From Publishers Weekly
Soon after Pearl Harbor, Darnton's father, Barney Darnton, a correspondent for the New York Times, shipped off to the South Pacific, leaving behind infant Darnton and his older brother and mother. By year's end, Barney had been killed in the war. Darnton's mother, also a reporter and editor at the Times, struggled to raise her kids on her own. Darnton describes his adolescence, such as attending and getting expelled from prep school, attending college, meeting his future wife, and eventually finding his own way into journalism. In this unsentimental narrative, Darnton vividly chronicles the high-water era of classic journalism and his stints as a Times correspondent in Africa and Solidarity-era Poland, but what drives his memoir are the pursuit of the fullest possible picture of his father's death, the story of his mother's alcoholism and sobriety, and most of all, the quest for deeply buried facts about his parents and their relationship. (Mar.)
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In this interesting and often moving memoir of loss, longing, and discovery, Darnton, a Pulitzer Prize�winning journalist, was only 11 months old when his father, Barney, a war correspondent, was killed in New Guinea in 1942. Barney�s wife and John�s mother was also a journalist. She was an emotionally fragile woman who was prone to long periods of severe depression, but she created and passed on to her children an idealized fantasy of their brief, earlier family life. Eventually John, assisted by his historian brother, Robert, felt a compulsion to learn more about a father he never knew. The result of their odyssey is surprising and painful but liberating. Their father is revealed as both less saintly and more interesting than the portrait created for them. As his revelations unfold, Darnton also offers a vivid description of the evolution of American society over the decades preceding WWII. --Jay Freeman