Dr. George Sheehan achieved international acclaim in the early 1960s as one of the founding fathers of the fitness revolution, but this left him largely neglectful of his family. Now his son's poignant memoir of the challenge that transformed his life is the subject of "Chasing the Hawk".Dr. George Sheehan achieved international acclaim in the early 1960s as one of the founding fathers of the fitness revolution, but this left him largely neglectful of his family. Now his son's poignant memoir of the challenge that transformed his life is the subject of "Chasing the Hawk".Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-08-27 Unblinking honesty is the hallmark of journalist Sheehan's searing examination of his demons, of his father and of their joint redemption. That honesty is one among many blessings and burdens passed down by Sheehan's father, George, an Irish Catholic cardiologist who drummed a creed of duty, hard work, success and large families into his son and found salvation through running, becoming a leading spokesperson for the sport in America in the 1970s. In Sheehan's portrait, George was a solitary man not temperamentally suited to being a father, who thrived on exploring new ideas and resented having so many of his life choices made for him. When George discovered his passion for running, his emotional neglect of his family grew in direct proportion to his surging fame as a running guru. Father and son may have shared running (Sheehan's stories of the marathons they ran together are particularly fresh), but that was not enough to satisfy Andrew's growing need for approval and support as a teenager. Emotionally adrift, he turned to beer and drugs in earnest upon entering college. Although the spiral of dependence and denial that ensued will be familiar to friends and families of alcoholics, what distinguishes Sheehan's memoir is his steady calibration of the shifting emotional temperatures within the complex yet surprisingly sturdy Sheehan family. Years of repressed knowledge emerge with startling eloquence at unexpected moments: at Sheehan's first wedding, Andrew's mother tells his bride, "Give him plenty of love. Because he never got any." Readers will find their sympathies vacillating as the stakes rise with infidelities, pledges to reform, resentments and confrontations, until Sheehan's intense and lyrical writing leads readers to appreciate not only the intricate interdependence in the Sheehan household but also the force of will necessary to break patterns that imprisoned them for decades. (Sept. 11) Forecast: Blurbs from Frank McCourt, Malachy McCourt and Caroline Knapp will help draw attention to this turbulent tale of an Irish Catholic family in crisis. Those who revered George Sheehan as a running guru will also be rewarded with much to ponder about the private man. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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