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Against All Odds: My Story [Paperback]

Chuck Norris , Ken Abraham
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 15 2006
A New York Times best seller. Millions of people worldwide know Chuck Norris as the star of more than twenty motion pictures, a martial arts expert, and the only man in the Western Hemisphere to hold an eighth degree Black Belt Grand Master in Tae Kwon Do. Countless others see him daily in syndicated reruns as the hero of the longest running CBS series to date, "Walker, Texas Ranger." What many don't know is that Chuck Norris is a sincere Christian-a man whose faith plays a role in everything he does. Against All Odds is the inspirational story of how Norris overcame abject poverty from childhood, the effects of his father's alcoholism and desertion of the family, and his own shyness and lack of strength and ability early in his life. Norris writes candidly about the past and gives God full credit for where he is today.

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From Publishers Weekly

In this autobiography, Norris and Abraham catalogue in a mostly chronological fashion the major events of Norris's Horatio Alger–like life. After a tumultuous and impoverished childhood marred by an alcoholic father, Norris turned his life around by joining the military and learning a martial art, tang soo do, while stationed in Korea. Having achieved a black belt, he returned to the United States and built a career as a karate instructor, winning six world championships. Norris counted many celebrities among his students, including Steve McQueen, who, along with Bruce Lee, encouraged Norris to pursue a film and television career. Even though Norris and Abraham employ a bland style of reportage, often bereft of smooth transitions and replete with empty phrases such as "I've always had a special place in my heart for children," the facts of Norris's life make this book compelling. Not only has he succeeded in martial arts and acting, but he has a long, eclectic list of additional achievements and experiences, such as breaking a world record in boat racing and being a close friend of the Bush family. While this book is being promoted as a Christian autobiography, Norris did not fully embrace a Christian lifestyle until the mid-1990s. Despite its limited spiritual content, this memoir will please those who admire Norris's achievements and conservative activism.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From AudioFile

Fans of Chuck Norris may see him as an action hero in the John Wayne mold, but his autobiography presents a different image of the "Walker, Texas Ranger" star. Norris describes himself as a shy youth who finally blossomed while studying martial arts as a soldier in South Korea. His self-deprecating humor shows through anecdotes about karate defeats, white-knuckled speaking engagements, and his failure to become a Los Angeles policeman, which led to his fame as a karate champion. His life philosophies reveal relentless optimism, usually tempered with pragmatism. Norris's son, Michael, reads with an appropriately upbeat tone, actually sounding a little awkward in places, echoing his father's early shyness. J.A.S. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Man Nov. 26 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Chuck Norris, film star makes no bones about his impoverished youth or his drunken father. Every detail, written extremely well, is detailed in this excellent book. The courage and determination he portrayed throughout his life is so much more than he could have ever achieved on screen in the greatest of movies. This is a must read and highly rated memoir along the lines of "Nightmares Echo', "A Paper Life" or "Running With Scissors"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing man - A book full of surprises! Aug. 10 2010
Format:Hardcover
If you think you know Chuck Norris you have to read this book! I was astonished by his life experiences and mostly by his acceptance of what is, not what could have been. He is truly inspiring in more ways than I imagined. I admired him as a martial artist but now admire him as a person too. A must read for all who want to make the best of what life sends them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I've read his previous autobiography from the late 80's, also a fantastic book. This one did have a lot from his previous book, but I still couldn't put it down. His writing and life are so fascinating. An all around humble, honest , great guy and it shows through his writing. Really enjoyed this.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  306 reviews
69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A journey of faith told in three books April 16 2005
By Erik Olson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed Chuck Norris's action movies when I was growing up in the 80s. They were a pretty good diversion for a teenager intrigued by the martial arts and longing for adventure. But eventually my interests turned elsewhere. Twenty years later, I've been reading books by and about various martial artists. So when I saw "Against All Odds" at a Christian bookstore, I was intrigued. I had no idea that Chuck Norris was a God-fearing kind of guy, so I had to find out more about him. "Against All Odds" is a Christian-themed autobiography (written with Ken Abraham) that covers Mr. Norris's life from a difficult childhood to his present day success as a martial artist, actor, and businessman. It's an easy and interesting read (although there are way too many exclamation points).

However, I ended up reading his other two books first. They augmented this book and gave me a more comprehensive perspective on Mr. Norris's life journey. "The Secret Power Within" is a 1996 self-help book advocating a Zen-based approach to living. It contains several anecdotes from Mr. Norris's life illustrating the benefits of the Zen philosophy. It's somewhat similar to Joe Hyams's classic book "Zen and the Martial Arts." The second book is Mr. Norris's prior autobiography "The Secret of Inner Strength," written in 1988 with Joe Hyams. The philosophical focus of "The Secret of Inner Strength" is more cognitive, based on achieving goals using positive thinking and visualization. Each chapter ends with a couple of bullet-point principles for the reader's personal application. In light of this newest book, I found it intriguing that a relationship with God was not a major theme in either of Mr. Norris's previous works.

My curiosity stoked, I dove into "Against All Odds" to see how Mr. Norris got to Christ via martial arts, Zen, and positive thinking. It's mostly a retelling of "The Secret of Inner Strength," with some reworking and 16 years worth of additional information. I found it interesting to compare and contrast the two autobiographical books. He has recast some events from the first book with a Christian perspective, and also expands on other parts in light of the passage of time. For example, Mr. Norris reveals that his first marriage was more problematic than portrayed in "The Secret of Inner Strength." He admits to having an affair that produced a daughter, and eventually he and Dianne divorced. Subsequently, Mr. Norris remarried and started another family, got involved in politics, and embarked on a successful business venture with the Total Gym home workout machine. But most importantly to him, Mr. Norris reaffirmed his relationship with Jesus Christ and became a committed Christian. In contrast to his earlier books, he now credits God for his achievements.

Other reviewers have given Mr. Norris a bad time about his moral failures, especially with his profession of Christianity. He's also an unabashedly conservative Bush supporter, so Democrats might find this book tough to swallow. But he's refreshingly honest about his shortcomings. Mr. Norris owes up to his failures with Dianne, and seems to have made peace with his loved ones. He has some commendable actions to his credit, such as involvement with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and his own KICKSTART program to build character in kids using the martial arts. Perhaps there's more "dirt" waiting to be uncovered. But I'm not willing to cast the first stone, and overall his story is an inspiring one. Mr. Norris discovered Christ at the end of a long and winding road, and I found that to be encouraging.

If you buy "Against All Odds," I recommend checking out the other books mentioned above to get the "big picture" of Mr. Norris's life. Some Christians may struggle with the Zen and visualization stuff, but there are applicable insights that can deepen our walk with Christ.
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chuck Norris - a man to emulate! Jan. 9 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the story of Chuck Norris. I really enjoyed it and wish everyone would read it. Many know that Chuck was a 6 time undefeated professional world champion of Karate. Many have seem the movies he has made. Most people have seen his TV series, "Walker, Texas Ranger." But other than that we know little of who he really is. Chuck Norris is one of the more down to earth Hollywood types who has had his share of ups and downs.

His story chronicles his life and shows how he dealt with the things that have faced him and his family. Like all of us, he has failed at times. Like all of us, he wishes that he had done somethings differently.

Chucks faith in Christ is evident throughout the book. Yet he doesn't hammer us with it. Many of the projects that were started through Chuck's desire to help people are a direct result of his faith in Christ.

"Against All Odds: My Story," by Chuck Norris is a very engaging book that you will enjoy and find hard to put it down.
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Autobiographical Story-Quick Afternoon Read Aug. 30 2004
By K.H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Chuck Norris, a true good guy in the martial arts world, has written another book about his life. While his first book, "Secrets of My Inner Strength", co-wriiten by Joe Hyamms covers some of the same material here, this book goes a little farther because, well, Chuck is a little older and many events in the last 15 years have occur to tell a little bit of a different story.

The last Bio was written better from an entertainment point of view- mostly because Joe Hyamms is a great writer, but this book is a little less self congratulory. Here Chuck admits his affair on his first wife in the 60's that produced a child, his divorce with Dianne, and his "living in sin" before marrying his current wife. He admits his falleness as a fallen man, but also his re-newed faith in Christ in his journey to a more fulfilled life.

The martial arts fan still learns much about his early martial arts training in Tang Soo Do while stationed in South Korea as a Security Policeman (of which I was also for 13 years, his early struggels in operating a dogo and tournament competition to enterng the film world and the Vietnam war and his family.

The writing is a little light at times, but he hit his target audience just right. For those who are looking for a more in-depth look at his martial arts film career, you may be disappointed and I agree that since much of his life is ceneter around his celebrity, he could have added another chapter discussing his films more in-depth (of wehich his other book did and therefore, he may not felt a need to do so). He talks about friends Bruce Lee and Bob Wall, his sons Mike and Eric, his new children, being a father husband and friend. An enjoyable read.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CHUCK NORRIS APPROVED March 20 2008
By L. Schleiger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My son requested this book (bonus enough he ASKED for a BOOK!) :) for Christmas, & he was ecstatic to get it! He's really enjoyed reading it & says to please tell you it is an honor to read about a real life American hero in his own words, & is (he told me to capitalize this) CHUCK NORRIS APPROVED! WE LOVE CHUCK!!!
53 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book March 8 2006
By S - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Chuck Norris doesn't actually write books, the words assemble themselves out of fear.
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