The following pages will prove that the sister's perspicacious remark remains relevant about fifty years after the fact. But this account is not a traditional memoir in the sense that I mean to tell you my life story. I don't want to do that, because I happen to think I'm a pretty boring guy. So a recitation of my existence wouldn't do anyone much good. Instead, I will attempt to define why I believe what I believe by telling you how those convictions grew directly out of my life experience. This tactic is designed to keep you, the reader, entertained and amused, as you and I probably have much in common, at least in the upbringing department.
Once out of childhood, the adult bold, fresh piece of humanity got around, visiting more than seventy countries, observing four wars up close and personal, meeting thousands of people, and having millions of laughs. So we'll take a look at some of that stuff in relation to important issues like war, peace, prosperity, and your daily life. Since millions of you listen to my bloviations on TV and radio, this book might provide some clarity, bonding (hate that word), and even some sympathy (although I don't seek it). Also, the following pages just might tee some people off even further. Either way, we'll have some fun.
If you know my work, you might have figured out that I am not a philosopher or a dreamer. I do not live in a theoretical world or gain insights by attempting to read the thoughts of others. Instead, in line with the exhortations of Teddy Roosevelt, I embrace a strenuous life. My attitudes about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have been formed by a multitude of unique occurrences that happened directly to me. Some of those events I will share with you, hoping that the sheer ego of the exercise will evaporate as you begin to understand how a doltish, working-class kid from Levittown, Long Island, New York, has "evolved" into perhaps the most controversial journalist and commentator in the United States of America.
I believe Sister Mary Lurana (who, by the way, is still alive and once sent me a very kind letter) is proud of me. Although, in truth, the anguish I put her through cannot ever be fully exorcised, even by a William Peter Blatty character. But there is no doubt that the way I think today has its roots in my traditional childhood home and in the strict Catholic schools I attended. Therefore, we'll take an incisive look at those influences as well as other significant events in the life of O'Reilly, all with an eye toward convincing you that the point of view I bring to the world is worthy, and might even help you in your life.
For starters, it really did all begin in the mid-1950s, when America's population was half of what it is today. Hope as well as the challenge of swift change was in the air. The USA had survived the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean War. Despite saber rattling by the Soviet Union, things were looking up and everyday life was fairly simple, at least compared to today. You worked, obeyed the law, cared for your family, looked out for your neighbors, and respected your country. At least, that was the creed of the huge working class, which did most of the country's heavy lifting.