When talking about the essence of the book. It is fair to say that the author began it and ended it with his father. His father as Shields describes is perhaps the most active and larger than life individual he has ever known. He describes several instances where his father would seemingly do the impossible. He tells of a story when he survived electrocution from stepping on a third railway track. He tells of another where at 87 he finished a tennis match and won while suffering from a heart attack. He even tells of simpler things, such as when he chided him for not jumping over the playground fence as a child. Apparently the author saw it was closed and left, much to the approval of his mother.
Milton Shields is apparently the perfect example of an alpha male. He has held more than fifty jobs spanning across several occupations from journalism to social welfare. He even details how sexually active his father still was while he was in 70s. He has also been psychologically disturbed for 50 years. He is a manic depressive who has received several electroshock therapies and yet even at the ripe age of 97 he is still very much alive. He is still the sort of person who wills still swim regularly and even run around the track if possible.
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