Bringing Mulligan Home: The Other Side of the Good War

Bringing Mulligan Home: The Other Side of the Good War

5.0 2
by Dale Maharidge
     
 

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Sergeant Steve Maharidge returned from World War II an angry man. The only evidence that he’d served in the Marines was a photograph of himself and a buddy tacked to the basement wall. On one terrifyingly memorable occasion his teenage son, Dale, witnessed Steve screaming at the photograph: “They said I killed him! But I didn’t kill him! It… See more details below

Overview


Sergeant Steve Maharidge returned from World War II an angry man. The only evidence that he’d served in the Marines was a photograph of himself and a buddy tacked to the basement wall. On one terrifyingly memorable occasion his teenage son, Dale, witnessed Steve screaming at the photograph: “They said I killed him! But I didn’t kill him! It wasn’t my fault!”

After Steve died, Dale Maharidge began a twelve-year quest to face down his father’s wartime ghosts. He found more than two dozen members of Love Company, the Marine unit in which his father had served. Many of them, now in their eighties, finally began talking about the war. They’d never spoken so openly and emotionally, even to their families. Through them, Maharidge brilliantly re-creates Love Company’s battles and the war that followed them home. In addition, Maharidge traveled to Okinawa to experience where the man in his father’s picture died and meet the families connected to his father’s wartime souvenirs.

The survivors Dale met on both sides of the Pacific Ocean demonstrate that wars do not end when the guns go quiet—the scars and demons remain for decades. Bringing Mulligan Home is a story of fathers and sons, war and postwar, silence and cries in the dark. Most of all it is a tribute to soldiers of all wars—past and present—and the secret burdens they, and their families, must often bear.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq and Sand Queen
“Through deep and sensitive interviewing, Dale Maharidge has achieved what many have previously thought impossible: he has opened up the "silent generation" of World War Two veterans and enabled them to tell their stories. These veterans, US marines and Japanese who met as enemies in the Pacific, are no mythologized heroes or villains, but flesh-and-blood humans describing the true horror that has always been, and always will be, war. Maharidge enables these survivors to speak of the war with such honesty that they strip away all its glamour, break your heart and win it all at once. Part memoir, part vivid history, part a searing examination of war trauma, Bringing Mulligan Home gives us an entirely fresh look at "The Good War" that may well change our view of it forever.”

Kirkus
“A moving memoir. . .A powerful narrative of the dark side of American combat in the Pacific theater and the persistence of resulting injuries decades after the war ended.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes
“Gripping and unforgettable—a son’s search for his father in the shattered ruins of the Pacific War”

New York Post
“A scrupulous and heartfelt analysis of what it was like to be “a cog in the biggest battle in the Pacific.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Mulligan is that rare thing: a book propelled into being by heartfelt urgency and prodigious skill, a mission truly accomplished.”

Wall Street Journal
Bringing Mulligan Home offers bracing eyewitness and some fine writing.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Unexpectedly uplifting”

Huntington News

“A wonderful story. The author brings to the art of non-fiction the rhythm and suspense of a tall tale. Masterfully written.”

Sea Classics Magazine
“Wrenching, powerful….This is a reflective work that will prove of great interest to all war veterans, their families, and others interested in them.”

Kirkus Reviews
The story of a distinguished journalist's search for his father's war. Pulitzer Prize winner Maharidge's (Journalism/Columbia Univ.; Homeland, 2011, etc.) father was a Marine sergeant who fought on Okinawa, where he suffered brain damage in an explosion that killed one of the men in his command, Herman Mulligan. Among the souvenirs the elder Maharidge brought home was an omnipresent photograph of himself and Mulligan, as well as sporadic explosive rages that terrified the author throughout his childhood. Maharidge received no diagnosis or treatment for his injury and refused to talk about the war to the end of his days. After his death, the author, "a person obsessed with the past and what I could not heal," set out to discover the truth about his father's wartime experiences, learn who Mulligan was and, if possible, locate his inexplicably unidentified gravesite. He conducted interviews with almost 30 elderly members of his father's company, and he presents 12 of them at length. He also traveled to Okinawa to visit the site of his father's injury and meet with civilian survivors of the battle in an effort to lay his father's demons to rest. The result is a moving memoir of the war by someone who wasn't there but who suffered from wartime injuries just as surely as his father had. The veterans' interviews are sensitively conducted, powerful and disturbing, graphic descriptions of brutal and largely unnecessary combat with a suicidally determined enemy, and frank accounts of atrocities committed by both sides. Equally importantly, some also explore the men's difficulties in re-entering civilian life, placing in context the elder Maharidge's often unsuccessful struggles to live with his experiences among people who could not imagine or understand them. A powerful narrative of the dark side of American combat in the Pacific theater and the persistence of resulting injuries decades after the war ended.
BookPage
“Excellently performed by Pete Larkin.”
BookPage

Library Bookwatch
“Portrays not only the battles of war, but the lasting impact they had on the lives of those who served, and the dark memories they would have to carry for the rest of their lives. Highly recommended.”
Library Bookwatch

Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A powerful narrative of the dark side of American combat in the Pacific theater and the persistence of resulting injuries decades after the war ended.”
Kirkus

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586489991
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
03/12/2013
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
731,718
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are saying about this

Helen Benedict
“Through deep and sensitive interviewing, Dale Maharidge has achieved what many have previously thought impossible: he has opened up the ‘silent generation’ of World War Two veterans and enabled them to tell their stories. These veterans . . . break your heart and win it all at once. . . . An entirely fresh look at ‘The Good War’ that may well change our view of it forever.”
—Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq and Sand Queen

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