A Clueless Rebel
Confessions of a Clueless Rebel is a witty, yet insightful, tour de forceabout breaking away from one’s childhood culture. Tom Corbett brings us back to the post–World War II period when he came of age in a rough and tumble ethnic, working-class neighborhood. It is a story of redemption and promise fulfilled. From a kid who showed no promise whatsoever, he underwent an array of transformative experiences from Catholic seminary training to the leader of a left-wing college group through Peace Corps service in India. His journey took him to a rather remarkable career as a nationally respected policy wonk, university teacher, and sometime scholar. Along the way, he dazzles us with humorous accounts of his tragic efforts to woo the Catholic girls of his youth, his several early jobs such as guarding city sewers, tending patients during the graveyard shift in an urban hospital, and trying to reach desperately poor kids in a distressed neighborhood. Mostly, though, this is a compelling story about overcoming crippling self-doubt and a provincial early environment to find his own way in life. It is a story of personal rebellion, of transformation and triumph. It is also a very private journey that brings you back in time, that makes you laugh often, think a lot, and perhaps even shed a tear or two.