- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442255943
- ISBN-13: 978-1442255944
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,161,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Fighter Pilot's Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War Reprint Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Featured resources in history
Explore these featured titles, sponsored by Springer. Learn more
Mary Lawlor's memoir, Fighter Pilot's Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War, is terrifically written. The experience of living in a military family is beautifully brought to life. This memoir shows the pressures on families in the sixties, the fears of the Cold War, and also the love that families had that helped them get through those times, with many ups and downs. It's a story that all of us who are old enough can relate to, whether we were involved or not. The book is so well written. Mary Lawlor shares a story that needs to be written, and she tells it very well. (The Jordan Rich Show)
Mary Lawlor, in her brilliantly realized memoir, articulates what accountants would call a soft cost, the cost that dependents of career military personnel pay, which is the feeling of never belonging to the specific piece of real estate called home. . . . [T]he real story is Lawlor and her father, who is ensconced despite their ongoing conflict in Lawlor’s pantheon of Catholic saints and Irish presidents, a perfect metaphor for coming of age at a time when rebelling was all about rebelling against the paternalistic society of Cold War America. (Stars and Stripes)
Fighter Pilot’s Daughter. . . is a candid and splendidly-written account of a young woman caught in the political turmoil of the ’60s and the domestic turmoil that percolated around a John Wayne figure who won the Distinguished Flying Cross, eight Air Medals and the Cross of Gallantry across three generations of starspangled blood and guts. ... Among the triumphs of the book is Lawlor’s ability to transition from academic – she is the author of two scholarly books and numerous articles about American literature and culture – to popular writing. 'I tried very hard to keep my academic voice out of the book,' said Lawlor, who will be retiring as a professor and director of American Studies after the spring semester. 'In academic writing, you explain and explain and footnote and footnote, and some of the life inevitably comes out of it. I wanted this to have life.' In so many ways it does….[particularizing] her family, including her mother, Frannie, her older twin sisters (Nancy and Lizzie) and a younger sister (Sarah). . . . In many ways the Lawlor women drive her narrative. ... Her principal focus, inevitably, is her Fighter Pilot Father, who, in her words, 'seemed too large and wild for the house.' Jack Lawlor was so true to fighter-pilot form as to be an archetype, hard-drinking, hard-to-please, sometimes (though not always) hard-of-heart. Mary does not spare those details.' (Muhlenberg: The Magazine)
This engrossing memoir adeptly weaves the author's account of growing up in a military family in the United States and Europe with domestic American and international Cold War events. Mary Lawlor's descriptions of her parents' origins and aging, and her perceptive, honest reflections on childhood and young adulthood between the 1950s and 1970s, are illuminated by the knowledge and wisdom that develop over decades of adulthood. In re-visiting her earlier life, the author reveals a process of arriving at a compassionate understanding of the significant people in it—relatives, friends, nuns, boyfriends, and draft resisters, among others—and through this, a clearer understanding of one's self. She demonstrates that comprehension of the broad historical context in which one lives—in her case, the pervasive global rivalry between communism and anticommunism, and its influences on American ideals about family roles, political values, and aspirations, which she questioned and challenged as a young woman drawn into the counterculture—is crucial for attaining such self-knowledge. (Donna Alvah, Associate Professor and Margaret Vilas Chair of US History, St. Lawrence University)
About the Author
Mary Lawlor is professor of English and the Director of American Studies at Muhlenberg College. She is the author of Recalling the Wild: Naturalism and the Closing of the American West, and Public Native America: Tribal Self Representation in Casinos, Museums and Powwows.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Jack Lawlor is a legendary WW2, Korea, and Vietnam aviator and Mary Lawlor's book connects Jack Lawlor's family with the experiences of all military "brats" and those parents who cared about them whilst we were "away".
It wasn't only the families who shared the disconnects, as we all ventured to and fro and tried to return to a culture wherein we felt we belonged. Our own culture(s) changed along the way.
Ms. Lawlor’s parents were a mismatched pair, and mine were not. Frannie had the sort of higher education and expectations that girls raised in some comfort did back then, but her father, Jack, was the sort of go-getter who chaffed at schooling and sought, even in my youth, the kind of growing up (and excitement) provided by military service. While Frannie unfailingly backed her husband’s views of the world, one suspects that she was not always comfortable with that conformity. As Lawlor and her sisters grew up in the odd, almost kibbutz-like environment provided by countless assignments at military bases around the world, they dutifully learned to ape their parents’ patterns and beliefs even while being pulled in opposite directions by an alternate set of influences, the habits of behavior and conviction provided by other Army brats, who had seen different postings, and by the native kids and teens who lived near the US installations but shared very few of the Cold War certainties that shaped her family. As the girls moved through their teenage years and entered the ‘60’s cultural divide, they, like most of their cohort, felt the pull of these new ways of processing reality. The author felt this pull perhaps more than the other three girls, and when she found herself in Paris at the precursor to what is now the American University there, she erupted in full rebellion during what were called the student riots of 1968. Her participation in the upheaval caused her father to rush to France from his base in Germany to snatch her away from what he saw as debased and even criminal influences, but it was too late. She had already cast her lot with the outside agitation provided by a vast world that had been ignored during her exported Cold War childhood.
The tale of both her growing away from her parents’ assurances and into the life she eventually lived as a very good and surely inspiring college teacher is, as I say, very well told, although I sometimes felt that a few aspects of her rebellion and escape may have been left out to avoid upset among the sisters who remained alive while she wrote. On the other hand, as one reads The Fighter Pilot’s Daughter, one never feels deprived of essential details or crucial analyses. Everything one needs to understand the American self-image that blossomed after the Second War and crashed in the jungles of Vietnam is fully there and expressed in simple and elegant prose. In fact, the book’s language is one of its triumphs. There is a form of alchemy in this language that enables it to intelligently present the results of the author’s complex Cold War scholarship while at the same time providing a convincing voice for the child we see growing into and then out of the Army base culture of the book’s early chapters.
With regard to that stuff I learned about my childhood from Ms. Lawlor’s elegant presentation of her own, very little more need be said. She rebelled against the lock-step demanded by her Cold Warrior and Catholic parents because they presented a united if artificial front when enforcing the patterns of their lifestyle, something that is surely true even though one often gets the feeling that Frannie sometimes found the life as constricting as her daughters did. As I read this frequently painful story, I came to realize that I did not rebel against the life my father seemed bent on demanding of me because he did not have the same support from his wife as Jack did. My mother, though uneducated like my dad and the product of the same immigrant experience, thought that everything I did was “marvelous,” as Frannie might have, but she acted upon it, and this approval allowed me to begin building an alternative life much before a final clash came with my father. In fact, so free was my nearly subversive childhood, so lacking was it in any but self-imposed discipline that when I went to graduate school, I fell in love—at least momentarily—with what later seemed the lunatic discipline of my chosen scholarly pursuits, a revelation that came with no little embarrassment. After closing Ms. Lawlor’s book, I felt good that I’d escaped the life envisioned for me by my old man but chagrined as well that I’d grown pre-maturely middle aged in grad school and never would have answered the call to the barricades in Paris. Thanks for that, Mary.
What I enjoyed the most was not just about Mary's father's experiences in the military but additionally what life was like living back in this time of the Cold War. I am not as well versed in this war as I am WWI or WWII.
While, Mary's father may have been the one fighting in the real war; Mary's mother was fighting her own battle to keep her family together and raising them as best she could. Which I thought she did a good job of doing so. For a lot of Mary's stories about her father, they were serious, so it was nice to read about her laughing over the beer experiment incident. This is a well written book. The family pictures were a nice addition as well.