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Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps Paperback – December 15, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
transition. Though two of my own kids made that journey nearly four years ago, this book dredged up all the emotions of that time-the selfish disappointment at having a child leave home, the anxiety over whether they would make it, and the pride in having a son or daughter become a member of America's most elite fighting force. It also brought new understanding to what the training at Parris Island accomplishes and painted the vivid details that my own kids omitted when recounting their experience.
Throughout the book, the chronological story of the training at boot camp is interspersed with John Schaeffer's poetry and letters to his dad and Frank's letters to Recruit Schaeffer. "Keeping Faith" unveils the love and emotions of a father and son in an intimate way and examines the subtle changes in that relationship that the journey from childhood to adulthood, via the Marine Corps, brings. If you are a the parent of a poolee or new recruit, this book will be invaluable to understanding what your son or daughter is about to undertake and what it will mean to you. For those who have already made the journey, "Keeping Faith" will rekindle all those emotions, from your recruit getting on the bus, to the pride filled day of graduation. It should be mandatory reading for all Marine parents. Even your non-Marine friends would gain an understanding of why Marines and their parents are so proud of the title, United States Marine.
I highly recommend this book to all.
Proud Father of...
2 Marines and an Airman
For Fathers the book provides an honest look inside a father's heart as he struggles with the issue of letting go of his youngest child, while facing the realities of the empty nest.
For Sons the book gives an intimate look and one son's path to manhood, as he breaks away from his father's shadow and enhances his sense of self, without ever leaving his father's heart.
For USMC fans the book offers an intimate look inside the Corps experience. From the hell of boot camp life and the interdependence it fosters among the recruits to the often-frustrating life within the Corps that follows boot camp graduation. What an eye opener for those whose only experience with the Marine Corps is that which is presented by Hollywood!
What a book!
As to the father-son relationship, this is the tale of a loving father who is losing his son as he grows to a man. And this really starts before he enters the Marines as he becomes more attached to a girl of whom the father does not approve...When the son John enters boot camp, the real excitement starts as you live through the experience with him. The brainwashing of these recruits seems extreme until you watch these recruits grow into the type Marines the DIs wanted. I'm not sure I could survive the mental and physical effects of boot camp and anyone who has passed boot camp is to be commended. It's interesting to watch these guys struggle the last few weeks with injuries that should be treated but would only delay the recruit's training.
After boot camp, the book then shows the negative of the military. This motivated recruit is sent for Morse Code training for 4 months only to be sidelined for over a year, as his security clearance has not been processed in Washington. What a waste of taxpayer money and young people's lives. But even this demeaning treatment does not shake the extreme pride in the Corp.
Probably the most important lesson of this book is how a son from an upper-middle class family chooses a career in the Marines while suffering the ridicule of the liberal friends of his parents and how his father's attitude changes about this. I felt this could have been covered in more depth.Read more ›
The book examines what it mean to become a Marine. But it also directly and indirectly digs into the idea of commitment to a higher idea...in this case giving up oneself to become a member of an elite group of fighting men, and in the process getting back more than one gave up. It flip flops between John's narrative and his fathers observations. Interesting.
As a former Marine I found a connection with John. Having gone through bootcamp in June of 1967 in San Diego, the connection to this new generation of Marines is immediate and profound. This, as all former Marines know, isn't new. The membership in this club spans all generations. No generation gap here.
If you're a former Marine, you'll want to read the book for obvious reasons. If you're not, read it anyway. You'll gain some respect for the youth of today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous book! My husband and I both read it - our son is currently at boot camp at PI. I could relate so much to the father's account. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tiffany J
Not a bad book, but not terribly memorable either. Good to see the father become proud rather than defensive about his son's choice to enter the Marines rather than go on to... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Michael T. Terry
This book was recommended by other Marine parents. I very much enjoyed this book and it helped me better understand what my son will go through when he leaves for boot camp.Published 10 months ago by Kelly Dorpinghaus
Read this when my son was at bootcamp in Parris Island. It helped me to read about both what the father and son experienced. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Patricia C. Kelley
6/1/15 - My son arrived at Parris Island for Basic. A friend of ours, whose son is a Marine, suggested that I read this book. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Dr.Stanley Toompas
Very entertaining and informative--I went through 13 weeks of Ai9r Force basic many years ago and have a grandson about to go off to Marine boot camp--This book answered most of my... Read morePublished 13 months ago by mikeob