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Fred Thompson Turns Hard Knocks Into Easy Reading

Tuesday, 18 May 2010 03:03 PM

By David A. Patten

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When Fred Thompson retired from the U.S. Senate, he knew he'd write a book. But “Teaching the Pig to Dance: A Memoir of Growing Up and Second Chances” isn't the one he expected.

He thought he'd write about his moments on life's big stage: the Watergate hearings, his rise to become a U.S. senator, his major TV and film roles. Instead, Thomas, who has since added being a GOP presidential candidate to his credits, found himself drawn to write about his life growing up in tiny Lawrenceburg, Tenn.

Thompson's willingness to accept happenstance and pursue the unexpected is one of the key themes of the charming, funny, and delightful book birthed by his wise decision to follow his muse where it led him. The book will be released Tuesday.

Editor’s Note: Get Fred Thompson’s New Book at a Great Price: Click Here Now.

Story continues below.



He confesses that, as a child, he was "carefree and irresponsible," and "always in some kind of mischief." In fact, he had so much fun he would have flunked out of high school, if not for the merciful French teacher who let him retake an exam.

He credits folks in Lawrenceburg as having a profound influence on setting him right. At age 17, he became a husband and father. Suddenly, it was time to grow up.

Thompson attributes his turnaround to the enduring values the colorful characters in his quaint hometown instilled in him. Foremost among the town's straight shooters: his late father, Fletcher.

To this day, Thompson affectionately calls him "daddy." He provided "a secure environment for a hard-headed kid to grow up in," Thompson tells Newsmax that Fletcher was "just an example of what a man ought to be like."

Thompson's hard knocks gave him a wisdom that seems to be fading these days. Among the timeless lessons:
  • Accept life as it is. "Try to change the things that you have some control over, and learn to live with the hand that's been dealt you," he says.
  • Live your life with good humor. "My daddy was the funniest guy that I've ever met in my life," Thompson tells Newsmax. "Humor is a very great part of my growing up, and I recount a lot of that in this book. I wanted people to smile and get some kind of a feel for the rich atmosphere that I grew up in.
  • Recognize the role of luck in a person's life. "And I say in the book the really, really, lucky people are just people who grow up in America with good parents. All the rest is pretty much up to you," he insists.
  • Be ready to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. "When the door is cracked a little bit," the avuncular Thompson counsels, "push it on open and maybe walk through it. And don't be afraid."
Thompson confides that he's not happy with what he sees coming out of Washington these days. The nation has reached a tipping point that will decide whether it will abandon the principles "that made us the richest, most powerful, and most free country in the history of the world," he contends.

The good news, Thompson says, is that America's future depends on its people, not its President Obama.

"If our values and perspectives on the role of our government, or the role of ourselves for that matter, change, it's our own fault. It's not his,” Thompson tells Newsmax. “Presidents come and go. But our country will remain. And it's everybody's duty while they're on watch, in their own generation's time, to do what we can to preserve these things."

Thompson's book makes the odds of preserving America's timeless values just a little bit better.

Editor’s Note: Get Fred Thompson’s New Book at a Great Price: Click Here Now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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