A touching biography of a World War II soldier that unfolds like a mystery.

Love, Bill

FINDING MY FATHER THROUGH LETTERS FROM WORLD WAR II

A woman doggedly investigates the details of her father’s life, a man she hardly knew.

When debut author Krulick-Belin was only a child living in Queens in 1960, her father was hospitalized for bone marrow cancer, and the morning of his departure was the last time she ever saw him. An intensely private woman, her mother responded to the tragedy of the loss with an impregnable reticence, zealously guarding information about the man and her life with him from her children. The author grew up under the regime of this “deafening silence,” not even knowing what disease felled her father until years later. On her 40th birthday, one of her aunts gave her a series of cassettes on which the relative recorded a sort of informal family history, but even that studiously excluded huge pieces of the overall puzzle. In 2001, the author’s mother grew ill and moved to a nursing home in Florida near one of her sons, leaving Krulick-Belin to pack up the apartment. In the process, her husband found an old box of letters her father wrote to her mother, which the author was allowed to keep on the condition that she only read them after her mother’s death. Her mother died about a year after the move, but Krulick-Belin, anxious about what secrets the box might reveal, waited six years before she finally perused the contents. The letters were sent from various theaters of battle during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, many while her father participated in the Army’s North African campaign. Krulick-Belin reproduces the letters in full here, and they reveal a tender man, insecurely anxious about the requiting of his affections. And as the author tenaciously examines her father’s life, she learns about her mother, too, who, unbeknown to her, had a prior marriage that was annulled. This remembrance, the result of extraordinary detective work, is a moving love letter from daughter to father but also a testament to the emotional significance of family legacy. For the reader unacquainted with the author’s family, this biography may seem both too long and too detailed. Nonetheless, it remains a poignant fusion of history and familial devotion.

A touching biography of a World War II soldier that unfolds like a mystery. 

Pub Date: April 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4575-4379-1

Page Count: 530

Publisher: Dog Ear

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2016

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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