My Father's Bonus March

Adam Langer, Author . Spiegel & Grau $26 (243p) ISBN 978-0-385-52372-1

Novelist Langer (Ellington Boulevard ) remembers his late father, a disabled Chicago radiologist, as brilliant and driven, but also distant and contradictory. For more than 30 years, his father talked about writing a history of the Bonus March, which Langer describes as a pivotal but now mostly forgotten event, when some 20,000 WWI veterans marched on Washington for two months during the Depression, demanding advance payment of bonuses due in 1945, until a bloody confrontation with the U.S. cavalry left two protesters dead. The Bonus March comes to represent for Langer “a key to my dad's inner life,” so he decides to research the event and his father's relationship to it, along the way pondering whether his grandfather, possibly a WWI vet, participated in the march and whether it had particular resonance for a man who had difficulty walking. Langer's interviews range from his father's old friends and relatives to notables like Norman Podhoretz and John Kerry, who modeled his Vietnam protests on the march. Unfortunately, this frustrating combination of personal memoir, biography and American history falls flat as Langer barely scratches the surface of the Bonus March, and his father remains inscrutable and lackluster to readers. (Oct. 20)

Reviewed on: 08/03/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 155 pages - 978-0-385-53028-6
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-385-52373-8
Show other formats
Discover what to read next