My Father's War - eBook
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"In My Father's War Paul West writes with the precision of a scientist, the authority of an historian, and the insightfulness of a poet. This is a brave and beautiful memoir, and West remains one of our great chroniclers of life and the imagination." — Brad Morrow
Eight years prior to this book's publication, acclaimed novelist Paul West presented a warmly received memoir of his mother, My Mother's Music. Revisiting the scene, Paul West delivers in his 40th book an equally remarkable memoir of his father, a half-blinded, shell-shocked veteran of three years of trench warfare during "The War to End All Wars." But the time recounted mostly occupies 1939 to 1945, while ten-year-old Paul grows to fifteen. Together, father and son play war games, guarding the English coast from foxholes under the kitchen table, or watching as real Nazi bombers on moonlit nights pass overhead. Meanwhile, the father is forever instructing the son in the details of his own experience. The two have much in common, though distantly, and the boy Paul slowly learns to understand and even second-guess his father, though the compulsions that possess the war veteran remain a mystery that separates their generations — a conundrum of what the son wishes his still-damaged father could be, and those expectations no father can ever quite live up to. In this engaging memoir, Paul West recreates his own youth, and gives us in twenty-five chiseled chapters a view of two lives evoking the deep effects of war, and conveying the distance between those who survive its devastations, and those who must bear its consequence.
For the clothbound, go here. Sewn, jacketed, 187 pages, 5.5 x 8.5", 2005, 0-929701-75-5
2006 Selection of the Readers' Subscription Book Club
Finalist: 2005 Foreword Book-of-the-Year Award for Autobiography/Memoir