Cover image for My father's cabin
My father's cabin
Phillips, Mark, 1952 November 24-
Publication Information:
Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press [2001]

Physical Description:
ix, 252 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library CT275.P59298 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library CT275.P59298 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Buffalo Collection Non-Circ
Eden Library CT275.P59298 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library CT275.P59298 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Lake Shore Library CT275.P59298 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
Orchard Park Library CT275.P59298 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
City of Tonawanda Library CT275.P59298 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library CT275.P59298 A3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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In the Rust Belt of the 1960s, a blue-collar father works double shifts, chasing elusive dreams: a good night's sleep, eternal life, a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains where he can hunt and fish. His son is a child of the times, chasing his own dreams: girls, long hair, politics, and independence. And both chase the same dream: each other's elusive love.This is a familiar story uniquely told, in a voice that perfectly captures America at its most turbulent, an era that continues to define the largest generation in American history. MY FATHER'S CABIN chronicles life in America as the Greatest Generation gives way to the Me Decade, as responsibility gives way to self-fulfillment-and then back again, as responsibility becomes self-fulfillment.

Author Notes

Mark Phillips is a Melbourne writer and unionist. He has worked more than 20 years in print journalism and related industries and is currently the editor of Working Life. He is the author of Radio City: The first 30 years of 3RRR-FM (The Vulgar Press, 2006). He made the Overland NUW FAir Australia Prize Shortlist with his title The Occupation.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

We've heard it all before: a father and son, products of different times and values, struggle to find common ground and to win each other's love and respect. But we've never heard the story told quite this way. Phillips' father spent his days in a coal yard and his nights dreaming of a cabin in the mountains, a refuge where he could hunt and fish and imagine he was living a different kind of life. His son, a child of the sixties, grew up among people who scorned the bluecollar work ethic. He chased a different kind of dream: girls and revolution. But father and son, although it took them a while to realize it, dreamed of the same thing: freedom. In this memorable memoir, the author demonstrates that there is always something new to say on a familiar subject. Phillips, an accomplished magazine journalist (he has written for Saturday Review, Country Life, and Salon, among others), has an eye for detail and an essayist's gift for simplicity and clarity. A winner. --David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

Memoirs about generation-gap friction between father and son are commonplace, but there's a compelling symbol at the center of essayist Phillips's (Salon, Country Life, the New York Times Magazine) forthright, familiar story of growing up in the fractious 1960s that sets it apart: a simple cabin set on about 40 acres in the Allegheny Mountains. Over late-night bottles of beer, the grime of fly-ash sweating from his pores, the author's father dreamed of an isolated cabin as an escape from the numbing grind of his job at a coal-fueled power plant; over a period of years, he built it from the ground up with the grudging assistance of a moody, rebellious and often resentful teenaged Phillips. Phillips senior barely lived to enjoy his retreat he finished it as he was dying of cancer. A decade later, in 1979, as a young teacher who had left his family's working-class roots behind him, Mark Phillips moved with his wife into the primitive, 20-by-25-foot cabin. With unadorned eloquence, he describes how its simplicity, solidity and ability to shelter him reconnected him with his father, a simple, dependable man who, as a mature son now understood, took good care of his family and meant well by his son. This account of how a son comes to accept his father's rough, fumbling love, and to return it, despite the chasm between them, is a genuine portrait of the ties that bind families together in difficult times. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Phillips's first book, segments of which appeared in the New York Times magazine, the Sun, and other periodicals, tells of growing up on the outskirts of Buffalo in a blue-collar family. His father was a welder at a factory and worked long hours to achieve his dream of buying land and building a cabin-a place away from the noise and grit and constant domination of the factory in their lives, a place where the fresh spring water was both literally and figuratively cleansing. Initially, Mark could not understand his father's drive. Over time, however, he not only came to understand but to appreciate fully the actualization of his father's dream. The cabin that he helped his father build became his year-round home. Sensitive writing, a continually evolving relationship between parent and child, and commendable personalities make this an engrossing and satisfying book. Recommended for all libraries.-Gina Kaiser, Univ. of the Sciences in Philadelphia Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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