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A Father, His Son, and the Ultimate American Tragedy
Written by: Thomas Thompson
Narrated by: Shawn Compton
Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins

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Publisher's Summary

George Diener, World War II veteran and traveling salesman, and his wife, Carol, had old-fashioned values and ordinary aspirations: a home, a family, the pleasure of watching their two sons grow up. But in February 1972, an unthinkable tragedy occurred in the basement of their Nassau County residence, shattering their hopes and dreams forever. 

George and Carol doted on their shy eldest son, Richie. But at 15, the boy fell into a devastating downward spiral. He started smoking marijuana, shoplifting, and hanging out with drug dealers, and was soon arrested for assault and expelled from school. By the time his parents sought psychiatric counseling for their son, Richie was addicted to barbiturates and given to violent outbursts and threats. The boy George and Carol knew was long gone. Then, one winter evening, Richie came at his father with a steak knife and a suicidal cry of "Shoot!" 

Edgar Award-winning author Thomas Thompson delivers a "scary, harrowing" account of a turbulent era in American history when the gulf between young and old, bohemian and conservative, felt wider and more dangerous than ever before (the New York Times Book Review).

©1973 Thomas Thompson (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Susan
  • 02-09-19

Powerful Read- How Drugs Destroyed One Family

My heart ached for this family. I was Richie's age and remember so many of the details of this book in my own community. and social circle. While I personally didn't identify with Richie, I very much understood him and his contemporaries.
I'm thankful I didn't get into the drug scene which was escalating at an alarming pace at the time of this story.
And now I read this as a mother of 3 children with a different set of eyes- the eyes of Richie's parents.

This is the story of what drugs did to one family. It's truly an American tragedy that has played out over and over for so many.

The book was expertly written and while this is an old title it's timely as the drug war continues.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although enjoyed isn't really the word I'm looking for. It was a very good read/listen.

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  • David
  • 16-12-19

every parents worst nightmare.

tradgic story which came happen to anyone. unfortunately it is difficult to find the answer other than this outcome.