Sunday, December 7, 2008

Review of My Father's Secret War

My Father's Secret War, by Lucinda Franks, held so much promise. I was intrigued by the book jacket describing how in her memoir she discovers that "the remote, troubled father she grew up with was in fact a spy -- a secret agent who worked behind enemy lines during WWII." Unfortunately, Franks spends her memoir talking more about herself than her father, which is what I realize I should have been expecting given that it is a memoir. So this is probably as much a case as poor management of expectations on my part as it is of her failing to deliver on her part.

I was fascinated by the story of her father, but we only really get to learn about what happened to him during WWII at the very end of the book. Instead, the majority of the book is a description of her struggles with her secretive and aging father, and her laborious attempts to pull out information from him (which was just as frustrating for the reader to read about as it was for her to experience).

The best part of the book was learning about how many covert operations occurred throughout the war, and how little is known about them, even today. The government is still incredibly secretive about the undercover work that they sponsored, even over 60 years later. It made me realize how many different layers there were to WWII -- from the battles being fought in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, to the undercover battles occurring around the world.


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