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A Peculiar Treasure: Autobiography

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Sparkling with humor and insight, this brilliant autobiography, published in 1938, reads as if it were written yesterday."Here is her dramatic story, told with wit and humor and compassion, intensity and pride, and always with brilliant reporting." (The New York Times)Edna Ferber began her writing career as a newspaper reporter in Chicago and Milwaukee. She was catapulted Sparkling with humor and insight, this brilliant autobiography, published in 1938, reads as if it were written yesterday."Here is her dramatic story, told with wit and humor and compassion, intensity and pride, and always with brilliant reporting." (The New York Times)Edna Ferber began her writing career as a newspaper reporter in Chicago and Milwaukee. She was catapulted into the "literary hall of fame" in 1924 when her book So Big was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.


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Sparkling with humor and insight, this brilliant autobiography, published in 1938, reads as if it were written yesterday."Here is her dramatic story, told with wit and humor and compassion, intensity and pride, and always with brilliant reporting." (The New York Times)Edna Ferber began her writing career as a newspaper reporter in Chicago and Milwaukee. She was catapulted Sparkling with humor and insight, this brilliant autobiography, published in 1938, reads as if it were written yesterday."Here is her dramatic story, told with wit and humor and compassion, intensity and pride, and always with brilliant reporting." (The New York Times)Edna Ferber began her writing career as a newspaper reporter in Chicago and Milwaukee. She was catapulted into the "literary hall of fame" in 1924 when her book So Big was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

30 review for A Peculiar Treasure: Autobiography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    If I could award 500 stars, this book would get every single one of them. It’s just that great. Edna Ferber published this in 1938-9, as she watched the world descending into the Nazi chaos that would claim the next decade. But it is more than just a comment on anti-Semitism or oppression. Instead, this is a book about growing up in America and PAYING ATTENTION to all the things that make living in America (and, indeed, on Planet Earth) such a great experience. Ferber doesn’t sugarcoat it. She te If I could award 500 stars, this book would get every single one of them. It’s just that great. Edna Ferber published this in 1938-9, as she watched the world descending into the Nazi chaos that would claim the next decade. But it is more than just a comment on anti-Semitism or oppression. Instead, this is a book about growing up in America and PAYING ATTENTION to all the things that make living in America (and, indeed, on Planet Earth) such a great experience. Ferber doesn’t sugarcoat it. She tells us of the bigots and the narrow-minds; she has encountered injustice and greed in her research of life. It’s all good and all bad and all human. She brings out the questions about what we are going to do about the evil we see around us, but she never acts like she is not in the fight with us, not looking for a way to elevate humanity to our potential. I’ve read a number of Ferber’s books, and I love them. But this autobiography is maybe her best piece of writing ever. She shares with us her own journey as a writer: her background, her processes, her strengths and weaknesses. She also shares what it is like to be a fully engaged citizen who is watching what goes on in the world and learning from and about it all. I can’t help but think that this would be a great textbook to use in teaching classes on writing, critical thinking, civic engagement, and all-around communication. She develops it all. I can’t recommend this book enough. What a treasure!

  2. 5 out of 5

    CindySlowReader#GimmeDatVac!

    This autobio is well named but there are so many treasures here, not just one. Ferber was born in the late 1800s and she traveled extensively. She saw and appreciated a pre-war Europe. She knew and worked with so many famous people. She describes the life of a writer and a playwright bringing several plays and novels to fruition. She thought of America as a treasure, her Jewish heritage as a treasure and her life as a writer a treasure. I think she is an underrated American treasure. The story en This autobio is well named but there are so many treasures here, not just one. Ferber was born in the late 1800s and she traveled extensively. She saw and appreciated a pre-war Europe. She knew and worked with so many famous people. She describes the life of a writer and a playwright bringing several plays and novels to fruition. She thought of America as a treasure, her Jewish heritage as a treasure and her life as a writer a treasure. I think she is an underrated American treasure. The story ends before WW2 breaks out and before she writes my favorite Ferber, GIANT. There is a second called A Kind of Magic written in 1963. Gotta hunt that one down.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Shipp

    I loved this book. Edna grew up in the late 1800s in little towns in middle America, often the only Jewish family in the area. That alone was hard. Always interesting to me to hear what people remember about their beginnings. SHE was a woman of the times, beginning to just break out of the old female roles. At 17 she wanted to be a newspaper reporter. With malice, they assigned her to cover the night court proceedings. A virginal, sheltered girl with a big ribbon in her hair, heard about prostit I loved this book. Edna grew up in the late 1800s in little towns in middle America, often the only Jewish family in the area. That alone was hard. Always interesting to me to hear what people remember about their beginnings. SHE was a woman of the times, beginning to just break out of the old female roles. At 17 she wanted to be a newspaper reporter. With malice, they assigned her to cover the night court proceedings. A virginal, sheltered girl with a big ribbon in her hair, heard about prostitution, rape, drugs and other violence. She learned and stood up to it. She kept working and then became a writer. I love her descriptions about how she wrote a book. A phrase or even a word would set off a bell in her head and she knew what she had to write about next. This book was published in 1938 and there is a painful little riff running through the book about the horror of Hitler and the antisemitism of Germany at that time. And, Jeeze, the war and the camps hadn't even started yet, I wanted to say "Look out! It's worse than you could ever have dreamed!" but it is 1938 in her time and she is just telling it like she sees it. She wrote the story on which the musical Showboat was based.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    So this book took me a little while to get through. It is fairly long. I enjoyed it immensely but at the same time it did seem to ramble on at times. I also found myself asking questions that she never seemed to answer. She was thorough about her life but at the same time not really. I did find her commentary on life and the world and history very interesting. However, I finished the book wanting to know more facts about her life, not just her insight. I really love this author and have read eve So this book took me a little while to get through. It is fairly long. I enjoyed it immensely but at the same time it did seem to ramble on at times. I also found myself asking questions that she never seemed to answer. She was thorough about her life but at the same time not really. I did find her commentary on life and the world and history very interesting. However, I finished the book wanting to know more facts about her life, not just her insight. I really love this author and have read everything of hers I can find. So if you feel the same, then this is worth the read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    A charming autobiography by the critically and popularly successful author of So Big and Show Boat and playwriting collaborator of George S. Kaufman. Ferber is largely forgotten these days, but some years ago, my mother mentioned this memoir as particularly influential to her, and I can understand why: modest high school-educated Midwestern girl stumbles into newspaper writing and eventually makes good. An aspect of Ferber that is less apparent in her novels is her Jewish heritage; writing here, A charming autobiography by the critically and popularly successful author of So Big and Show Boat and playwriting collaborator of George S. Kaufman. Ferber is largely forgotten these days, but some years ago, my mother mentioned this memoir as particularly influential to her, and I can understand why: modest high school-educated Midwestern girl stumbles into newspaper writing and eventually makes good. An aspect of Ferber that is less apparent in her novels is her Jewish heritage; writing here, in 1939, she is forthright in her defense of Jews already subject to six years of oppression in German Europe.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Herb

    This, the first volume of Edna Ferber's memoirs, is a real walk in the past. It ends midway in her fascinating life, to be picked up by a companion volume over twenty years later. The author of "Show Boat," "Giant," and "So Big" led just as interesting a life as her many famed characters. This, the first volume of Edna Ferber's memoirs, is a real walk in the past. It ends midway in her fascinating life, to be picked up by a companion volume over twenty years later. The author of "Show Boat," "Giant," and "So Big" led just as interesting a life as her many famed characters.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jaclynn

    an endearing,personal account of a well loved newspaper woman,author, playwright and commentator of our countries "mindset" 1900-1950's an endearing,personal account of a well loved newspaper woman,author, playwright and commentator of our countries "mindset" 1900-1950's

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sharone

    Ferber is a national treasure, and viewing the 20th century through her eyes and experiences is fascinating. I might become a Ferber evangelist.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Denise Eggleston

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gail

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marji

  12. 4 out of 5

    Keith

  13. 5 out of 5

    Goldentuf

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

  15. 4 out of 5

    Philip Fretz

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maresa

  17. 5 out of 5

    Helen Caroll

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Zahner

  19. 5 out of 5

    Thom Dunn

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kbeans

  22. 4 out of 5

    David Butler

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tani

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary Alice

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jaladri HF

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Heyman

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

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