From debut author Walker comes a memoir chronicling a strict Catholic upbringing, fighting in Vietnam and life as an engineer.
Born in 1946 to Catholic parents with a desire for a large family, the author learned early that life wouldn’t be easy. Both his mother and father were violent and abusive, and they sent him to a Catholic school system notorious for severe reprimands (“If the kneeling miscreant moved again, he would find himself kneeling on a broom handle”), which resulted in a childhood flooded with physical pain. Drafted into the Marine Corps in 1966, Walker’s violent experiences only increased after leaving home. Walker served as a grunt during the height of the conflict in Vietnam and has plenty of bloody, disturbing tales to share; e.g., “If I live for one-thousand years, I will never forget the screams and keening of wounded and terrified Vietnamese women and children as both sides blasted them and their villages to offal.” While his post-Vietnam days were difficult, they tended to be more fruitful than his youth. After earning a degree in electrical engineering and starting a family, his later years remained stressful though markedly less hellish. Often wise and sometimes hopeful, the author presents a message of survival: “If I can do it, anybody can.” Walker’s unmitigated opinions range widely—he supports President Obama and has a particular distaste for “Western feminists,” socialism and the Catholic Church. Crude at times—“Fuji was in her early thirties but she was incredibly good looking, had a fantastic body and gave the best massage and hand job I have ever had”—the story moves along, warts and all. Short on nostalgia and featuring references to everything from Dilbert comics to the Voyager spacecraft, the book amounts to a candid account of one man’s life and times.
A brutal, ultimately optimistic baby boomer memoir that pulls no punches.