provides us with a model of public service and a public spirit. He is an inspiration to all of us, on both sides of the aisle.” —Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
“There is no more inspiring story—or more compelling storyteller—in American politics today than Deval Patrick. And in this moving memoir, he shares the lesson of a life well lived: Hope for the best, and work for it.” —David Axelrod
“I met Deval Patrick in the Spring of 1980 at Harvard Law School. I realized quickly that he was a remarkable person—confident, compassionate, and a wonderful listener. He combined a youthful energy with a sense of wisdom and balance that belied his youth. A Reason to Believe describes the unique set of experiences—both difficult and uplifting—that have forged this important and historic public servant. Governor Patrick’s book offers hope to anyone that adversity can be overcome and pain turned into perspective. It also provides a clear-eyed defense of idealism that is rooted in a basic value—everyone has something important to offer the world and the responsibility to do so.” —Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee