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Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War Paperback – July 1, 2011
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"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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This is a good read for anyone about to go off to war or for those left behind, in fact for all of us.
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.
Conviction is different, though. Conviction requires more than an active web connection. It requires aligning your life with the thing you say you believe, even to the point of great cost.
David and Nancy French are people of conviction. This is their story.
This book is challenging, but not patronizing. It is uplifting, but not sentimental. It describes a very challenging time for this family, but focuses less on the what than the why.
Buy it. Read it. Absorb it. Share it.