By Marilynne Rudick
While my father is no longer living, Father’s Day reminds me of the gifts and lesson my father gave me. This year I’m thinking about books about fathers–famous or infamous, unassuming or larger-than-life, present or absent, real or fictional. The literature about fathers is vast. But here’s my take–a handful of books exploring the profound influence of fathers. (These books are available as Amazon Kindle eBooks and in paperback.)
Big Russ and Me: Father and Son—Lessons of Life by Tim Russert
What’s so powerful about the late Tim Russert’s best-selling book is his father’s seeming ordinariness. Big Russ, as he was called, was a World War II veteran and a blue-collar worker. Russert pays tribute to his dad’s common sense and old-fashioned values, which he called the foundation of his life. The book strikes a chord with many readers who identify with the profound impact of Russert’s unassuming yet inspiring father.
The Great Santini by Pat Conroy
Conroy has fashioned his literary career on his fascinating and dysfunctional family. In the Great Santini, Colonel Bull Meecham, a fictionalized version of Conroy’s iron-fisted father, is both terrifying and inspiring. Overcoming physical and emotional wounds inflicted by his father, the son comes to terms with his father and finds his own path in life. This is one of Conroy’s most compelling stories with an unforgettable portrait of the Great Santini.
Faith of My Fathers by John McCain and Mark Salter
I read this book before the 2008 election. While my politics are poles apart from McCain, I nevertheless found the story of his grandfather and father’s military service honest and inspiring. Their patriotism was a legacy that John McCain drew for survival as a POW in Vietnam.
Dreams of My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
Much as his father and grandfather shaped John McCain’s life, Barack Obama’s legendary, but absent Kenyan father helped to define him. This well-written and frank account of Obama’s search for identity provides insight into the formative years of the man who is now President of the United States.
March by Geraldine Brooks
What adolescent girl hasn’t identified with one of the sisters in Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women? But missing from this tale of family is the father, Peter March. In this work of fiction, Geraldine Brooks fills in the blank by telling Mr. March’s imagined story as a chaplain in the Union Army during the Civil War. An idealist and an abolitionist, March has his beliefs severely tested by the realities of war. He returns to his little women a broken man, sick and disillusioned.
Do you have a favorite book about fathers? Please add it as a comment.
About the Author: Marilynne Rudick writes about web tools and technologies in her WebOver50 blog. She believes the web is wasted on the young, and her blog explains web apps– social networking, blogging, YouTube, and the treasure trove of new web tools—for people like herself: an over50 history major.