Lost in the Victory

Posted by on Sep 1, 2000 in Book Notes

Lost in the Victory

Lost in the Victory: Reflections of American War Orphans of World War II, Ann Bennett Mix and Susan Hadler Johnson, University of North Texas Press, 1998.

Lost in the VictoryThis book presents the stories of 25 children whose fathers were killed in World War II, and their accounts of struggling to cope with the long-lasting emotional scars of that loss.

War orphans constituted a small, dispersed minority. Most did not know any others in their same circumstances. They felt isolated, ignored, and somehow left out of the seemingly normal lives of their peers. Most of society wanted to put the unpleasant topic of war behind them and move on to building new lives. Many of the widowed mothers either remarried, cutting off their children’s ties to their paternal families, or bore their own grief in silence. Some mothers handled their new situations well, but many did not. At a young age, many orphans learned to keep quiet about a void that they desperately wanted to fill. Most eventually dealt with their grief through various means of self-healing, although closure was rarely complete.

The authors, themselves war orphans, sought out others living with the same burden. They collected letters, photographs, and interviews, which serve as the basis for the book’s individual stories. They also founded the American World War II Orphans Network (www.awon.org) to help others find military records and related information about their deceased fathers. Readers rate this a very moving and important book.

The book review above was originally published in a feature titled “Book Notes”, published in the September, 2000 edition of Amitié, the newsletter of Normandy Allies, Inc. This note was written by Walter Ford Carter, member of the Normandy Allies Board and the team that leads its history-study experience each summer. Walter, the son of Captain Elmer Norval Carter, a US Army battalion surgeon in the 29th Division who was killed in action on June 17 1944, is the author of No Greater Sacrifice, No Greater Love: A Son’s Journey to Normandy.

 

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