Shortly after his mother dies of breast cancer when he is ten years old, Michael Blumenthal discovers that she was not his biological mother, and that his aunt and uncle, immigrant chicken farmers living in Vineland, New Jersey, are really his parents.
As fate would have it, his adoptive father, a German-Jewish refugee raised by a loveless and embittered stepmother after his own mother died in childbirth, has inflicted on his stepson a fate uncannily—and terrifyingly—similar to his own: Having first adopted Michael, in part, to help his dying wife, he then imposes on him the same sort of penurious and loveless stepmother whom he himself had had to survive. With these revelations, the "mysteries" that seem to have permeated Michael's childhood are laid bare, triggering a quest for belonging that will infiltrate the author's entire adult life.
"Treating birth as ritual, Reed makes clever use of his anthropological expertise, qualitative data, and personal experience to bring to life the frustrations and joys men often encounter as they navigate the medical model of birthing."-William Marsiglio, author Sex, Men, and Babies: Stories of Awareness and Responsibility
In the past two decades, men have gone from being excluded from the delivery room to being admitted, then invited, and, finally, expected to participate actively in the birth of their children. No longer mere observers, fathers attend baby showers, go to birthing classes, and share in the intimate, everyday details of their partners' pregnancies.
In this unique study, Richard Reed draws on the feminist critique of professionalized medical birthing to argue that the clinical nature of medical intervention distances fathers from child delivery. He explores men's roles in childbirth and the ways in which birth transforms a man's identity and his relations with his partner, his new baby, and society. In other societies, birth is recognized as an important rite of passage for fathers. Yet, in American culture, despite the fact that fathers are admitted into delivery rooms, little attention is given to their transition to fatherhood.
The book concludes with an exploration of what men's roles in childbirth tell us about gender and American society. Reed suggests that it is no coincidence that men's participation in the birthing process developed in parallel to changing definitions of fatherhood more broadly. Over the past twenty years, it has become expected that fathers, in addition to being strong and dependable, will be empathetic and nurturing.
Well-researched, candidly written, and enriched with personal accounts of over fifty men from all parts of the world, this book is as much about the birth of fathers as it is about fathers in birth.
From the all-star cast who brought you The Seven Deadly Virtues comes a book with a look at the good life… or the crazy-stressful-overwhelmed life… of a father.
The Dadly Virtues is a tongue-in-cheek collection of encouragement and guidance for any stage of fatherhood, from pacifying babies to prepping for senior prom, from cutting the cord to getting the first, “Best Grandpa” t-shirt. P.J. O’Rourke sets the stage with the chapter, “What Do Men Get from Fatherhood? Besides What They Put In …” and then is followed by:
•Matthew Continetti’s, “Newborn Terror: The Moment You Realize that ‘Bundle of Joy’ Is a Euphemism for Something Very Different.”
•Stephen F. Hayes’ “Siblings: The Best Gift You’ll Ever Give Your Kids.”
•Jonah Goldberg’s “Get Your Kid a Dog: The Moral Case for Pets.”
•Tucker Carlson’s “In Praise of Adventure: How to Fill a Child’s Life with Excitement and Danger (without Getting Them Killed).”
•Michael Graham’s, “Dating: Enjoy the Movie and Please Keep the Impregnation to a Minimum.”
•Christopher Caldwell’s “College: It’s Not as Bad as You Think; It’s Worse.”
•Andrew Ferguson’s “Emerging Adults and Empty Nesters: Just When You Had Fatherhood All Figured Out.”
•Toby Young’s “The Dark Side: Bad Parenting and the Things We Think, but Do Not Say.”
•Joseph Epstein’s “Thanks, Grandpa: Grandfatherhood and the Spirit of the Age.”
Father-to-be, two-time-dad, or granddad, each essay will make you laugh and, at the same time, reinforce your commitment to the virtuous—the dadly—life.
Daughters, Fathers, and the Novel is a provocative study of the father-daughter story—a neglected dimension of the family romance. It has important implications for the history of the novel, for our understanding of key texts in that history, and for theories concerning the representation of gender, family relations, and heterosexuality in Western culture.
In the English and American novel, argues Lynda Zwinger, “the good woman” . . . is a father’s daughter, . . . constructed to the very particular specifications of an omnipresent and unvoiced paternal desire.” Zwinger supports her case with an analysis of both “high-brow” and “low-brow” novels and with ingenious textual analyses of five novels: Clarissa Harlowe, Dombey and Son, Little Women, The Golden Bowl, and The Story of O.
In the dominant discourse of Anglo-American culture, the father’s daughter provides the cornerstone for the patriarchal edifice of domesticity and the alibi for patriarchal desire. Zwinger’s analysis of the sexual politics embodied in the figure of this sentimental daughter raises compelling critical and cultural issues. Zwinger shows how different readings of Clarissa’s story form a sentimental composite that makes her available in perpetuity to heterosexual desire. Dombey and Son illuminates the erotic dimension of the sentimental, the titillation always inherent in the spectacle of virtue in distress. Zwinger’s analysis of Little Women in the context of Louisa May Alcott’s own life-text focuses upon the problems of a daughter trying to write the filial romance. The Golden Bowl deploys the daughter of sentiment as a “cover story” for a feminine version of the Oedipal story, founded on the daughter who can’t say yes, but doesn’t say no. The Story of O reveals the pornographic dimension in romantic and sentimental love.
In her conclusion, Zwinger offers an overview of the nineteenth-century novel, asking what difference it makes when the writer is a daughter. She shows how the daughter’s family romance pictures the father as inadequate, ironically requiring the sentimental daughter as a patriarchal prop. She develops a useful concept of hysteria and argues that generic “disorder” and hysterical “intrusions” mark the family romance novels of Jane Austen, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, and George Eliot. And finally, she makes the case that the daughter’s choice to stay home is not necessarily an act of simple complicity, for by staying home she comes as close as she can to disrupting the father-daughter romance.
“How do you thank the person who gave you a vantage from which to see the world?” This question is more than the opening statement of Father Nature: Fathers as Guides to the Natural World—it is the resounding theme that runs through each of the essays in this tribute to fathers and fathering and to nature, the connection that ties them together.
In addition to the editors, the contributors include Lorraine Anderson, John Bower, Brain Doyle, John Elder, Mark Harfenist, Bernd Heinrich, ted Kooser, Gretchen Legler, Charles W. Luckmann, Stephen J. Lyons, Jessica Maxwell, James McKean, Mark Menlove, John Rember, Scott Russell Sanders, David Sobel, and Frank Stewart.
Both poignant and entertaining, Father Nature is an inspiring tribute to fathers who shared one gift that can be passed down for generations—a profound love and respect for the natural world.
Allen Tate Ohio University Press, 1984 Library of Congress PS3539.A74F3 1984 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
The Fathers is the powerful novel by the poet and critic recognized as one of the great men of letters of our time.
Old Major Buchan of Pleasant Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia, lived by a gentlemen's agreement to ignore what was base or rude, to live a life which was gentle and comfortable because it was formal. Into this life George Posey came dashing, as Henry Steele Commager observed, “to defy Major Buchan, marry Susan, betray Charles and Semmes, dazzle young Lacy, challenge and destroy the old order of things.”
The Fathers was published in 1938. It sold respectably in both the United States and England, perhaps because people expected it to be another Gone With the Wind, wheras it is in fact the novel Gone With the Wind ought to have been. Since its publication it has received very little attention, considering that it is one of the most remarkable novels of our time. Its occasion is a public one, the achievement and the destruction of Virginia's antebellum civilization. Within that occasion it discovers a terrible conflict between two fundamental and irreconcilable modes of existence, a conflict that has haunted American experience, but exists in some form at all times. The Fathers moves between the public and the private aspects of this conflict with an ease very unusual in American novels, and this ease is the most obvious illustration of the novel's remarkable unity of idea and form, for it is itself a manifestation of the novel's central idea, that “the belief widely held today, that men may live apart from the political order, that indeed the only humane and honorable satisfactions must be gained in spite of the public order, “is a fantasy.”
One of the most challenging goals for welfare reformers has been improving the collection of child support payments from noncustodial parents, usually fathers. Often vilified as deadbeats who have dropped out of their children's lives, these fathers have been the target of largely punitive enforcement policies that give little consideration to the complex circumstances of these men's lives. Fathers' Fair Share presents an alternative to these measures with an in-depth study of the Parents Fair Share Program. A multi-state intervention run by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, the program was designed to better the life skills of nonpaying fathers with children on public assistance, in the belief that this would encourage them to improve their level of child support. The men chosen for the program frequently lived on the margins of society. Chronically unemployed or underemployed, undereducated, and often earning their money on the streets, they bore the scars of drug or alcohol abuse, troubled family lives, and arrest records. Among those of African American and Hispanic descent, many felt a deep-rooted distrust of the mainstream economy. The Parents Fair Share Program offered these men the chance not only to learn the social skills needed for stable employment but to participate in discussions about personal difficulties, racism, and problems in their relationships with their children and families. Fathers' Fair Share details the program's mix of employment training services, peer support groups, and formal mediation of disputes between custodial and noncustodial parents. Equally important, the authors explore the effect of the participating fathers' expectations and doubts about the program, which were colored by their often negative views about the child support and family law system. The voices heard in Fathers' Fair Share provides a rare look into the lives of low-income fathers and how they think about their struggles and prospects, their experiences in the workplace, and their responsibilities toward their families. Parents Fair Share demonstrated that, in spite of their limited resources, these men are more likely to make stronger efforts to improve support payments and to become greater participants in their children's lives if they encounter a less adversarial and arbitrary enforcement system. Fathers' Fair Share offers a valuable resource to the design of social welfare programs seeking to reach out to this little-understood population, and addresses issues of tremendous importance for those concerned about welfare reform, child support enforcement, family law, and employment policy.
Many of the world’s most renowned and exciting ornamental plants—including magnolias, roses, rhododendrons, tree peonies, lilies, and blue poppies—have their origins in China. In the mid-nineteenth century, professional plant hunters were dispatched by nurseries and botanic gardens to collect living botanical specimens from China for cultivation in Europe, and it is these adventurers and nurserymen who are often credited with the explosive bloom of Chinese flowers in the West.
But as Jane Kilpatrick shows in Fathers of Botany, the first Westerners to come upon and document this bounty were in fact cut from a different cloth: the clergy. Following the Opium Wars, European missionaries were the first explorers to dig further into the Chinese interior and send home evidence of one of the richest and most varied floras ever seen, and it was their discoveries that caused a sensation among Western plantsmen. Both men of faith and talented botanists alike, these missionaries lent their names to many of the plants they discovered, but their own stories disappeared into the leaf litter of history. Drawing on their letters and contemporary accounts, Kilpatrick focuses on the lives of four great French missionary botanists—Pères Armand David (of Davidia involucrata—the dove tree—and discoverer of the giant panda), Jean Marie Delavay, Paul Guillaume Farges, and Jean André Soulié—as well as a group of other French priests, Franciscan missionaries, and a single German Protestant pastor who all amassed significant plant collections, as she unearths a lost chapter of botanical history. In so doing, she reminds today’s gardeners and botanists—and any of us who stop to smell the roses—of the enormous debt owed to these obscure fathers of botany.
The main purpose of The Fathers of the Church in Christian Theology is to argue that Patristic studies still has much to contribute to theological reflections in our time. Throughout history, the reading of the Fathers of the Church has made major contributions to Christian thinking. This fecundity was notably verified in the 20th century through the work of theologians like Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar. It was as well manifested broadly in the life of the church that, with the Vatican II council, drew from the patristic tradition a source of inspiration for its own renewal.
However, even though the research and work on early Christianity has experienced considerable growth for several decades, Christian theology is today confronted with new questions. Thus, what status to recognize in the exegesis of the Fathers? Has not the distance from the heritage of patristic thinking been widened? More radically, do not the demands of contextual theologies on diverse continents compel a distancing away from some traditions that formerly were principally limited to Mediterranean and European regions?
If these questions must be taken into account, they, nevertheless, cannot dispense with Christian theology being, today as yesterday, inspired and made fecund by the writings of the Fathers. Michel Fédou attempts to shed light on what, in our own era, justifies the necessity of a patristic theology. He shows how the reading of the Fathers contributes to the understanding of the faith in the different fields of Christian thinking. It highlights the importance of their writings for the spiritual life and the valuable nourishment that they thus offer to our times.
Fathers, Preachers, Rebels, Men: Black Masculinity in U.S. History and Literature, 1820–1945,edited by Timothy R. Buckner and Peter Caster, brings together scholars of history and literature focused on the lives and writing of black men during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the United States. The interdisciplinary study demonstrates the masculine character of cultural practices developed from slavery through segregation. Black masculinity embodies a set of contradictions, including an often mistaken threat of violence, the belief in its legitimacy, and the rhetorical union of truth and fiction surrounding slavery, segregation, resistance, and self-determination. The attention to history and literature is necessary because so many historical depictions of black men are rooted in fiction. The essays of this collection balance historical and literary accounts, and they join new descriptions of familiar figures such as Charles W. Chesnutt and W. E. B. Du Bois with the less familiar but critically important William Johnson and Nat Love.
The 2008 election of Barack Obama is a tremendously significant event in the vexed matter of race in the United States. However, the racial subtext of recent radical political movements and the 2009 arrest of scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., demonstrate that the perceived threat posed by black masculinity to the nation’s unity and vitality remains an alarming one in the cultural imagination.
In Great Expectation, Dan Roche gives a man's perspective on what it means to start and expand a family relatively later in life. Through a series of diary entries in turns humorous, angst ridden, and full of hope and joy, Roche describes his own thoughts and concerns during the nine months of his wife's pregnancy.
With five years of parenting his irrepressible daughter Maeve under his belt, Roche, already forty-five years old, and his wife, Maura, face the prospect of another arrival and the myriad of emotions that come with a second child. From revelling in the joys of pregnancy such as Maura's delight at "having cleavage" and being able to eat whatever she desires; to assuaging the parental anxieties of choosing the right obstetrician, correcting the mistakes one made with the first child, and sending children to college in the future; to navigating the unforeseen, experiencing the unexpected death of a parent, and feeling trepidation toward the thought of having a son, Roche records his emotions with unusual candidness and intimacy.
Reflecting on day-to-day events and their significance in his family’s life together, Roche wonders what he is getting himself into and how much deeper he can immerse himself into parenting. Together, he and his wife face the bittersweet intersections of death and new life, menace and hopefulness. With sincerity and a mature wit, Great Expectation stands as a wise recounting of nine months’ time, with all of its chaos and charms, and offers a fresh perspective for first-time and veteran parents alike.
Among the most difficult athletic events a person can attempt, the iron-distance triathlon—a 140.6 mile competition—requires an intense prerace training program. This preparation can be as much as twenty hours per week for a full year leading up to a race. In Iron Dads, Diana Tracy Cohen focuses on the pressures this extensive preparation can place on families, exploring the ways in which men with full-time jobs, one or more children, and other responsibilities fit this level of training into their lives.
An accomplished triathlete as well as a trained social scientist, Cohen offers much insight into the effects of endurance-sport training on family, parenting, and the sense of self. She conducted in-depth interviews with forty-seven iron-distance competitors and three prominent men in the race industry, and analyzed triathlon blog postings made by Iron Dads. What sacrifices, Cohen asks, are required—both at home and at work—to cross the iron-distance finish line? What happens when work, family, and sport collide? Is it possible for fathers to meet their own parenting expectations while pursuing such a time-consuming regimen? With the tensions of family economics, how do you justify spending $5,000 on a racing bike? At what point does sport become work? Cohen discovered that, by fostering family involvement in this all-consuming effort, Iron Dads are able to maintain a sense of themselves not only as strong, masculine competitors, but also as engaged fathers.
Engagingly written and well researched, Iron Dads provides a penetrating, firsthand look at extreme endurance sports, including practical advice for aspiring racers and suggestions for making triathlons more family-friendly.
"Science claims it will one day be able to eliminate fathers from the equation by mating bone marrow with ovum. When that day comes, I imagine this book, along with a handful of other works (King Lear, Fun Home) will become even more necessary. Herein find the blueprints for the mystery, the maps for the uncharted, the keys to the archetype." —Nick Flynn, author of The Reenactments and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
"At this moment, I find myself at loose ends, lost in the various vacuums left by my father's dying and my sons' departures out into the voids. Yet this stunning constellation of essays centered me, became for me fine instruments of reckoning of where to stand in the ceaseless entropic dynamic of kin, of paternal keening. These waxing meditations demonstrate the inflationary universe, the heft and velocity of that big ol' nothing. They elegantly fill, with sober hope and the balm of joy, the terrifying, infinite spaces between those waning stars." —Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and Four for a Quarter
"What an unreachable mystery the father is, preoccupied, unknowable, pervasive. In these fascinating essays, a shared portrait emerges as writers articulate the perpetual puzzle of the father and, with grace and candor, explore what it means to not know him, to never know him. As one voice, these essays investigate the man—his inventories, his myths, his mere traces—who makes up our horizons, who forever shimmers there beyond our collective grasp." —Susanna Sonnenberg, author of Her Last Death and She Matters: A Life in Friendships
Selected from the country's leading literary journals and publications—Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Creative Nonfiction, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, The Normal School, and others—Man in the Moon brings together essays in which sons, daughters, and fathers explore the elusive nature of this intimate relationship and find unique ways to frame and understand it: through astronomy, arachnology, storytelling, map-reading, television, puzzles, DNA, and so on. In the collection's title essay, Bill Capossere considers the inextricable link between his love of astronomy and memories of his father: "The man in the moon is no stranger to me,” he writes. "I have seen his face before, and it is my father's, and his father's, and my own.” Other essays include Dinty Moore's "Son of Mr. Green Jeans: A Meditation on Missing Fathers,” in which Moore lays out an alphabetic investigation of fathers from popular culture—Ward Cleaver, Jim Anderson, Ozzie Nelson—while ruminating on his own absent father and hesitation to become a father himself. In "Plot Variations,” Robin Black attempts to understand, through the lens of teaching fiction to creative writing students, her inability to attend her father's funeral. Deborah Thompson tries to reconcile her pride in her father's pioneering research in plastics and her concerns about their toxic environmental consequences in "When the Future Was Plastic.” At turns painfully familiar, comic, and heartbreaking, the essays in this collection also deliver moments of seari
The Memory Sessions
Suzanne Farrell Smith Bucknell University Press, 2019 Library of Congress BF376.F37 2019 | Dewey Decimal 153.12
Suzanne Farrell Smith’s father was killed by a drunk driver when she was six, and a devastating fire nearly destroyed her house when she was eight. She remembers those two—and only those two—events from her first nearly twelve years of life. While her three older sisters hold on to rich and rewarding memories of their father, Smith recalls nothing of him. Her entire childhood was, seemingly, erased. In The Memory Sessions, Smith attempts to excavate lost childhood memories. She puts herself through multiple therapies and exercises, including psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, somatic experiencing, and acupuncture. She digs for clues in her mother’s long-stored boxes. She creates—with objects, photographs, and captions—a physical timeline to compensate for the one that’s missing in her memory. She travels to San Diego, where her family vacationed with her father right before he died. She researches, interviews, and meditates, all while facing down the two traumatic memories that defined her early life. The result is an experimental memoir that upends our understanding of the genre. Rather than recount a childhood, The Memory Sessions attempts to create one from research, archives, imagination, and the memories of others.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Fatherhood is evolving in America. Stay at home dads are becoming more commonplace; men are becoming more visible in domestic, caregiving activities. In Men Can, writer, teacher, and father Donald Unger uses his personal experiences, stories of real-life families, as well as representations of fathers in film, on television, and in advertising, to illuminate the role of men in the increasingly fluid domestic sphere.
In thoughtful interviews, Don Unger tells the stories of a half dozen families—of varied ethnicities, geographical locations, and philosophical orientations—in which fathers are either primary or equally sharing parents, personalizing what is changing in how Americans care for their children. These stories are complemented by a discussion of how the language of parenting has evolved and how media representations of fathers have shifted over several decades.
Men Can shows how real change can take place when families divide up domestic labor on a gender-neutral basis. The families whose stories he tells offer insights into the struggles of—and opportunities for—men caring for children. When it comes to taking up the responsibility of parenting, his argument, ultimately, is in favor of respecting personal choices and individual differences, crediting and supporting functional families, rather than trying to force every household into a one-size-fits-all mold.
Like much twentieth-century feminist writing today, this book crosses the boundaries of genre. Biblical interpretation combines with fantasy, autobiography, and poetry. Politics joins with eroticism. Irreverence coexists with a yearning for the sacred. Scholarship contends with heresy. Most excitingly, the author continues and extends the tradition of arguing with God that commences in the Bible itself and continues now, as it has for centuries, to animate Jewish writing. The difference here is that the voice that debates with God is a woman's.
In her introduction, "Entering the Tents, " Ostriker defines the need to struggle against a tradition in which women have been silenced and disempowered - and to recover the female power buried beneath the surface of the biblical texts. In "The Garden, " she reinterprets the mythically complex stories of Creation. Then she considers the stories of "The Fathers, " from Abraham and Isaac to Moses, David, and Solomon - and their wives, mothers, and sisters. In "The Return of the Mothers, " she begins with a radical new interpretation of the book of Esther, includes a meditation on the silenced wife of Job and the idea of justice, and concludes with a fable on the death of God and a prayer to the Shekhinah, the feminine aspect of God. Ostriker refuses to dismiss the Bible as meaningless to women. Instead, in this angry, eloquent, visionary book, she attempts to recover what is genuinely sacred in these sacred texts.
American fathers are a highly diverse group, but the breadwinning, live-in, biological dad prevails as the fatherhood ideal. Consequently, policymakers continue to emphasize marriage and residency over initiatives that might help foster healthy father-child relationships and creative co-parenting regardless of marital or residential status. In Nurturing Dads, William Marsiglio and Kevin Roy explore the ways new initiatives can address the social, cultural, and economic challenges men face in contemporary families and foster more meaningful engagement between many different kinds of fathers and their children. What makes a good father? The firsthand accounts in Nurturing Dads show that the answer to this question varies widely and in ways that counter the mainstream "provide and reside" model of fatherhood. Marsiglio and Roy document the personal experiences of more than 300 men from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and diverse settings, including fathers-to-be, young adult fathers, middle-class dads, stepfathers, men with multiple children in separate families, and fathers in correctional facilities. They find that most dads express the desire to have strong, close relationships with their children and to develop the nurturing skills to maintain these bonds. But they also find that disadvantaged fathers, including young dads and those in constrained financial and personal circumstances, confront myriad structural obstacles, such as poverty, inadequate education, and poor job opportunities. Nurturing Dads asserts that society should help fathers become more committed and attentive caregivers and that federal and state agencies, work sites, grassroots advocacy groups, and the media all have roles to play. Recent efforts to introduce state-initiated paternity leave should be coupled with social programs that encourage fathers to develop unconditional commitments to children, to co-parent with mothers, to establish partnerships with their children's other caregivers, and to develop parenting skills and resources before becoming fathers via activities like volunteering and mentoring kids. Ultimately, Marsiglio and Roy argue, such combined strategies would not only change the policy landscape to promote engaged fathering but also change the cultural landscape to view nurturance as a fundamental aspect of good fathering. Care is a human experience—not just a woman's responsibility—and this core idea behind Nurturing Dads holds important implications for how society supports its families and defines manhood. The book promotes the progressive notion that fathers should provide more than financial support and, in the process, bring about a better start in life for their children. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
This text, the Questions concerning Aristotle's On Animals [Quaestiones super de animalibus], recovered only at the beginning of the twentieth century and never before translated in its entirety, represents Conrad of Austria's report on a series of disputed questions that Albert the Great addressed in Cologne ca. 1258.
National identity and political legitimacy always involve a delicate balance between remembering and forgetting. All nations have elements in their past that they would prefer to pass over—the catalog of failures, injustices, and horrors committed in the name of nations, if fully acknowledged, could create significant problems for a country trying to move on and take action in the present. Yet denial and forgetting carry costs as well.
Nowhere has this precarious balance been more potent, or important, than in the Federal Republic of Germany, where the devastation and atrocities of two world wars have weighed heavily in virtually every moment and aspect of political life. The Sins of the Fathers confronts that difficulty head-on, exploring the variety of ways that Germany’s leaders since 1949 have attempted to meet this challenge, with a particular focus on how those approaches have changed over time. Jeffrey K. Olick asserts that other nations are looking to Germany as an example of how a society can confront a dark past—casting Germany as our model of difficult collective memory.
In 2010, Don Waters set out to write a magazine story about a surfing icon who had known his absentee father. It was an attempt to find a way of connecting to a man he never knew. He didn’t imagine that the story would become a years-long quest to understand a man who left behind almost nothing except for a self-absorbed autobiography for his abandoned son.
These Boys and Their Fathers touches on Waters’s early life with his single mother—and her string of dysfunctional men—and his later search for and encounters with his father, but it quickly expands into a gripping account of the life of a 1930s pulp writer, also named Don Waters, with whom Waters becomes obsessed. This wildly original book blends memoir, investigative reporting, and fiction to sort out difficult aspects of family, masculinity, and what it means to be a father.
A 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Silver Winner for Biography
Against the backdrop of World War II, Joy Passanante’s touching new book, Through a Long Absence: Words from My Father’s Wars, is the saga of a wartime medical unit, a passionate long-distance love, the making of a surgeon, and two first-generation American families. Told through her father’s eyes—drawing on hundreds of his letters to his beloved wife, his four-volume wartime diary, and his paintings—Passanante masterfully recreates his wartime journey and physically retraces his steps more than sixty years later in an attempt to understand a time in her parents’ lives that they’d spoken about very little.
More than just a World War II story, Through a Long Absence delves into one man’s past to explore his personal wars: a stint as a child bootlegger, a marriage between newlyweds separated by continents and strained by years apart, and his struggle late in life with his own mind. The narrative propels readers to surprising places—from a freight train through North Africa to an underground St. Louis distillery during Prohibition, from a young couple’s forbidden courtship to the chaos of surgical tents under fire in Normandy, from an underground trove of priceless artwork hidden by the Nazis to Jewish New Year services in Paris a week after its liberation. Through a Long Absence is a love story, an honest look into one man’s life, and a daughter’s moving quest to rediscover her father years later through his own words.