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Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War Paperback – July 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"Nancy French stands for everything right about red-state America: love for God, country, and Wal-Mart. She's funny, she's Southern, and she's smart. I think I'm in love! Just don't tell my wife."―Michael Graham, radio talk show host and author of Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War

A RED STATE OF MIND shows that while you can take the girl out of the South, you can't take the South out of the girl--thank goodness. Nancy French does us GRITS (Girls Raised in the South) proud!"―Deborah Ford, author of The GRITS Guide to Life, GRITS Friends Are Forevah, and Puttin' on the GRITS

"Nancy French isn't just a piercingly funny commentator on the red/blue culture wars; she's a participant. Whether it means standing up to feminist NYU classmates about her 'male-oppression' marriage or publicly shaming her daughter's Philadelphia school board for eliminating 'under God,' Nancy injects a laugh-out-loud freshness into the tired old debate."―Shaunti Feldhahn, nationally syndicated columnist, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and author of For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men on A Red State of Mind

"This husband-and-wife account of a year in wartime Iraq (2007-2008) artfully captures the mixed emotions that can accompany a loved one's decision to enlist and illustrates that friendship, hope, and humor are vital to survival...An earnest and engaging read that prompts a closer look at patriotism and citizenship, on battlefields and at home."―Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Nancy French is a columnist for the Philadelphia City Paper, a weekly alternative newspaper (readership of 460,000), in which she addressed issues like politics, religion, and culture with a light, humorous touch. She also the cofounded and maintains the blog re:formation which has a large following and focuses on a discussion of today's conservative Right.

David French is a captain in the United States Army Reserve. In his civilian life, he is a senior counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund and is the director of its Center for Academic Freedom. In Iraq he served as the Squadron Judge Advocate for the 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment in Diyala Province, Iraq. At the conclusion of his tour, he was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in combat operations.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931722900
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931722902
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,099,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tara on July 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Nancy is a true-blue Republican. I'm practically a socialist. Her husband David writes political pieces that infuriate me. So I went into reading their latest book, Home and Away, with a bit of trepidation. I didn't think I could stomach a pro-war, America-right-or-wrong, love story.

I was wrong to worry. I winced more than a few times when the politics hit me the wrong way, but it was a wise, funny page-turner. It was about war, and marriage, and church, and kids, and calling. It was about how all of those things are complicated and painful and joyful. It was about things that are worth dying for, and left me wondering if I do enough to stand up for those things I value most.

I loved it. Whatever your political persuasion, I highly recommend the book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Craig T. Owens on June 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading "Home And Away," by David & Nancy French, and I have tears in my eyes. I readily admit that I'm a "patriotic crier" whenever the red, white and blue is involved, and this book hit me right in that patriotic soft spot.

A real quick summary of the book goes like this: David & Nancy French have an ideal life in America (family, home, career, etc.), but David feels compelled to serve his country in the armed forces in Iraq. So David enlists in the reserves and is stationed away in Iraq for a year, and Nancy tries to adjust to life home without her husband. The book alternates chapters, with both Nancy and David writing about the war from their perspective.

But what was invaluable to me was the insight into the emotional life of this couple. Both of them explain so clearly all of the feelings that are swirling around inside of them. You can feel the frustration as they try to explain their feelings to others, who don't quite seem to get it. Even David has trouble grasping all that Nancy is experiencing, as Nancy tries to come to grips with what David is going through. In the end, I have a much greater appreciation for both our soldiers away in harm's way, and their families who attempt to carry on at home without them.

If you want to know how to better support and pray for our armed forces and their families, I highly recommend "Home And Away" to you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By ruthjoec on June 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
My dad was in the Air Force when I was a young child (he retired when I was in sixth grade). Somehow he managed, through good luck and by accepting assignments that others didn't want, to spend almost the entire Viet Nam era in the Air Force without ever getting close to the place. As I got older and realized that not only were Americans not happy with the war, but that they were also unhappy about the warriors, I shook my head in dismay. My dad and my friends' dads were not horrible people, they were men who went to work every day to support their families and defend their country.

When the Gulf War broke out, I was pleased to see that while there was a vigorous political debate about whether we should be engaging in that particular action and to what degree and to what end; in general the American public was supportive of the members of the military. However, one thing I've read in many places is that while military service used to be a frequent male rite of passage across many income levels, today it is increasingly the job of a professional military class--made of those whose fathers (and now mothers) made a career of the military and who plan to do so themselves--and of a rotating cast of the poor who join because they lack other options. Most of our middle or upper income families do not have members in the military and don't want to.

David French was someone who did not have to join the Army. He had many reasons not to join--including a good job, a wife and two young kids. However, he felt God calling him to put his money where his mouth was and to join the Army Reserves, which he knew would lead to a deployment in the Middle East. This book tells the story of the year he was away. Some chapters are by David, some by his wife, Nancy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Charles Mitchell on June 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a matter of public record that I love the French family. I've worked with David and Nancy on a political blog for years, their elder two children were in my wedding, and so on. But that is NOT why I love this book.

I also love the Frenches' winsome writing. For instance, I enjoyed Nancy's previous book, "Red State of Mind," immensely and gave copies to numerous family members. But the quality of the writing, high as it is, isn't why I love this book either. There's a gravity and a depth to this book that isn't in "Red State of Mind" or, frankly, in most memoir-type tomes these days.

Even if you are very different from David and Nancy (and I am: I don't care for "Lord of the Rings" and I always pay my credit card bill in full, on time) this book will pull you into their struggles and force you to evaluate your own through them. How is my family supposed to serve this country (which the French family is doing for real) that we say we love? Why might not the modern evangelical ideal of "home at 4:30 every night ready to cuddle," which both David and Nancy argue against forcefully, be the only or best model for men...or even a good one at all? Is it a bad thing for a man to have an edge to him like the one David developed in Iraq, and if a man doesn't, does that just mean he's woefully unaware of just how much evil there is in this world? How much faith and how much grit would it take for a woman not just to sell a Land Rover (as Nancy did) but to be willing (as Nancy also did, try as she might to say David did the truly hard thing) to bury the father of her children if that's what God has for her? And so on.

Buy this book. It will grip you, it will challenge you, and you'll want to pass it on.
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