An Unlikely American Success Story
Last year, I came upon the show Duck Dynasty on A&E while channel surfing one night. I found it both funny and fascinating and was instantly hooked! The next day, I watched as many episodes “On Demand” as they had, because I wanted more Robertson fun.
This show about a Louisiana family became one of the most unlikely hits to appear on the small screen. They hunt, they like each other, they are an intact, multi-generational family and they have a deep Christian faith. Where else can you see that on television?
The fact is that the business was around for many years before the reality show ever aired. Fans have been clamoring to know more about the Robertsons, and their wish came true with the publication of The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family and Ducks Built a Dynasty. It was written by Willie Robertson, the CEO of Duck Commander, and his wife Korie, who manages the business, and Mark Schlabach.Credit: www.amazon.com
The Beginning of the Robertson Story
Phil Robertson, Willie’s father and the founder of Duck Commander, was born on the family farm outside of Vivian, Louisiana. He was one of seven children who grew up hunting and fishing to help feed the family.
He played football in high school, where he met his future wife, Miss Kay, when she was in ninth grade and he was in tenth. They got married when she was sixteen and he was eighteen.
Phil was such a good a athlete that he received a scholarship to Louisiana Tech University, where he played alongside Terry Bradshaw. Despite being a star player, he eventually quit the team because it interfered with hunting. It was a decision that he never regretted.
He did finish his teaching degree and eventually earned a Master’s degree as well. Unfortunately, Phil like to drink and carouse and he was not, at that time, a very good family man. He eventually found Christianity at the age of 28 and changed his ways, as Miss Kay forgave him for all that he had done. 
The Perfect Read for Fans
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Phil is a Low Tech Guy
How the Company Began
The first family business was not making duck calls; they worked as commercial fisherman. This way Phil could support the family while starting out his fledging business. People thought he was a bit “out there” with the way he raised his family and how they lived their lives, but in the book, Willie shares that he had the best childhood and felt like he missed out on nothing.
Eventually, the business began to thrive, at least seasonally, and all of the children and other family members were expected to help fill orders, pack boxes and answer the phones. There was no complaining, because that would have been disrespectful and most certainly untolerated by Phil.
The story continues and the company began to get bigger and bigger after Willie took over as CEO. He even started his own company, Buck Commander, for those who loved deer hunting.
Two Sides of the Story
Willie and Korie Take Turns
Credit: www.amazon.comEach chapter begins with a Bible verse andends with one of Willie or Kay’s recipes. In between, Willie and Korie share their family stories, which are as divergent as you can get. While Willie grew up in the Louisiana backwoods with very little parental involvement because they were always working, Korie grew up in what Phil would call a “yuppie” environment with parents who were very involved in their lives. Korie had a steady stream of lessons after school, while Willie was unable to do anything like that because they lived so far out of town, and Phil and Kay were busy with the business and trying to survive.
The one thing the families had in common was their strong Christian faith. In fact, Willie and Korie met while they were in the third grade at a Christian summer camp. Their relationship had it’s ups and downs during the middle school and high school years, but they married at the age of eighteen and have been together ever since.
You can tell who is speaking in the book because Korie and Willie’s sections are written in different fonts. The stories are juxtaposed, and this makes the differences in how they were reared appear even greater. The couple shares how they are raising their five children, how they kept their marriage together during the early years when they were so very young and had no money, and how supportive they are of each other and what each person brings to their marriage.
The theme of the book is that faith and family, in that order, triumphs over adversity. Everything good that has happened to them, the Robertsons attribute to their belief in G-d and following His word. Even when times were tough, Willie shows examples of how miracles, like money coming out of nowhere when there was nothing left to pay the bills, occurred.
The love of family is also weaved throughout the book. This is no lovey dovey fairy tale. Willie and his brothers were quite a handful for their mother! Willie and his older brother, Jase, were quite competitive when they were younger, and they still are. But no matter what, they are brothers and that is all that matters.
Willie and Jase's Fight Story
Phil's Side of the Story
Five Star Reviews
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At times, some of the stories become repetitive, but overall, The Duck Commander Family is a must read book for fans of the program.