by Andrew Palmer | March 24, 2014 · 6:00 AM
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Recommended Audience: Advanced middle school student to adult
I was provided a copy of this book for review.
I am a reading fanatic. One of my biggest pet peeves is that my busy life simply does not provide enough time to read all of the books that are on my to-read list. I am always leery when I accept a book for review from an unknown author. You just don’t know what you might get. I do read them, and I try to be as fair and honest as I can. When I say what I am about to say, I want you to know that I am being completely honest because my time is valuable. For that matter, so is yours.
If I was asked to recommend a book that demonstrates the essence of America, I would offer this book to you. One of the things that is constant about conservatives is that we have an optimistic view of our country and the opportunities within it. We are not victims, and we don’t believe that people are either. Edward Primoff is a perfect example of what so many of us know to be true about this great nation. A person who believes in themselves, driven by principles and a work ethic, can truly accomplish great things.
As Primoff states near the close of the book, “The bottom line is that we live in a great country, the greatest in the world. Here the sky’s the limit, if you can think it, you can do it. I have little doubt in my mind that if I had to start all over again I would have no difficulty surpassing where I am today.”
And where he is today compared to where he started out is pretty darn impressive. It seemed from birth Primoff would face obstacles. His mother was actually advised to abort the pregnancy because of a kidney problem she had. Primoff’s largest obstacle was that he graduated high school barely able to read. He had such severe dyslexia that he was only able read 11 words per minute. This book itself was written on Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Despite his handicap, Primoff has managed to achieve every bit of the American dream and become financially independent. He has contributed greatly to his community and country. The book blurb on the inside jacket claims that he has led a life with more adventure than the fictional Forrest Gump. This is a fair assessment. While Primoff’s many adventures are not limited to the following list, he has been a successful business owner (8 figure net worth), he spent several years working with the FBI as an informant, survived a small plane crash, escaped a plot to murder him, struggled for decades with the side effects of an experimental intestinal bypass surgery, and became known as the “unofficial” photographer for the President George W. Bush administration. I think I spent half of my time reading this book with my mouth agape in disbelief at Primoff’s incredible experiences.
Primoff is a testimony to the importance of lifelong learning and self-education. Despite his reading difficulty, he has continued to learn and educate himself. Every time he learned something new, it made him more successful. As a teacher, I can see huge value to a book like this for a struggling student especially at the high school level.
Most of a book is a chronological account of his life from high school to present. I found some of his later life experiences most interesting, specifically his involvement in politics at the county, state, and national level. Primoff offers some interesting observations as he discusses ousting a corrupt county office holder and his involvement with the Maryland gubernatorial campaign of Robert Ehrlich.
Chapter 22, “Who is On the Side of the Angels?,” was probably the best of the entire book. Primoff gets a little philosophical in the chapter as he discusses his optimism for the future:
“The one thing I’ve learned best is that most people in our country are basically good. It may surprise you when I say that in spite of all the difficulties we are now facing as a country. I am very optimistic about our future. People in the United States are becoming more connected with our political system than at any other period in my lifetime and that is so important. When I became active in the mid-90s in local county politics, a member of our school board was asked what he thought of Ed Primoff.In my opinion, he is right. Despite all the negativity in our country, I see significant, positive change on the horizon. If there was ever a life to demonstrate the reasons to be optimistic, I think they could be found within the life experiences of Edward Primoff.