So Far, So Good is a memoir of Ralph Salisbury. The author was born in 1924 to a half Cherokee-Shawnee father and a tough Irish-American mother in rural Iowa. His mother was tough but still a lady. So Far, So Good is a glimpse of American history from Mr. Salisbury's eyes. The reader has a chronological view that includes farm life during the Great Depression, his World War II military involvement, and racial and political differences. At first I found the book a little hard to follow, but Mr. Salisbury is a great storyteller. He connects his past to his midlife then to his 80-year old present day self. He connects his life experiences that are full of history. Sometimes his narrative relays some disturbing images. He describes in detail his part in castration of farm animals and then he goes to the rumors of World War II castration of prisoners and other castrations. He was a survivor of a lightning strike, explosions, bullets, car and plane mishaps, cancer and other health issues. Salisbury wonders: "Why anyone should read this?" That question is answered not only with its events but in the remarkable story telling of Mr. Salisbury. He takes us from life in rural Iowa, a life of poverty during the Great Depression, then through war and peace and we end up at the quieter life of a University.
Don't miss out on the life of Mr. Ralph J. Salisbury, a poet and professor at the University of Oregon. This memoir will take you on a journey into American history.
I give this book 4 STARS.
I was given a complimentary ARC copy of So Far, So Good by Ralph J. Salisbury from Night Owl Reviews for this unbiased review.
River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize
Bullet-shattered glass clatters onto his baby bed; he wakes and cries out into darkness. Does he remember this? Or remember being told? Regardless, he feels it, and will feel it again, bomb bay wind buffeting his eighteen-year-old body a mile above an old volcano’s jagged debris, and yet again, staring at photos of Korean orphans, huddled homeless in a blizzard after a bombing in which, at twenty-five, he’d refused an order to join. It is through such prisms of the past that Ralph Salisbury’s life unfolds, a life that, eighty years in the making, is also the life of the twentieth century. Winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize, So Far, So Good is a sometimes strange, sometimes lyrical, and often humorous attempt by an inveterate storyteller to recount “just things as they were.”
The survivor of a lightning strike, car and plane mishaps, explosions, bullets, a heart attack, cancer, and other human afflictions, Salisbury wonders: “Why should anyone read this?” The book itself resoundingly answers this question not merely with its sheer eventfulness but also in the prodigious telling. Salisbury takes us from abject poverty in rural Iowa during the Great Depression, with a half Cherokee father and an Irish American mother, through war and peace and protest to the freedom and solace of university life; and it is in the end (so far) so good.