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Zero To Sixty [Paperback]

Gary Paulsen
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2001 Harvest Book
Nearing sixty, diagnosed with heart disease and feeling his mortality, Gary Paulsen buys his first Harley-Davidson and rides from his home in New Mexico to Alaska-and from the present into his past, through the landmarks of a singular life. Paulsen's journey is peopled with familiar faces, from the tough cop who saved him from juvenile delinquency to the prostitute whose career advice stopped him from quitting the army. And the work he does while on his bike-the work of mapping his life to find meaning-is of a piece with the pure sweat and muscle of youthful days spent on farms in Minnesota, or at the bottom of septic tank pits in Colorado, or wrangling dogsleds through the Alaskan wilderness. Amid the silence and beauty of running the road on his Harley, Paulsen celebrates the comforts of hard work, the thrill of challenge met bravely, and the peculiar joys of life lived to its fullest.

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Product Description


"[Paulsen's] anecdotes, by turns lyrical, moving and hilarious, reflect a rare clarity of mind and expression and are written in a stark, driving prose style . . . always leavened by a wry, often self-deprecating humor. . . . A book oddly magical from start to finish."

(The Washington Post)

About the Author

Gary Paulsen is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people, including three Newbery Honor books: The Winter Room, Hatcher, and Dogsong. He lives in New Mexico and on the Pacific Ocean.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor job by Gary Paulsen March 1 2003
By Frank
I love many of Gary Paulsen's books. I've heard Gary discuss his books at a bookstore appearance; Gary appears to be a very genuine, intelligent, and caring man and author.
BUT, this book seems to have been cobbled together to meet a contractual obligation. Not only is the book just 179 pages, but the print line spacing is expanded to "fluff" the text. Typical books have 28 to 32 lines of text per page; this book has 24. The title, on second thought, tries to play the life of Gary Paulsen in terms of a motorcycle ride: "zero to sixty" refers to Gary's current age, and "the journey of a lifetime" refers to Gary's life, not the motorcycle journey.
There's some glorification of how a Harley, different from any other motorcycle, "brought me out of myself, out ahead of myself, into myself, into the core of what I was, what I needed to live," but no thought about WHY the Harley brand does this for Gary -- or why other motorcyclists feel that other brands fit THEIR soul. (See _The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles_ for Melissa Holbrook Pierson's take on her relationship with her Moto Guzzi.)
_Zero to Sixty_ contains some interesting insights into Gary Paulsen's life, and has some beautifully written passages: but that's what you might expect in a long magazine interview.
The profanity is inappropriate and very stilted. Further, the profanity suddenly and almost totally stops halfway through the book at the start of chapter five -- almost as if an editor said, "Gary, you've got to throw some profanity into the first half of the book. After all, it is a 'Harley book.'" Who knows -- maybe the same editor later said, "hey, let's put out the same book under a different title and not tell anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Warning-Reprint-Title Change Only May 1 2000
This book is a reprint of Pilgrimage On a Steel Ride written in 1997. Do not be fooled by the new name, cover and ISBN number as I was. Don't get me wrong, I admire Mr Paulsen's work and have purchased in the past (and will continue to do so in the future) every book he has written for my public library partons. B-U-T I feel the publisher is remiss in not stating up front that this book is a renamed reprint of an earlier book. True, on the back cover near the bottom in very tiny writing you will find the information but only after you have purchased the book over the internet will you see this disclaimer. Perhaps the publisher was thinking more of traditional book store sales where you can actually see the back of the book and read a few lines, but if so they were very shortsighted.
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Zero to Sixty is a great story about a motorcycle trip around North America. It tells of the whole trip and throughout the book splits off to tell of what led up to it. How he started on a bike with playing cards tied to the fork to make it sound like a dirt bike and how he progressed to a Harley. I liked this book because it was realistic and interesting. There were problems to solve, memories to recolect and some parts were just left to the imagination. Gary Paulsen once again uses his great skill as an author to captivate the reader's attenion throughout the book.
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By A Customer
I had hoped for more from this book, which failed to hold my interest, despite being less than 200 pages. It's not a dud, however, but if you want an exciting read check out "Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba." I read this in one sitting, finishing about 4 a.m.! It's a fascinating and sometimes hilarious, sometimes hair-raising story of a 7,000-mile journey and justifiably won both the 2002 Lowell Thomas Award "Travel Book of the Year" and the North American Travel Journalist Association's Awards of Excellence "Grand Prize."
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