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The memoir by Pete Hamill, a novelist and journalist for the New York Daily News and New York Post, details his childhood with Irish immigrant parents and how alcohol has been threaded throughout his life. This autobiography doesn't condemn the drink, however, but is a "thoughtful, funny, street-smart reflection on its consequences," says Publishers Weekly. As a child during the Depression and World War II, Hamill learned early that drinking was an essential part of being a man, inseparable from the rituals of celebration, mourning, friendship, romance, and religion. Only later did he discover its ability to destroy any writer's most valuable tools: clarity, consciousness, memory. Along the way, he summons the mood of a bygone America, with the bittersweet nostalgia of a lifelong New Yorker.