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The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father's War Paperback – March 18, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a good emotional read of the effects of war, even if the war was the good war.
The author, after her father's death, discovers a box of letters written to his wife (the author's mother) during the war. Her father fought in the Pacific, taking part in some of its most brutal of battles. Amongst the letters, in an envelope, was a Japanese Flag, a "souvenir flag" which her father had sent home. The flag was of the type carried by many Japanese soldiers, which was a sort of good luck piece. The story is basically Ms. Steinman's search for the family of the soldier whose body it was taken from and a story of Ms. Steinman's search for her father, i.e. who really was her father, and how had the war changed him?
Now I will be honest, there were parts of the book that disturbed me. I am not all that certain if the author ever did have a clue as to what made her father the man he was and how the war truly affected him. The author never actually says it, but after reading her description of her father, which gave us some idea of the kind of man he was, there is really no doubt where he got the flag, and how he got it. He did not seem the type of man who would simply pick up a flag off any old dead body and keep it. While this falls into the realm of speculation, I think it probably would have been better if the author had faced reality. Be that as it may, the author did quite a good job with her research and I certainly admire her objectives.Read more ›
She retraces history with the help of more than 700 letters her father wrote to her mother during his time away, and with her friends, family and a handful of old infantry vets she is able to puzzle together what was the most momentous time in her father's life. Her journey forges a new understanding of her father and, most importantly, her relationship to him, even many years after his death.
The story tantalizes with descriptions of jungle warfare, imperialism and young men in the throes of battle, especially from the vantage point of Japan, where like their American counterparts, families were torn asunder by the conflict. They too carry the remnants of pain and sorrow sixty years later. Here, at least, Steinman could have spent more time illustrating the cultural differences-and similarities-that propel leaders and their societies to sacrifice their young men for nationalistic fervor.
In the end, the tale reveals just as much about the author as it does about her father. The care, grace and sensitivity with which she tells her story reflects the same qualities her father had, then lost, then struggled to regain after he returned home from 165 consecutive days of brutal warfare.
-Christopher Thomas Scott
Ms. Steinman shows that the scars of war run deep and the impacts are felt through succeeding generations. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Simply written, I believe there are no accidents. This book published in 2001, at a time when my mind was spinning in other directions, and before I discovered my own father's... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Letty Watt
I did not like this book the author's naivete is demonstrated clearly in here philosophy over the atomic bombs that was dropped on japan
Wow. She did the right thing. Many of us who inherited our father's war souvenirs, specifically Rising Sun or Sun Mark flags from our fathers who served in the Pacific in WWII, are... Read morePublished on August 7, 2014 by Annie Lanzillotto author of L is for Lion
I always feel bad giving less than three stars for a review. Honestly, though, I just could not get into this book. The letters from the authors father were great. Read morePublished on July 22, 2014 by dep
Louise Steinman's fine memoir/biography cum history, THE SOUVENIR, is a carefully researched and lovingly told look into her late father's experiences as a soldier in the South... Read morePublished on February 22, 2014 by Timothy J. Bazzett
I thought the premise of the story was interesting, but there seemed to be too much back story of her childhood. Read morePublished on July 5, 2013 by JS
Author Louise Steinman's father, Norman Steinman, was a typical WW2 combat veteran who endured unpleasant experiences during the war and then went on with his life. Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by William S. Grass
This book was hard to find. I had decided to bring it to Europe for my English reading friends. It is a very moving true story of a woman who found letters from her father to her... Read morePublished on April 25, 2012 by mari31