Becoming Brothers

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Simon and Schuster, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 218 pages
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This is a book for brothers - and for sisters, too; for the feelings to which these brothers testify - fear, envy, anger - are familiar to almost everyone who has a sibling. They are heightened and dramatized in the tale of Cain and Abel, which like other stories in the Bible speaks to us of universal themes in human life. Howard and Arthur Waskow grew up as brothers in a quiet Jewish neighborhood in Baltimore during the 1940s. In this unusually honest book they demonstrate that powerful emotions such as these do lie beneath the surface of everyday family life. As with many siblings, behind a superficial layer of civility their relationship was distant, competitive, antagonistic; their conflict extended well into their adult years. Eventually their divorces, their mother's final illness, and their own desire to change brought them toward one another. Wary at first, they set out on a journey of discovery and recovery that was helped to completion by the need to care for their aging father, and by the collaborative writing of this book. Becoming Brothers is uniquely both a record and an instrument of this deliberate and painful reconciliation. In alternating chapters, these brothers reconstruct their struggle piece by piece, crossing back through years of conflict to the roots of their estrangement - often wrestling with contested bits of memory, enlightening and enlivening each other, doing the hard but necessary work of intimate relationship. Theirs is a universal story about the way in which people grow apart and how they can discover one another, and themselves, by acknowledging their similarities and accepting their differences. In the end, the brothers find that only throughunderstanding who they were as sons and brothers can they fulfill their mature roles as husbands and fathers. Their search for wholeness requires them to cooperate and finally to forgive. This beautifully written, humane, and intelligent book reminds its readers not only that everyday life can be deeply significant, but that fundamental change is always possible.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Beginnings
11
Otts
23
Older
35
In the Neighborhood
43
Behind the Door
63
Call Me Ishmael
79
Inside the Family
89
The Heart of the Matter
111
Letting Go
143
To Wrestle a Brother
163
Life after Death
171
Face to Face
193
Last Word
209
Acknowledgments
217
Copyright

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