War Ready: In My Father's Shadow
Mary Lou Darst, author
For young Mary Lou, life was an adventure. Her father served in the military, and she traveled the world with him and her family. His assignments took them to Alaska, Virginia, Japan, Texas, and Germany, as part of the US Army’s responsibilities in policing the world. This candid memoir recounts her family’s life in new places and cultures following World War II. What was it like to be a child living in Japan seven years after the war? What was it like to be a thirteen-year-old living in Germany twelve years after the war? What was it like to grow up moving between cultures? This is the story of one family bound to service in the military at a time when the world was being redefined. For a young girl, it was the adventure of a lifetime as she learned the secrets of finding her own way in that new world. The author’s story was informed by reading her father’s diary, which offers up intimate and candid insight into the life of a typical soldier in a time of war. His entries describe his time serving aboard a battleship built for 800 soldiers—but carrying 6,000 to war. His tales—told from the perspective of a young soldier in southern England, Wales, and Scotland from 1943 to 1945—are glimpses into a life many will never know firsthand.