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Secrets my dad never told me

How World War II defined a daughter’s love

Mar 8, 2012, 12:51 p.m.

HOUSTON, Texas – Soldiers’ families make their own sacrifices. Their loved ones are called to war, and families are moved to military bases around the world. An Army life can be difficult to understand, but for Mary Lou Darst, finding her father’s World War II diary after he died made her childhood and her relationship with him clearer.

“My father was away on assignment often,” Darst says. “When he returned, or we went to join him, my brother and I had grown up since he last saw us. He had changed as well and we didn’t know each other.”

In her new book, War Ready, In My Father’s Shadow, Darst tells how war affected the entire family, especially her father.

“My relationship with my father was not easy,” says Darst. “Although I loved my father, I was afraid of him. I truly lived in the shadow of my father.”

As a child, Darst traveled the world with her family in their military way of life. This candid memoir recounts her family’s life in new places and cultures following World War II. What was it like living in Japan seven years after the war? What was it like to grow up moving between cultures? The family’s support of the military never wavered, however, the world was being redefined, and family life was constantly changing.

Also included are portions of her father’s World War II diary, which offer up intimate and candid insight into the life of a soldier in war. His entries describe his time being transported aboard an English battleship built for 800 soldiers, but carrying 3,000 to war. His tales, told from the perspective of a young soldier, are glimpses into a life many will never know firsthand.

War Ready: In My Father’s Shadow

By Mary Lou Darst

220 pages

ISBN: 9781462031542

Hard cover 6x9, $25.95

Paperback 6x9, $15.95

E-book, $9.99

Available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

About the author

As a child, Mary Lou Darst traveled the world with her military family. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, a Master of Science in Multicultural Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Applied Design. Darst has taught English language arts in public schools for 20 years and English as a Second Language for six years at three junior colleges. She lives in Houston, Texas with her partner, Peter.

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