Never Give Up
A Prairie Family's Story
by Tom Brokaw
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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2023
Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House
“In our fractured times, this inspiring book reminds us how we can rise to meet our current challenges by honoring the fortitude of the generations before us.”—Walter Isaacson
Tom’s father, Red, left school in the second grade to work in the family hotel—the Brokaw House, established in Bristol, South Dakota, by R. P. Brokaw in 1883. Eventually, through work on construction jobs, Red developed an exceptional talent for machines. Tom’s mother, Jean, was the daughter of a farmer who lost everything during the Great Depression. They met after a high school play, when Jean played the lead and Red fell in love with her from the audience. Although they didn’t have much money early in their marriage, especially once they had three boys at home, Red’s philosophy of “Never give up” served them well. His big break came after World War II, when he went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers building great dams across the Missouri River, magnificent structures like the Fort Randall and the Gavins Point dams. Late in life, Red surprised his family by recording his memories of the hard times of his early life, reflections that inspired this book.
Tom Brokaw is known as one of the most successful people in broadcast journalism. Throughout his legendary career, Brokaw has always asked what we can learn from world events and from our history. Within Never Give Up is one answer, a portrait of the resilience and respect for others at the heart of one American family’s story.
“Sometimes, when the evening is winding down, the dishes are done, and the little ones asleep, memory guides the conversation, gently pushing away the cares of the moment. As a portal to past times, that memory retrieves the missing among us and brings them and their values and examples to the fore. Brokaw's spare, elegant masterpiece is just this kind of time machine, resurrecting one family's Prairie experience, and, like all good alchemy, transforming it into pure gold usable for anyone who knows they always have and always will stand on the shoulders of giants.” –Ken Burns