My Blog

My Blog



January 13, 2016


Fighter Pilot's Daughter banner

JAN. 4-29, 2016


Mary Lawlor

 Fighter Pilot's Daughter 2

from PUYB)
FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER: GROWING UP IN THE SIXTIES AND THE COLD WAR tells the story of the author as a young woman coming of age in an Irish Catholic, military family during the Cold War. Her father, an aviator in the Marines and later the Army, was transferred more than a dozen times to posts from Miami to California and Germany as the government’s Cold War policies demanded. For the pilot’s wife and daughters, each move meant a complete upheaval of ordinary life. The car was sold, bank accounts closed, and of course one school after another was left behind. Friends and later boyfriends lined up in memory as a series of temporary attachments. The book describes the dramas of this traveling household during the middle years of the Cold War. In the process, FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER shows how the larger turmoil of American foreign policy and the effects of Cold War politics permeated the domestic universe. The climactic moment of the story takes place in the spring of 1968, when the author’s father was stationed in Vietnam and she was attending college in Paris. Having left the family’s quarters in Heidelberg, Germany the previous fall, she was still an ingénue; but her strict upbringing had not gone deep enough to keep her anchored to her parents’ world. When the May riots broke out in the Latin quarter, she attached myself to the student leftists and American draft resisters who were throwing cobblestones at the French police. Getting word of her activities via a Red Cross telegram delivered on the airfield in Da Nang, Vietnam, her father came to Paris to find her. The book narrates their dramatically contentious meeting and return to the American military community of Heidelberg. The book concludes many years later, as the Cold War came to a close. After decades of tension that made communication all but impossible, the author and her father reunited. As the chill subsided in the world at large, so it did in the relationship between the pilot and his daughter. When he died a few years later, the hard edge between them, like the Cold War stand-off, had become a distant memory.

Mary LawlorMary Lawlor grew up in an Army family during the Cold War. Her father was a decorated fighter pilot who fought in the Pacific during WWII, flew missions in Korea, and did two combat tours in Vietnam. His family followed him from base to base and country t country during his years of service. Every two or three years, Mary, her three sisters, and her mother packed up their household and moved.  By the time she graduated from high school she had attended fourteen different schools.  These displacements, plus her father's? frequent absences and brief, dramatic returns, were part of the fabric of her childhood,  as were the rituals of base life and the adventures of life abroad. As Mary came of age, tensions between the patriotic, Catholic culture of her upbringing and the values of the sixties counterculture set family life on fire. While attending the American College in Paris, she became involved in the famous student uprisings of May 1968. Facing her father, then posted in Vietnam, across a deep political divide, she fought as he had taught her to for a way of life completely different from his and her mother’s.
Years of turbulence followed. After working in Germany, Spain and Japan, Mary went on to graduate school at NYU, earned a Ph.D. and became a professor of literature and American Studies at Muhlenberg College. She has published three books, Recalling the Wild (Rutgers UP, 2000), Public Native America (Rutgers UP, 2006), and most recently Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War (Rowman and Littlefield, September 2013).
She and her husband spend part of each year on a small farm in the mountains of southern Spain.
Her latest book is the memoir, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War.

 This is a memoir about the Lawlor family, Jack, Frannie and four daughters. The family with the good and bad results from the Catholic Church, the Cold War and  the U.S. Army, was  a typical Army family. Sometimes the parents were were a good influence and other times, not so good. Anyone who has been raised in a military family knows that you move a lot,  friends are made and then left, you never stayed in one school very long and a life of  strangers and strange places. One daughter, Mary has great insightfulness about her family and how each of them had their own way of fitting in to the many different places and people they met during the years. the father was absent a lot since he had a successful military career and two stints in Vietnam, and many temporary duty assignments that ended up extended instead of temporary.  This left the family on its own. Ms. Lawlor tells the reader of the way their lives were changed by the Cold War and what little peace there was.  The author tells of some of the stress that invaded her life.  The many, some important, lessons that the family learned while under the strict and challenging situations they went through. Ms. Lawlor did a fabulous job of presenting the memoir of a daughter growing up in the U.S. Army in the sixties.  She describes her Fighter pilot father, her mother, Frannie who held the family together when he was gone and kept the home fires burning. The author writes about the one evil thing, Communism.  It was there, although you couldn't see or feel it but it was hiding around the corner to jump out at any minute. What will happen when it does?  War is bound to happen.  The book was very interesting.  The reader could place himself with the family.  The book didn't read like a memoir. It was more like a reality check.  So many varied emotions that the whole family constantly was going through. Ms. Lawlor, the author, must have experienced a lot of pain and mixed emotions through the years which I'm sure were somewhat worse in reality  than written. A wonderful insight into a young girl who grew up in a military family, the good and the bad, and how she dealt with it to become a talented author.

I received this book from the author, Mary Lawlor and Pump Up Your Book for my unbiased view of the book.  No other compensation took place.

I would give this book a solid 5 STARS.

No comments: