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History Is His Story


Professor John RossiLa Salle University History professor John Rossi has long taught the story of important people and places to his students. But now he has told his own tale.

Rossi has written “Tales of Lower Olney,” a personal recollection of growing up on Ruscomb Street in the post-World War 2 era. His book uses tales from his own life as a way to detail what it was like to grow up during the unique time period when the U.S. emerged, as he says, as the world’s single most powerful society.

“My stories are only unique in that they happened to me. But they are typical of the time. America was a different place in those days. The country was optimistic about the future, an optimism reflected in the nation's booming prosperity,” Rossi said.

Rossi’s story is like many who grew up in urban America during that time period. Rossi attended La Salle and became the first member of his family to graduate from college. But he also learned many lessons from his life outside of the classroom, both positive and negative.

“Growing up in Olney was a great experience. There was a great deal of stability. People didn't move around so you grew up in a stable world. I   Young John Rossilearned a lot of lessons from the adults that grew up around. Most were kind people who watched out for you but there was a great lesson in humanity also,” Rossi said. “Some of the adults in my world were alcoholics and I found it very hard to understand how such otherwise nice people had this problem. You have to understand that drunkenness was public in those days. Many hard working men would drink after work and come home publicly drunk. So it was part of life back then.”

Rossi has published many articles and books over his career. He’s a well-regarded expert on British political history and on the work of George Orwell. However, he’s perhaps best known for his love of baseball; Rossi has written many essays about The National Pastime and has also taught a class on the sport’s relation with 20th Century American history. But now, he hopes to use the many adventures of his life as a teaching tool. “I just wanted to tell what life was life for a young man growing up in a particular part of the country at that time,” Rossi said.


“Tales of Lower Olney” by John P. Rossi is available through Clossen Press, www.clossenpress.com.