Sunday, July 16, 2017

Soldier's Heart

Soldier's Heart The Campaign to Understand my WWII Veteran Father is a wonderful graphic memoir by Carol Tyler. Tyler shows how her father's war experiences traumatically affected him and, in turn, affected his relationships with his children as they were growing up, including how they obtained their own emotional baggage from their upbringing. The book joins the author's angst over her present life, a failed marriage and mentally ill daughter, with the memories her father has from his war experience. The trauma has now affected three generations. At the time the book was published in 2015, he was still alive and was 95 years old.

Carol Tyler wants to be closer to her parents but is unable to penetrate the hard exteriors they developed from the trauma of the war experience. Like most members of the greatest generation, they did not talk about the past. One day Charles Tyler calls his daughter on the phone and talks for 2 hours about the war. His daughter, the author, then begins 2 projects. She begins a scrapbook of her father's war years and also begins to research his war experiences by going through government archives and interviewing her father. What she puts together is a magnificent history of how WWII affected the generation that fought it and how their battle scars affected their abilities to raise their future families. Having been raised myself by this generation I can truthfully say that every family I grew up with has the same baggage that Tyler family has. It is part of our American history.

The reason for the title "Soldier's Heart" is simple. This was the term used after the Civil War to describe the PTSD that soldier's suffered from. The artwork changes throughout the book from comic panels to full page drawings done in both pen and watercolors. The colors vary by page from saturated colors to desaturated colors.

A Soldier's Heart is a fabulous history lesson on WWII. If you did not live through it I highly recommend that you read it. For those of us that lived with the aftermath of the war, it may explain why your family life turned out the way it did.

Simply magnificent!!!!!

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