Reviews for American Story : A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

Booklist Reviews 2012 December #1
NBC correspondent Dotson goes beyond his Today Show series, telling stories that didn't make it on air and following up on those that did. He catches up on the lives of ordinary people having significant impact outside of the bright lights of publicity and the celebrity of social media. Among his brief profiles: a navy cook who went on to become the first African American to earn a rank, a retired businessman who used the proceeds from the sale of his business to open a store and hire former employees who couldn't find work, and a man who used his lottery winnings to finance the college education of neighborhood kids. He includes stories of teenage volunteer EMT workers in Alaska, a mountain climber paralyzed from the waist down who still climbs mountains, and a former car mechanic who taught surgery skills to med students. Dotson weaves in quiet reflections from his own life as well, including overcoming childhood polio and beginning a career in journalism. In these inspiring stories, Dotson offers fresh perspective on ordinary American life. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #2
The longtime Today Show correspondent offers a collection of heartwarming stories about ordinary citizens, "people who live the values our country cherishes." For more than three decades now, Dotson (Make It Memorable, 2003, etc.) has specialized in Charles Kuralt–like stories about people "whose values were never preached, just lived." Thus, we learn about the photographer whose 10-year project memorializing the giant cedars of western Washington led to the creation of Lewis and Clark National Park; the physician who recruited other retired doctors and nurses to establish a health clinic for the poor on Hilton Head Island; the first African-American in the U.S. Navy to earn a rank that took him out of the galley; the sawmill owner in Oregon who for years handed out $500 scholarships to any senior in town who wanted to go to college; the New York artist who traveled the country, exchanging his paintings for room and board. Dotson has found the last living member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, the migrant mother captured forever in Dorothea Lange's iconic photo and a Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl, still dancing at 105. The author mixes in a little autobiographical information, but he focuses on a succession of quiet achievers, people whose imagination, grit and goodness might otherwise have escaped the news, had he not gone in search of their stories. Many of the characters require more than the three or four pages Dotson allots them to make any lasting impression, but the sheer multitude of tales underscores his argument about an America chock-full of unassuming people whose lives enrich the nation. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #2

In this powerful collection, NBC News correspondent Dotson compiles dozens of the human interest stories featured on his segment of the Today show, "American Story with Bob Dotson." He's traveled the country for decades interviewing remarkable people, many of whom have overcome great adversity and are actively working to make the world a better place for others. Some are quintessential innovators, like Jimmy Crudup, the truck driver who designs microsurgery tools on the side. Others defy the odds: in 1928, Leila Denmark became Atlanta's first female pediatrician, and when she retired at the age of 103, she was the world's oldest practicing doctor. (She died in 2012 at 114 years of age.) Elma Sneddeker's tale is nothing if not miraculous: she was pulled from her burning car by a man born without arms who shattered a window with his foot to rescue her. Throughout, Dotson interweaves trying episodes from his own life, from being stricken with polio as a young boy to his decision to quit hard news and "look for people who offered solutions to problems that didn't require bullets." The details of their stories are unique, but their effect is not--they all inspire. Agent: Wayne S. Kabak, WSK Management, LLC. (Mar.)

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