Before there was “tourism” or “leisure time;” before souvenir ashtrays became “camp” and “kitsch;” before Goofy Golf became an “attraction” and today’s colossal theme parks could even be imagined, there was “Beautiful Lake of the Ozarks — Family Vacationland,” where to this day the ashtrays remain devoid of irony. It was here, at Arrowhead Lodge at Lake of the Ozarks, where Bill Geist spent his summers between high school and college working at this tacky resort.
What may have seemed “just a summer job” became, upon reflection, a transformative era where a cast of eccentric, small-town characters and experiences would make Bill the man he is today. Bill realized it was this time in his life that would shape his sensibilities, his humor, his writing, and ultimately a career searching the world for other such untamed characters for The Chicago Tribune and the New York Times.
In LAKE OF THE OZARKS, two-time Emmy Award-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Bill Geist reflects on his coming of age in the American heartland of the Midwest and traces his evolution as a man and a writer, in the summers between high school and college, before he went off to Vietnam and the country went to Hell. Written with Geistian warmth and quirky humor, LAKE OF THE OZARKS takes readers back to a bygone era, and shows how you can find inspiration in the most unexpected places.