Reflections in the Rear View Mirror by Jack Warner

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Jack Warner
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Reflections in the Rear View Mirror

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Book review

Jack Warner has led what would seem, to most of us, a quietly amazing life. Early on in his anecdotal memoir, Reflections in the Rearview Mirror, Jack tells us, "I am a guy that things happen to." And this is true. But he’s also a guy who – along with some truly marvelous and memorable friends – has caused quite a few things to happen.

Jack grew up in Westfield, Massachusetts during the Depression and Word War II; he earned a football scholarship to Yale, and after graduation he served as a Marine Corps infantry officer during the Korean War. He was a considerable force in Massachusetts and Boston politics for many, many years before, as Mike Barnicle tells it, "retreating to Nantaucket where he has lived a wonderful life."

Jack Warner has been a politician, a banker, a newspaper publisher, a real estate developer, an international business consultant, an offshore lobsterman, and the author of three successful books.

He literally sat at the feet of an American president; he lunched in a remote Irish pub with the man known as "Hitler’s general"; and he had dinner often with Olympic legend Jesse Owens. He was as comfortable in the luxurious private gambling clubs of London’s Park Lane as he’d been in the Irish immigrant-packed, politically charged streets and kitchens of his native Westfield. He worked as a business consultant in the Middle East, particularly Iran and Oman, in the turbulent 1970s, and was a single father raising his kids and living year round on the supposedly idyllic island of Nantucket when most people thought the island closed on Labor Day. He has been a cancer victim and is – seemingly miraculously – a cancer survivor. He traveled joyfully all over Ireland with his family and friends, and he returned to China with a Yale classmate who had been recruited by the CIA during the Korean War, captured by the Chinese on his first mission into China, and completely abandoned by the US government, a prisoner of the Chinese Communists for over twenty years, and who in his return journey seemed to be seeking some type of final resolution to his tragic and painful ordeal.

And finally, Jack Warner was an almost blissfully content middle-aged bachelor, with no plans for a long term commitment on the horizon of his imagination, when he was completely floored by the love of a beautiful and warm woman who lived, he discovered, right around the corner from him on Nantucket, and who would change his life forever.

Jack Warner has, indeed, led a quietly amazing life. And Reflections in the Rearview Mirror is a wonderfully funny and moving book full of laughter, warmth, friendship and love.

So slide into the passenger’s seat – you’ll enjoy the ride.

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