Synopses & Reviews
Sergeant Steve Maharidge returned from World War II an angry man. The only evidence that heand#8217;d served in the Marines was a photograph of himself and a buddy tacked to the basement wall. On one terrifyingly memorable occasion his teenage son, Dale, witnessed Steve screaming at the photograph: and#147;They said I killed him! But I didnand#8217;t kill him! It wasnand#8217;t my fault!and#8221;
After Steve died, Dale Maharidge began a twelve-year quest to face down his fatherand#8217;s wartime ghosts. He found more than two dozen members of Love Company, the Marine unit in which his father had served. Many of them, now in their eighties, finally began talking about the war. Theyand#8217;d never spoken so openly and emotionally, even to their families. Through them, Maharidge brilliantly re-creates Love Companyand#8217;s battles and the war that followed them home. In addition, Maharidge traveled to Okinawa to experience where the man in his fatherand#8217;s picture died and meet the families connected to his fatherand#8217;s wartime souvenirs.
The survivors Dale met on both sides of the Pacific Ocean demonstrate that wars do not end when the guns go quietand#151;the scars and demons remain for decades. Bringing Mulligan Home is a story of fathers and sons, war and postwar, silence and cries in the dark. Most of all it is a tribute to soldiers of all warsand#151;past and presentand#151;and the secret burdens they, and their families, must often bear.
Sgt. Steve Maharidge, like many of his generation, hardly ever talked about the war. The only sign he'd served in it was a single black and white photograph of himself and another soldier tacked to the wall of his basement, where he would grind steel. After Steve Maharidges death, his son Dale, now an adult, began a twelve-year quest to understand his fathers preoccupation with the photo. What had happened during the battle for Okinawa, and why his father had remained silent about his experiences and the man in the picture, Herman Mulligan? In his search for answers, Maharidge sought out the survivors of Love Company, many of whom had never before spoken so openly and emotionally about what they saw and experienced on Okinawa.
In Bringing Mulligan Home, Maharidge delivers an affecting narrative of war and its aftermath, of fathers and sons, with lessons for the children whose parents are returning from war today.
Sergeant Steve Maharidge returned from World War II an angry man. For a long time, the only evidence that remained of his service in the Marines was a photograph of himself and a buddy that he tacked to the basement wall. When his son, Dale Maharidge, set out to discover what happened to the friend in the photograph, he found that wars do not end when the guns go quiet. The scars and demons remain for decades. Bringing Mulligan Home
is a story of fathers and sons, war, and what was, for some, a long postwar.
About the Author
Dale Maharidge has been teaching at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University since 2001. Before that he was a visiting professor at Stanford University for ten years and spent fifteen years as a newspaperman. Several of his books are illustrated with the work of photographer Michael S. Williamson. The first book, Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass (1985), later inspired Bruce Springsteen to write two songs; it was reissued in 1996 with an introduction by Springsteen. His second book, And Their Children After Them, won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1990.