My boyhood in a small town in Connecticut was shaped by my family, my friends, our neighbors, my chores and hobbies, the town's culture and environment, its schools, libraries, factories, and businesses, their workers, and by storms that came from nowhere to disrupt everything... Yet childhood in any family is a mysterious experience. . . . What shapes the mind, the personality, the character?

So begins this unexpected and extraordinary book by Ralph Nader. Known for his lifetime of selfless activism, Nader now looks back to the earliest days of his own life, to his serene and enriching childhood in bucolic Winsted, Connecticut. From listening to learning, from patriotism to argument, from work to simple enjoyment, Nader revisits seventeen key traditions he absorbed from his parents, his siblings, and the people in his community, and draws from them inspiring lessons for today's society. Warmly human, rich with sensory memories and lasting wisdom, it offers a kind of modern-day parable of how we grow from children into responsible adults, a reminder of a time when nature and community were central to the way we all learned and lived.


Your traditions

Please share your traditions with us and others. We will select examples of traditions sent to us by visitors to this web site and publish them on this site each week.

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