cover image Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress

Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress

Mary Edwards Wertsch, Edwards Wertsch. Harmony, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-517-58400-2

For her first book, Wertsch (daughter of an Army officer) interviewed 80 ``military brats'' born between 1932 and 1964, and found that many of their childhood experiences were held in common: extreme mobility, for example, frequent absence of the father and isolation/alienation from the civilian community. Almost without exception, the dominant figure in the tales collected here is the godlike father--often a super-macho warrior type who made impossible demands on sons, ignored daughters and tried to run the family as though it were a military unit. Some of the most painful stories deal with alcoholic fathers and those whose attempts to discipline their children crossed over into child abuse. Wertsch's deeply felt book has much to say about the fragility of the family and about the dark side of human nature. (May)