Saying Goodbye: A Memoir for Two Fathers

M. R. Montgomery, Author, Elisabeth Sifton, Editor Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-394-57333-5
In this unusual and engrossing family history, Boston Globe reporter Montgomery ( In Search of L. L. Bean , etc.) traces the life and attempts to penetrate the heart of his late father, a civil engineer, whose self-reliance, reticence and aloofness precluded intimacy between them--a lack typical, the author believes, of many American father/child relationships. Concurrently he writes with admiration for the father of his Japanese wife, of whose race his own family disapproved. A fine doctor and scholar, his father-in-law was spared internment in the U.S. during WW II to teach Japanese in the Navy's language programs; later, he administered to the medical needs of the San Jose, Calif., Japanese-American community. Montgomery provides almost excessive data on the careers of the two fathers. His quest for his own father led him to a Missouri dam he helped build and to Scotland, where he worked on what his son describes as ``redundant naval bases,'' part of the controversial Lend-Lease program. At war's end, Captain Maurice Richard Montgomery returned home and remained a virtual stranger to his son. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
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