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Baby Jack: A Novel Hardcover – 22 Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc; 1st Carroll & Graf Ed edition (22 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786717165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786717163
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.7 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,358,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Frank Schaeffer is a bestselling author. His fiction, humor and non-fiction have received international critical acclaim. The Los Angeles Times describes Frank's writing as, "A rich brew of cross-cultural comedy." The British newspaper the Guardian says: "funny and wonderfully observed." The Times of London says: "Schaeffer describes both the pleasures and occasional torments of childhood with charm and humor." Kirkus Reviews calls Frank's writing: "Dramatic and laugh out loud funny, beautifully written and deftly constructed, deeply affecting in its honest portrayal of the author's passions: a stunning achievement." Frank has written for USA Today, the Washington Post, Reader's Digest, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun and many other publications on topics ranging from his critique of American right wing fundamentalism to his experiences as a military parent and novelist. OPRAH, C-SPAN, (Book TV) PBS, the NEWS HOUR, FOX NEWS, CNN, ABC (Nightline with Ted Koppel), ABC's 20/20 and many other media televised programs on Frank and his writing. He has also been interviewed on just about every major talk radio show in the country and been a commentator on both NPR's All Things Considered and several times for the NEWS HOUR and Jim Lehrer. Frank is the author of three critically acclaimed and commercially successful novels, translated into eight languages Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma. Frank has also written four non-fiction books including the New York Times extended list bestseller Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps (co-authored with his Marine son John. Frank's second book on the subject of his son's service in the military was Faith Of Our Sons: A Father's Wartime Diary, published in 2004. Frank's book Voices from the Fron: Letters home From America's Military Family was followed by AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes From Military Service--And How It Hurts Our County (Co-authored with former Clinton White House aid, Kathy Roth-Douquet, Smithsonian books and Harper Collins) due out May 1, 2006. Senator John McCain says: "Frank Schaeffer and Kathy Roth-Douquet have done our country a great service with the publication of their book AWOL. The authors, who watched with anxious hearts a son and a husband leave for war, discovered in that difficult experience a more genuine and wiser patriotism than they had known before. And now they call on their fellow citizens, for whom national service and sacrifice is an abstraction, to recognize that love of country is a more personal and consequential attachment than is popularly understood among many of the most fortunate Americans. I commend their wisdom and patriotism to all Americans as I honor their loved ones whose military service has entailed danger and sacrifice and has been a burden on the heart fearfully but proudly borne by their families." In his foreword to AWOL General (Retired) Tommy Franks says: "AWOL is powerful and compelling. It is sure to spark dialogue on issues of patriotism and service to our country. The book is both a love story and a hard-hitting account of military life." Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution says: "For such a provocative and hard-hitting book, AWOL is also rather fair and balanced--and generally quite persuasive." NBC former anchor and author Tom Brokaw says, "AWOL is a powerful and timely account of those missing in action--the privileged class of America staying out of uniform and out of harm's way." General (Retired) Les Palm President and CEO Marine Corps Association says: "In AWOL, Frank Schaeffer and Kathy Roth-Douquet, a parent and a spouse of Marines, respectively, provide thoughtful insights into one of our nation's most tragic and growing ironies: the citizen's of our nation who have benefited most from the opportunities our society provides have no sense of obligation or duty to defend those ideals under which they have so successfully prospered. AWOL drives home, with hope and respect for our forebears, the need to address the evaporating sense of duty and service to our nation." Frank's fourth novel, Baby Jack, is due out in the fall season of 2006 from Carroll and Graf (Avalon) as their lead fiction title. Frank was born in Switzerland to the famous American evangelical theologian/evangelist Dr. Francis Schaeffer. Frank was sent to British boarding schools--from which he ran away at fifteen. He became an artist protege. His first one-man show was in New York at the Frisch Gallery when he was seventeen. It was followed by successful shows in London and Geneva. Mrs. David Rockefeller bought the first painting sold at Frank's New York show. Frank is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writerr who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documenttary movie director, a feature film director and producer of four ("pretty terrible") low budget Hollywood features, and a best selling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Frank is married to Genie. They have three children and two grandchildren. Frank and his family have lived in Switzerland, England, and South Africa, and now reside near Boston. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have read or reviewed well over a thousand books in the last decade but none better than the newest novel by Frank Schaeffer simply titled "Baby Jack." I never thought I would ever find any western author express what being in the military and fighting wars was about by referring to one of the holiest books of the Hindus "The Bhagavad Gita." In the form of a letter the author uses our marine hero Jack's letter to his girl friend Jessica to explain how Krishna taught Arjuna about duty, discipline, God and self. He uses this letter to further explain how Arjuna was taught to take a stand for what is important; and about learning that "love and combat" are sometimes both right. This is really heavy stuff that most non-veterans do not understand or get - but most combat veterans will have little trouble bridging that gap. The author has a way of driving this loyalty and duty issue home through his lead character Jack.

The author uses many different voices to convey his story including baby Jack who is born after his father is killed. We also hear from God who we discover has a good sense of humor. The writer so skillfully crafts this story that it unfolds the plot through all these different view points and yet remains totally understandable and clear for the reader.

There are many issues in this book; however, like all great novels it is drove home by strong characterizations. We witness the disapproval of Jack by his own father because of his decision to join and serve in the Marine Corps. His dad refuses to write to him or to talk to him. Jack's parents end up fighting and falling apart. There are so many really good relationship issues that Schaeffer attacks, explores or alludes to throughout his wonderful text.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Buy this book 2 Sept. 2006
By John Schaeffer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Frank Schaeffer is my father, and as such you might expect me to be biased (which I won't deny), but if you look at any of the other reviews on any of his other books on this site (which I encourage you to do) you will see that I have written nothing about them. I never even put a plug in for Keeping Faith-A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps, which we wrote together. I have read and liked them all, and I hope you also will read them, but never before has one of his books affected me as this one has. I see how the life of a family very like my own might have played out if things had been just a little different, if someone like me had never returned from a war zone. The experience of reading BABY JACK was akin to George Bailey's in It's a Wonderful Life, watching the life of everyone around him play out as if he had never existed. Reading BABY JACK was both a surreal and wonderful experience at the same time and I hope that you will read Dad's book and glimpse how the life of a family can be forever changed by a single choice or a single event.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Once a Marine: BABY JACK relived 6 Sept. 2006
By James L. Kring - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Great war stories are not about combat. They are about the fractured lives and wounded souls of the combatants -- in and out of uniform. In BABY JACK, Frank Schaeffer captures the raw humanity of Jack Ogden's story as no other other war novel I have read. He also offers the hope that understanding, reconciliation, and spiritual renewal will unfold in each life that humbly seeks it.

Late yesterday afternoon UPS delivered my copy of BABY JACK. Last night, mesmerized by Frank Schaeffer's brilliantly voiced characters, I read the story through in one sitting. I relived my experiences as a young Marine through Jack; I fell in love with Jessica; and, I hated everything I saw of myself in Todd.

Many years ago I, like Jack Ogden, chose the Marines over college. I was squad leader and "honor Marine" in boot camp. Like Jack, my father did not come to my graduation. I had seen him only two times as a young child.

In DaNang, our perimeter was overrun by North Vietnamese Army regulars. I was blown off the road by an explosion from a rocket propelled grenade while taking a wounded Marine to an aid station. I spent the night trapped in deep grass clutching a grenade and waiting to die. My sister worked for Robert McNamara. Every day she checked the Pentagon "Casualty List" searching for my name.

Like Jack, I volunteered to serve but my family was drafted into the war. Through BABY JACK I relived my experiences as a combat Marine and a was given the opportunity to experience how my family suffered in untold ways as have countless others.

Great literary novels are character driven -- and this is one for our time.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Assignment: Read BABY JACK 4 Sept. 2006
By N. J. Poklitar - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Through BABY JACK Frank Schaeffer has created characters that although fiction are real. You might know some of the characters yourself, I do. Schaeffer is an intelligent, witty writer - he can make you laugh through your sobs and believe me, you will experience both emotions as you read BABY JACK. Through a special cadence of writing from different points of view, we see a young man who could be anything in the world he wanted to, become just that, a United States Marine, we see how others in his life respond because, as Schaeffer writes at one point, "Jack entlisted, the rest of us were drafted." There are some powerful emotions at play in this book - read it and give thanks that there are real men/women in this country willing to become a Marine. I strongly suggest you also read Keeping Faith and Faith of Our Sons also written by Frank Schaeffer - these books should be required reading for all Americans. Do I hear movie????
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Compelling, heart-rending. 8 Sept. 2006
By Mary Woods - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been an avid reader for 50 years and no novel has affected me like BABY JACK. I am not as articulate as the reviewers before me, I can only try to express what it meant to me in some way. My grandson is a Marine, injured in Iraq on his second tour. The book expressed what I felt when he was in Iraq, as most people were so involved in their next Botox injection, the next football game, etc. while those of us with family in Iraq or Afganistan watched the news each day, not wanting to see what was happening over there, but unable to tear ourselves away, then waiting for the phone to ring or a knock on the door. This book describes in raw detail the disconnect between those who serve and those who do not and the final realization that yes, there is something more important in life than one's own comfort and desires, such as honor, bravery, sacrifice, commitment. The irreverance caught me off guard at first but some of it was so humorous I laughed out loud, and I believe God does have a sense of humor. God bless Frank Schaeffer for "getting it" and for pressing on with his mission to try to get those disinvested Americans to "get it" so the few won't have to carry the real burden of most Americans. Even though this is fiction, it is also factual in the most important ways. When read as fiction BABY JACK holds the reader's attention to the point of not being able to put it down. When read as more truth than fiction, breaks are needed in order to relieve the intense feelings it generates.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant book 30 Aug. 2006
By Andrew Lubin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This might well be Frank Schaeffer's finest book.

Altho a well-written novel in it's own right, "Baby Jack" takes on the important topic of the huge and growing chasm in America today between those who've served in the military and those who do not. With the fictional Ogden family as the setting, with the liberal father vs. the Marine-recuit son, the book discusses the value today of service to the country, why it's so important in today's society, and perhaps why the fabric of America is being threatened by the casual and "you do it" attitude so prevalent today.

And the novel itself is simply brilliant ! God hanging out at Parris Island ? God as a D.I. ? OOH-RAH, Mr. Schaeffer, for a job well done !
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