Eight Is Enough
A Father's Memoir of Life with His Extra-Large Family
by Tom Braden
Pub Date 20 Jun 2017
The true story behind the classic TV show: A father’s delightful account of raising eight free-spirited children in 1970s America.
Tom Braden had a colorful career: He parachuted into Nazi-occupied France, directed the CIA’s covert operations program during the early years of the Cold War, ran for public office, owned a newspaper, served as executive secretary for the Museum of Modern Art, and cohosted the CNN show Crossfire. He counted among his friends David Brinkley, Robert Frost, Kirk Douglas, and Nelson Rockefeller. But Braden considered fatherhood both his most important job and his biggest adventure. No wonder; he and his wife, Joan, a State Department official and Washington society hostess, raised eight children during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.
In this diverting family memoir, Braden shares a treasure trove of amusing anecdotes—from the time his youngest daughter’s pet sheep interrupted a dinner party with a Supreme Court justice to the telegram US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sent after the birth of the Bradens’ eighth child: “Congratulations. I surrender.” (The Kennedys had seven children at the time). With wit and wisdom, Braden also addresses some of the most serious issues, including drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex, faced by parents in an era of deep distrust between generations.
When ABC proposed adapting Eight Is Enough for television, Braden found the idea so preposterous he sold the rights for one dollar. The award-winning series starring Dick Van Patten and Betty Buckley ran for five seasons and launched the Hollywood careers of many young actors, including Willie Aames and Ralph Macchio. A celebration of the joys and tribulations of fatherhood, Eight Is Enough speaks with warmth, humor, and compassion to parents and children everywhere.
“Tom Braden has done us a favor. . . . Here are easy-to-read and well-told anecdotes of a large and exceedingly active group, with an occasional bit of provocative philosophizing thrown in.” —Walter Cronkite
“What a delightful book! I must contradict the author—eight is not enough. I enjoyed being part of the family.” —Kirk Douglas
“Braden used his experiences with his children as object lessons in generational change. Outnumbered by his brood, he’d had to become as much of an observer as an authoritarian; and his feelings about drugs, fashion, and pre-marital sex softened as he watched his children thrive while making what Braden’s generation would’ve deemed ‘mistakes.’” —A.V. Club
“Tom Braden has had eight children and lived to tell about it. Indeed, in his new book he tells about it with grace, with wisdom and with humor. Parents will certainly cherish this book and I think that some of their children will too.” —Jean Kerr, New York Times–bestselling author of Please Don’t Eat the Daisies
“Eight Is Enough is a most diverting book, guaranteed to send fathers back to their paternal labors refreshed and edified.” —Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Thousand Days