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The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

Написано Maxwell King

Озвучено LeVar Burton


The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

Написано Maxwell King

Озвучено LeVar Burton

оценки:
4.5/5 (131 оценки)
Длина:
14 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Sep 4, 2018
ISBN:
9781621888437
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Примечание редактора

Oscars snub…

The documentary of Mr. Rogers’ life, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” was snubbed by the Academy this year. (Who snubs MR. ROGERS? That is just rude.) If you’re still feeling the sting — or want to know even more about Mr. Rogers’ life — this biography (narrated by the also-beloved LeVar Burton) is for you.

Описание

Fred Rogers (1928-2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. As the creator and star of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, he was a champion of compassion, equality, and kindness. Rogers was fiercely devoted to children and to taking their fears, concerns, and questions about the world seriously.

The Good Neighbor, the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers, tells the story of this utterly unique and enduring American icon. Drawing on original interviews, oral histories, and archival documents, Maxwell King traces Rogers's personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work, including a surprising decision to walk away from the show to make television for adults, only to return to the neighborhood with increasingly sophisticated episodes, written in collaboration with experts on childhood development. An engaging story, rich in detail, The Good Neighbor is the definitive portrait of a beloved figure, cherished by multiple generations.

Издатель:
Издано:
Sep 4, 2018
ISBN:
9781621888437
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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  • (4/5)
    The Good Neighbor- what a great title! I listened to the audiobook, beautifully narrated by LeVar Burton. Learning about Fred Rogers, the person, and his work, which was really his calling, was a great experience. I learned that who he was on television was who he really was in real life, which was a revelation for me and took some time for me to trust. I learned that he was a trained and dedicated musician and composer and that the music of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood was mostly written by himself. It's a gift to the children watching the show. When Mr Rogers dies at the end of the book, I cried. Throughout the book, the author tells us that Mr. Rogers met someone and then they had a lifelong friendship. I thought to myself, "He was really good at making lifelong friends!" Then I watched his goodbye to his viewers, available on Youtube, and he called his adult viewers his lifelong friends. It was then I realized I was one of the lifelong friends he had made. It's a good feeling to appreciate Mr Rogers as an adult!
  • (5/5)
    This is a biography of Fred Rogers, an icon of children's television for decades. Rogers' Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was pioneering children's educational programming, premiering in 1968 and continuing, with a four-year hiatus, until 2001.Rogers was more than just a tv performer, which I always knew, but also a great deal more than I was aware of. That he was a Presbyterian minister was well-known. Also the fact that he controlled the production of the show pretty completely.What I didn't know was that he was an accomplished musician. Or that he was a composer and wrote most of the music and lyrics himself. Or that he studied early childhood education with some of the most distinguished experts in the field.He was dedicated, serious, and knowledgeable, to an extent I hadn't imagined.What's also interesting is the fact that this quiet, unassuming man, who lived and dressed very modestly and frugally, was from a very wealthy family. That wealth gave him the freedom to do what he thought was right with his tv show, to never commercialize the puppets and other props or advertise directly to children. It limited to some extent the reach of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which never had the ratings or profitability of Sesame Street,but it did have a very broad reach among they young children he most wanted to serve, and it delivered the message he wanted to deliver. That refusal to commercialize often drove people wanting to promote him bananas, but he held to his principles, and to the ability to do what he thought was best with his program.This is a friendly but not an uncritical biography. Fred Rogers was a good man but no more perfect than the rest of us--and he would have been the first to say so. He did have a temper, and could be very rigid. The narration is by LeVar Burton, who is just a marvelously appropriate choice, and does a wonderful job.Highly recommended.I bought this audiobook.
  • (4/5)
    Using copious interviews with friends and family of Fred Rogers, Maxwell King fleshes out a detailed biography of the man who became a "neighbor" to generations of children.From growing up the only child (until his sister was adopted 11 years later) of a wealthy couple in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to having a vision for what the medium of television could bring to early childhood education and finally to having one of the best-loved children's programs of all time, Fred Rogers was an incredibly driven and gifted man with an extraordinary capacity to love and hear others. King paints a picture of a sensitive child growing into a pretty amazing individual, drawing significantly on personal interviews with Rogers' family members - his wife, his sister, his kids - and friends and co-workers. I grew up with Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and loved the land of Make Believe and the operas, so that portion of the book was the most interesting to me, reading about the great care Mister Rogers took in crafting each show and making sure that nothing he said, not a word, would cause a child alarm. I had songs in my head that I'd almost forgotten all week because I was reading about them, from "It's Such a Good Feeling" to "It's You I Like." There were a lot of details I did not know, and a few anecdotes that made me laugh out loud. Because King covering so much material in a loosely chronological way but also inserting themes, such as music or Rogers' values, it does get repetitive. King didn't seem to want to leave anything out, so while the read was long, it's a lovely tribute to a man I highly respect.
  • (5/5)
    VERY interesting book - especially if you've ever lived in the Pittsburgh area. I had no idea how instrumental Fred Rogers had been at the start of public television in the area and the country.
  • (4/5)
    Mr Rogers was an amazing man with incredible integrity and authenticity. He walked his talk.The book went into great detail about all facets of his life. At times it was a bit tedious and other times it was a wonderful journey. I was to old to grow up with his shows but I plan to search some of them out to experience directly the impact he made on others, especially children.
  • (5/5)
    What you saw on screen was what you would encounter in person. The slow pace and gentle delivery of Mr. Rogers were just the same on screen and off. His belief in his methods based on child development research and his faith were backed by a very strong will. On the occasions when someone would get under his skin, his voice changed from Mr. Rogers to the irritated voice of one of his puppets. Off color remarks would be made in the voice of the “mean-spirited Lady Elaine Fairchilde,” and when an uncompromising command was needed his son Jim recalls, "If he had to be the authority figure, he was King Friday, who would tell us it was time to go to bed."King’s biography of television producer, composer, puppeteer, and Presbyterian minister is positive and inspiring without drifting into hagiography. This is a “warts and all” portrait of the chubby little rich kid who grew up to become an iconic television personality, and a major force in children’s television. It includes both his strengths and what his critics didn’t like about his emphasis on unconditionally accepting each child “just the way you are.” On balance the warts seem minor, compared with his virtues.Burton’s narration is upbeat. That is, he uses the cadence and intonation with which he presented books on Reading Rainbow. The only time he uses his considerable acting talents is when he’s voicing direct quotations.
  • (5/5)
    In The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, journalist Maxwell King argues, “Fred Rogers’s life offers an interesting contrast to a twentieth-century world consumed by rapid change and inexorable growth. In everything he wrote, in all the programming he produced, in the life of caring, kindness, and modesty that he led, he set a very clear example. His legacy lives in the concept of a caring neighborhood where people watch out for one another, no matter where they come from or what they look like. Far from being old-fashioned, his vision is in fact more pertinent than ever in a fractured cultural and political landscape” (pgs. 11-12). Relying on old tapes, publicly-available interviews, archival footage, and his own interviews, King examines Rogers’s life from his youth though his career and legacy, exploring how the culture of western Pennsylvania helped shape Rogers’s development and how his family background and education led to a lifelong interest in childhood development, education, and the power of media to act as a positive force.As an example of his research, King uses interviews, transcripts, and more to examine the period when Rogers decided to return to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. King interviewed David Newell, who read about a child jumping off a roof thinking he could fly like Superman. King writes, “Newell interrupted Rogers’s reverie to tell him the shocking news that a little boy who’d watched Superman on television had decided he would try to fly, and was terribly injured falling from a rooftop. One of the few things that could raise anger – real, intense anger – in Mister Rogers was willfully misleading innocent, impressionable children” (pg. 242). Rogers developed the idea of themed weeks of programing, “starting with a week on superheroes that highlighted the professional bodybuilder and actor Lou Ferrigno, who played the Incredible Hulk on the television show of the same name” (pg. 243). Further, “In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe portion of the first show, the puppet Prince Tuesday shows Lady Aberlin a trick; then, convinced by his own skill with the trick, Prince Tuesday begins to think he can do almost anything: that he has something like superpowers. When the show returns to Mister Rogers’s ‘real neighborhood,’ Fred tells the viewers that pretending can be a problem when a child comes to believe what he is pretending. The show ends with Mister Rogers getting a phone call from Bill Bixby, the actor who plays Dr. David Banner on The Incredible Hulk. Bixby and Rogers promise the viewers that they’ll go on the set of the Hulk later that week to see how the show is made” (pgs. 243-244).King concludes, “Fred Rogers continues to elicit as much interest as he did when he was alive, and he seems as current, as relevant, and even as controversial as at any time in his career: when education is discussed, when the rearing of children is considered, when the uses of technology or the value of funding for public television are debated, and whenever another spasm of violence shakes the world” (pg. 257). This biography is a must-read for all those who grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and those with an interest in the history of early childhood education.
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful, informative tribute to this great man, Mr. Rogers.
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful biography of Mr. Rogers amazing life and work.
  • (3/5)
    Confession: I couldn't stand Mr. Rogers as a kid. As a grown-up who has learned that love, nurturing and neighborliness need to be cultivated, cannot be taken for granted, Fred Rogers suddenly makes a whole lot more sense. This biography gives a good perspective on where he came from, what and who helped form him, and what his legacy is. It's unrelentingly laudatory, and I prefer biographies that take a step back and look at the flaws as well as accomplishments, view the person as a whole, not as a hero. As heroes go, however, Mr. Fred Rogers is right up there with the best. Three-and-a-half stars.
  • (5/5)
    First of all, the narrator of this book is excellent! This book goes in depth into the life of Fred Rogers, from childhood to death as well as his impacts after his death. Very detailed, giving a clear picture of who the real Fred Rogers is. Very inspiring life!
  • (5/5)
    I grew up watching Mr. Rodgers and it makes me feel like it was a great decision. He is exactly the man you thought he was and it is an interesting life that he lived to make Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.
  • (5/5)
    This was an excellent book that truly inspired me. Fred Rogers is an incredible person and his goodness is often overlooked or masked by rumors. He was revolutionary, progressive, and way ahead of his time. Some people may see him as a white Christian man and assume he’s stuck in all the ways or even a bit creepy. However, he did many great things in his life and made it a point to give everyone the attention and spread love. He also diversified his content and beliefs tremendously. He frequently studied other religions and cultures and made it a point to show children that they are special.

    He would frequently bring underrepresented people and empower minorities in such a inclusive and normalized way, that it doesn’t come off as political, but rather a utopia that exists in the future, free from bias and open for everyone. he’s far ahead of us, creating and fostering a world or neighborhood where diversity is a standard and love, positivity, and attentive care is prioritized over previous methods of discipline or coldness.

    what I love most about Fred Rogers is that despite being a television host for children, he can be beneficial to watch for adults to in his messages speak loudly towards any problems adulterer still having today. He encourages uncomfortable conversations and honesty and being open to being uncomfortable, in order to learn and grow.

    I was highly inspired to read this book, based on watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and in a way, to try and reinforce the idea that someone so good can exist. The book acknowledges this but I am almost trying to find a reason to disbelieve this “too good to be true” human being and find dirt on him. But, that tough to do and it’s such a defensive and unnecessary way of thinking. I just have to accept that he’s a great person, because he is.

    So, I was torn in deciding to read this book. I want to focus my reading more, being a filmmaker, writer, and musician. Mr. Rogers is a icon for kids. That’s not what I want to do. But, to my surprise, I realized Fred Rogers is more relevant than I thought. First, he is a vegetarian and I am a vegan and he abstains from drugs and smoking as I do. Also, he focuses prominently in honesty and positivity, which are my two 2020 goals. He loves to help people and inspire others, especially in being controversial and inspiring others to be empathetic and uncomfortable. So, his belief and lifestyle is very similar to mine.

    Lastly and importantly, Fred Rogers holds many roles in his field as a director, writer, producer, musician, host, puppeteer, etc. I want to do the same kind of thing, holding many roles and maxing out his creative involvement. In fact, I would call him an auteur, based on his technical mastery and distinct style. Also, how much more relevant can he get without being a feature filmmaker? He’s a director, writer, and musician as am I.
  • (3/5)
    Fred Rogers deserves a better biography. The facts are here but the book needs editing, with too much unnecessary repetition and a lack of organization.
  • (5/5)
    This meticulous, well-researched biography is the first authorized biography to exist of famed children's television host and creator Fred Rogers. In it, King not only provides biographical details about Mister Rogers, but also meanders down relevant byways with information about the Pittsburgh area at the time of Rogers's childhood, the early days of television, and theories of child development and education. Unlike many other biographies of well-loved celebrities, there are no skeletons in the closet here. It appears Rogers was just as wonderful off screen as he was on it. This is a perfect book to read when it seems like the whole world is falling apart; somehow Rogers is still able to provide a sense of peace and hope. The audiobook version is narrated by LeVar Burton, who reads it in a calm and evenly paced manner, similar to way Mister Rogers addressed children through his show (and also similar to the way Burton himself narrated Reading Rainbow). This version also ends with an interview of the author.
  • (4/5)
    Fred Rogers strived to be and was an ordinary man Maxwell King has captured that well in his telling of the man in the Neighborhood. The references to his wealthy childhood and his opportunities are woven well into the work ethic and interest he had in creating quality television for children. The book is an homage, and clearly that. There is no place for retractors. The knowledge that he was a perfectionist and unable to delegate is treated with a generous hand. His team was with him for decades. I was left with a odd feeling with his decision to put off his health issues. Mr. King accepts that as his choice, but for a man that was so in tune with his health, that felt off.The world was a better place with his contributions. I checked out streaming episodes of the neighborhood. They work today Enjoy
  • (4/5)
    A somewhat repetitious biography of PBS children's education personality, Fred Rogers of Latrobe and Pittsburgh, PA. I borrowed this large print book from the county library system.
  • (3/5)
    I was anxious to learn more about Fred Rodgers after seeing A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The biography tells Rodgers' story about growing up as an only child (and an adopted sister who came along much later) from a privileged family in Pennsylvania. Fred was a shy child who enjoyed playing with puppets from an early age. In college he meets his wife, Joanne Byrd, who is an accomplished pianist like Fred. Fred starts in television behind the scenes but soon moves in front of the camera where he stays for the rest of his career. At one point he returns to school where he gets a degree in divinity and becomes an ordained minister. Rodgers is a kind, religious man who cared deeply about children's programming. What you saw on the screen is what Rodgers was like in person.
  • (5/5)
    Fred Rogers, a.k.a. Mr Rogers, grew up the son of a rich businessman, majored in music at college, got into television in the early years of NBC, studied at seminary to become a Presbyterian minister, started children's television at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto, and extended children's television into education with PBS. He is fondly remembered as being extraordinarily patient with children just by being himself. A generation of children - ok, maybe several generations of children - spend some of their earliest years being taught by this man about emotional intelligence and social formation. His work continues on to this day through the cartoon Daniel Tiger.

    This book skillfully tells the story of his life, beginning as a sensitive young boy until his life as a retired king of broadcasting. It explains the quirks of his personality at every turn. It pays particular homage to his intellectual formation as a musician and as a seminarian studying child development under Dr. McFarland. Rogers incorporated facets from all parts of his life into his work and show. That is how he shared his creative genius with the world.

    For those who have already been touched by the life and work of Fred Rogers, this book will bring back memories of learning under this influential man. For those who are not familiar with him, it will educate you on how a life - a male life, nonetheless - can be so fully dedicated to the well-being of children. Rogers thought it immoral to manipulate an innocent child through commercials and did not fully capitalize on his work. (Of course, he was born independently wealthy.) His idealism and kind goodness is well transmitted to the reader - or the listener - through this book.
  • (4/5)
    I know a bit about the life of Fred Rogers from watching the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor and reading articles about him.  But I couldn't resist listening to the first book-length biography of Mr. Rogers narrated by another PBS hero, LeVar Burton.  King does a good job of getting a clear picture of Rogers' background, starting from childhood.His family was wealthy, which allowed Rogers the opportunities to try his new ideas, but his parents' philanthropy and noblesse oblige also contributed to his humility and simple lifestyle.  Rogers was also affected by instances of childhood bullying and the sense that he could find support in the neighborhood of his hometown of Latrobe, PA. As a young man, Rogers learned television production and studied for the ministry, with the unorthodox plan of putting both callings toward educating children.  The big question of this book is whether the Mister Rogers we see on tv represents the real person, with the unanimous response of "yes" from people who know him.  So this book won't expose any "dark secrets" but it is a very good glimpse into how a wonderful man formed his philosophy for teaching children.
  • (5/5)
    Having grown up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, the opportunity to go back into my childhood and learn more about this fascinating man was one I couldn’t pass up. From his wealthy beginnings, to the humble way he led his life, to the graciousness, patience and care he showed to every child he met, along with the ones he never personally met, Fred Rogers was an example of how to live a life dedicated to educating children. Listening to LeVar Burton’s narration added an additional element to Mr. Rogers story that enriched the story even further, as he was also an instrumental character in my childhood due to his work on Reading Rainbow. Definitely a recommended read for anyone who remembers Fred Rogers’ work.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating journey through the life of Fred Rogers, early television, and the impact Fred Rogers had on the lives of many people. Begins with a touching introduction summarizing what the book lays out in detail. Each chapter uncovers another layer of Mr. Rogers and his approach to the people and world around him. Important reminder of how little we need to do to make this world a better place.
  • (5/5)
    My children and I adored watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood together as they were growing up. Our daughter was convinced he was her uncle. This wonderful book taught me about his early life, the influences that grew him into the remarkable, good man he was.
  • (5/5)
    Great insights into a great man, who some misunderstood, yet so many dearly loved. I came away with a much better understanding of who he was, what he believed and how committed he was to living the best life he possibly could. Thorough account of his life story, with many interesting facts and anecdotes. Really enjoyed Levar Burton’s narration. Simply an enjoyable experience!
  • (4/5)
    A really comprehensive biography about Fred Rogers. Great insights into what influenced Fred Rogers to get into the world of children's television programming. Glad I've finished reading this before the movie!
  • (3/5)
    3.5 stars. I was hoping to focus more on Fred Rogers personal life I think and not so primarily about the show. I wanted to know even more about the man behind the legacy.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Thanks to Netgalley, Abrams Press, and Maxwell King for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy.Fred Rogers is beloved by millions of people - children, now adults, who remember Mr. Rogers with fondness. His program was the most successful children’s program on public television due to his vision, commitment and singular ability to talk to children on their level. His message of loving you “just the way you are”, and broaching heavy topics of divorce and death made him a unique voice. He wasn’t afraid to put his feet in a tub of water with a black man, or introduce Jeff, a disabled child, along with many other guests to break down walls of prejudice, racism and other serious subjects. But those who watched will probably best remember his songs, his puppets and of course his cardigan and sneakers, along with the trolley that took us to the land of Make Believe. But who was Fred Rogers? Maxwell King shows us that he was exactly as he presented himself to be. This is a detailed, well researched recap of his life from childhood to death. Mr. Rogers’ childhood had a huge impact on the man he was to become. His sensitivity and ability to listen was developed when he was young, often sick and lonely. His attic is where he created his puppet characters putting on show after show. His mother’s love of religion and strong tenets of being kind and helping those in need was felt so deeply that Fred considered becoming a minister and studied towards it for many years. But his creative and artistic side needed to be expressed. He worked in television for many years honing his skills, always knowing where he was heading. He could have been very rich if he had stayed at NBC, who wanted his show, but he was adamant that there was never to be any advertising to children. He studied child development and worked closely with Dr. Margaret McFarland, an expert in the field, often running scripts by her to make sure the wording was perfect and the meaning would be understood by children. He was an accomplished musician, composing hundreds of songs for the show. He worked very hard, demanded excellence and never compromised who he was for material gain. Who knew this soft spoke, nasally voiced guy would have such a connection with kids.I learned so much about the man behind the cardigan. I really enjoyed learning what made him tick. I had no idea how complex of a man he was. I didn’t realize he had that much control over his show and reading how the show developed into what we saw was really interesting. I never realized what a pioneer he was in television, public television and in children’s programming. The book is thorough and well thought out. It is slow paced and unassuming, like the man himself. There are no false dramatics to make it more exciting. But it didn’t bother me. I rather enjoyed it. It takes you way back and made me long to hear him sing “Won’t you be my neighbor” one more time.

    1 person found this helpful