Last November I visited my friends, Rick and Zena, in Florida, and got to share the wonderful Miami International Book Fair with them. Mike Farrell was supposed to be one of the many author guests and being that I was a big fan of the television show M.A.S.H., of which he was one of the central characters, I was especially looking forward to hearing him speak and seeing him in person. Well for whatever reason, Mike Farrell had to cancel, but as I started reading through one of his books his publisher, Akashic Books, had at their booth, I was instantly wanting to read more so I bought Of Mule And Man (there were other books in my reading stack that made me only just now having gotten to actually reading it this past week though).
Of Mule And Man is actually a follow up novel to Mike Farrell's Just Call Me Mike: A journey to Actor and Activist (which I haven't read yet). The "Mule" in the title, refers to the Prius hybrid car that Mike Farrell rented to travel across the U.S. in to promote the release of the paperback edition of Just Call Me Mike. Anyone who has ever watched M.A.S.H. knows what a great character BJ, the character Mike Farrell played was, but I'm happy to have discovered that the real life person Mike Farrell is, is also a great person, being involved in many human rights issues, with his focus being on working with groups who oppose the death penalty (and many of these groups were sponsors of Mike Farrell's book store, library, and other stops across the nation in 2008).
Of Mule And Man is a collection of the journal entries Mike Farrell wrote during his cross country five week trek across the U.S. and although the subject matter of most of the entries, being that they deal with the human rights injustices occurring here in the U.S. and around the world is of a very serious nature, Of Mule And Man isn't ultimately an oppressive, depressing book as Farrell is helping to put a spotlight on human right organizations around the country that are changing the old guard. I especially enjoyed the way Mike Farrell treats his rented Prius (Mule) as if it were a companion (and though he talks to Mule, I know that Farrell doesn't really think that it is a living entity like a person, just that he does appreciate the can do that makes a car like the Prius possible).
For more info on human rights organizations that Mike Farrell has worked with visit: www.mikefarrell.org.
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