Monday, April 5, 2010

My Father's Secret War

Lucinda Franks, the author of this memoir, is a Pulitzer Prize winning author for her national reporting. The fact that she is an award winning writer was evident as I was reading My Father's Secret War. The writing is superb - always engaging, including snippets of Franks life that allowed me to feel as though I knew her and her family. Franks' relationship with her father was not close during her childhood and early adulthood. In addition, the relationship between her parents also seemed rather cold and lacking of any affection. Finally, as her father begins to lose his memory, Franks starts to uncover her father's past.

Synopsis: Prior to his daughter's birth, Tom Franks had served in the military during World War II. The stories he told about his time overseas satisfied most who asked questions, yet Lucinda kept digging for more about her dad's service, trying to understand his role in the war. The many skills he possessed seemed to indicate that perhaps Franks had participated in the war as a spy. Yet, as Lucinda asked her father about this, he often changed the subject or told her he could not remember. It was true that Tom Franks was losing his memory and he began to drift away from his family. As Franks' husband, Bob Morgenthau, began developing the Holocaust Museum in New York City, Tom Franks contributes his own oral retelling of events he was a part of, including the liberation of a concentration camp, further driving Lucinda's desire to know more of her father.

Lucinda makes some interesting discoveries about her parents' marriage and her father's role in the war. By knowing what events her father witnessed and experienced Franks is able to understand her dad a bit more and the distance he always kept between him and his loved ones.

Why I Liked This Book: First of all, since this a memoir, what's not to like? Second of all, this is clearly written by someone who is not just an average writer. Franks did a great deal of research about World War II and managed to include factual information and historical information along with biographical information about both her father's past, and the present for her father and her own family. Franks is also brutally honest about herself and those she loves, not shying away from the truth even though it may be less than flattering at times. Her willingness to be so honest helps give credibility to her writing and the story she tells.

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1 comment:

Anna said...

Sounds like a must-read for me! Thanks for the review.

I've linked to your review on the Book Reviews: WWII page on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric