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.
Phantom Father: A Daughter's Quest for Elegy Paperback – November 11, 2016
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
It's such a powerful story and reflects well devotion and persistence in telling the story of a daughter's love for her father and of their continuing bond. --John Harvey, Editor of the Journal of Loss and Trauma and Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, University of Iowa
Thank you for sending this beautiful story to me. Your writing is so lovely and lyricalyou are a wordsmith. This piece is breathtaking, heartbreaking, and heartwarming by turns. I was in aweand then I was in tears. --Margaret Ann Comito, MFA, Memoirist
About the Author
Sharon Estill Taylor, PhD, is a speaker, a professor of psychology, social work, and women's studies, and author of two books. She is a frequent conference presenter about issues of grief, loss, unimaginable wonder and reinvention. Her first book, a memoir, Phantom Son: A Mother's Story of Surrender was published in 2015. A Spiegel TV documentary film Love in the Time of War: The Last Flight of Lt. Estill is the prequel to Phantom Father: A Daughter's Quest for Elegy. She lives between the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the Puget Sound of Washington.
Top customer reviews
I enjoyed that the author takes time to explain the herculean task of recovering fallen servicemen and the team of people in Germany and the US that helps make this happen, but ultimately her ability to hold the central story of a father and daughter throughout is the heart of this book. I would recommend this to anyone. Touching story and wonderful story that needed to be told!
Three weeks after Sharon Estill Taylor was born, her father, 1st Lt. Shannon Eugene Estill, was shot down over Germany in his P-38 “Lightning” fighter during the final days of World War II. Sharon never knew her father, but she grew up deeply connected with him by what can only be called a mystical, spiritual bond. She experienced an increasing urge to recover his remains and “bring him home.” Phantom Father: A Daughter’s Quest for Elegy is the record of that successful effort.
The unbroken thread throughout Phantom Father is the letters from Lt. Estill to his young bride. These letters reveal a love that war could not suppress. They reveal a man of high intelligence, professional competence, and intense devotion to his young wife and unseen infant daughter.
Sharon Taylor’s quest brought her in contact with many other war children who, like her, never met their fathers who were killed in the war. She writes movingly, “It was as though I were interviewing reunited sisters wrenched from the same enormous family system, framed by early, tragic loss, and anchored (at times insecurely) by intensely grieving and disconnected mothers. It appears that we are daughters of a distinctive tribe whose men never return from war. In this tribe, some elder women suffer and collapse from the loss; the baby daughters become children before they are infants, teenagers when they are youngsters, and adults instead of adolescents. It is as if we are, as Billy Joel sings, ‘running on ice.’ We are women who feel separate from others, especially in an adopted family setting. We are fearful and anxious and carry a pervasive sense of yearning. Most of us are caretakers and romantics who seek the ‘ideal’ ethereal man who doesn’t exist. Embedded in the men we choose is a daddy, a daddy substitute, or his antithesis. Our mothers are elusive phantoms as are our fathers. Our grief remains unresolved and unnamed.”
Sharon Taylor came through — an accomplished author and PhD professor of psychology, sociology, and women’s studies. Her quest to find her father’s remains extends over several years, during which she was befriended by US and German authorities sympathetic to her task, without whom she would likely not have succeeded. Lt. Estill’s remains were eventually discovered at the crash site. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on October 10, 2006.
A Der Spiegel TV documentary, Love in the Time of War: The Last Flight of Lt. Estill,
is a prequel to Phantom Father.
In this well-told book, Taylor pulls back the curtains to reveal the damage and heartbreak that war wreaks on loved ones who stay behind to tend the hearth. That is why this book deserves a large readership. Unlike WW II, America’s “good” war, our 21st-century wars are fought by a minute percentage of our citizens, whose contributions and losses go relatively unnoticed and unappreciated. For example, during the period following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, photographers were prohibited from photographing the returning coffins of the dead. It may be comfortable for Americans to turn their backs on our war dead, but it is also shameful. Taylor forcefully confronts this avoidance. She deserves to be heard.
I found this book deeply moving. I was involved in another war — as a field battalion surgeon in Vietnam in 1968-9. Taylor captures what I know to be true: the horrors and calamities of war that envelope not just combatants but their families as well.
Lt. Estill was a genuine hero. His baby girl also grew up to be a heroine. Nice going, Sharon. He’d be proud.
~ Larry Dossey, MD
Author, most recently: ONE MIND: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters