Walkabout Year: Twelve Months in Australia

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University of Missouri Press, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 318 pages

"Reading Pickering," said Smithsonian, "is like taking a walk with your oldest, wittiest friend." In Walkabout Year, Samuel Pickering, the professor who inspired the movie Dead Poets Society, provides an intimate, engaging chronicle of his family's year in Western Australia. The reader is pulled into Pickering's tight family circle and off on an intriguing trip to another land.

With humor, skill, and insight, Pickering describes the educational system his three children experienced; the family's journeys from one area of the country to another as he lectured; and the people—both academics and nonacademics—he encountered. He compares the flora, fauna, and economics to those in America, and reveals much else about daily life in a new country. As a result, Walkabout Year is part travelogue, part reflection on the differences between two cultures, and part autobiography. As Smithsonian stated, "Pickering has created his own comfortable world, and it is always a pleasure to slip into his company for a time." Readers will feel a strong bond with the family and as if they too have been thoroughly exposed to the intriguing world of Australia.

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Walkabout year: twelve months in Australia

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Pickering (English, Univ. of Connecticut), the inspiration for the lead in the movie Dead Poet's Society, spent a year's sabbatical leave at the University of Western Australia with his wife and three ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

Samuel F. Pickering is a Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut. His unconventional teaching style was one of the inspirations for the character of Mr. Keating, played by Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society. Academically, Pickering specializes in the familiar essay, children's literature, nature writers, and 18th– and 19th–century English literature. He has published many collections of nonfiction personal essays as well as over 200 articles. Pickering and his wife, Vicki, live in a small house in Connecticut with three little rescue dogs and two imaginary grandchildren.“Well-behaved children,” he writes, “mannered and old-fashioned, kids who genuflect to their elders and use bad language only at the dinner table at home.”

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