BREAKING THE CODE : A FATHER'S SECRET, A DAUGHTER'S JOURNEY, AND THE QUESTION THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
by Karen Fisher-Alaniz
As a child, Karen listened to stories of her father's time in the Navy but never really paid attention to what he said. They were meaningless to her and he told them over and over again. That changed in 2002 on his eighty-first birthday. While at her parents' house to celebrate, her father, Murray, placed two notebooks on her lap. Inside were 400 pages of letters that he wrote during World War II. That night and every night afterwards, Karen became immersed in them and discovered a man that she scarcely really knew. For fifty years, he kept secrets buried inside him. By reading the letters and eventually drawing her father out by asking him questions, the truth was revealed.
Breaking the Code is a fast read (two days) and at times can be quite moving. There are photographs from postcards at the beginning of every chapter and, of course, the letters. For people who have relatives still living that fought in WWII, it's an important book. Many could not talk about what happened to them after they returned from the war and suppressed it. As the "Greatest Generation" dwindles, retrieving their stories for others to read should be written down before it's too late.