I came across The War Came Home with Him while shopping on Amazon. Other than being a historical account and involving Veterans, who I find have fascinating stories to tell, I also have something in common with the author. Technically, it’s actually my father who has it in common with her. My grandfather, my father’s father, was also a POW in Korea. It also changed him and he didn’t talk about it. My father has been researching my grandfather’s captivity, so I thought it might be instructive.
The War Came Home with Him has alternating chapters starting with Alexander Boyson prior to his capture and trading places back and forth with his daughter, Catherine’s, story starting when she was a little girl. It beautifully tells the story of both of their lives, his before and after the time he was a prisoner, and hers of her life with him. It’s heartbreaking how being a POW negatively impacted the author’s life, but it’s also hopeful in that it’s clear the author has forgiven him, understands him to some degree, and has made peace. This memoir doesn’t glorify war or gloss it over; it is what it is, through the author’s eyes and the father’s. The author’s perspective is based on her memories and her father’s based on her research and writings her father left behind, making it believable and, as far as I know, highly accurate. I also liked how the author arranged the chapters, subtly tying what her father went through as a Korean War POW to her own memories of how he was as a father, and how he brought that part of the war home with him.
The War Came Home with Him is interesting, tells a good story, and provides deep insight into the author’s and her father’s life. And I also believe it’s an important book. I read it pretty quickly even with the holidays, so, on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it an eight and a half.
Source: Madison, Catherine. (2015). The War Came Home with Him. University of Minnesota Press.