Dear Dad, A Novel

Dear Dad, by John Hazen, is a wonderful but harrowing read. John Foster is the son of a decorated World War II vet who grew up in small-town New England during the build-up to the Vietnam War. Eager to do his part, Foster is drawn into small disagreements with his peers and family as he battles his own misgivings about the conflict. Once in Vietnam, his resentment toward the army brass, his enemies, and his fellow soldiers grows as he’s routinely faced with the horrors of war. When he’s wounded during an attack, he awakens to find himself in 1862, where he finds a nobler purpose.

John Hazen crafts a compelling story. Foster’s background and character are fleshed out extremely well through flashbacks to his upbringing in Fairbrook, Massachusetts. We learn of his camaraderie with his childhood friend group, and there’s a touching passage about how he brings his father back from the edge after his mother’s death. These strong family bonds clash harshly with the impersonal nature he learns to adopt in the military.

Once he’s transported to the Civil War era, he is confronted with more horrors of the battlefield, but now he feels as if he is part of something worth fighting for. I really enjoyed Dear Dad, A Novel. I found Hazen’s writing remarkably easy-going and entertaining.

Each chapter was prefaced with a letter that gave a little more insight into the story. Foster’s experiences on the battlefield are truly horrific. Hazen has a sharp critique of military bureaucracy, including the incompetence of some officers, while still admirably praising men who earned their way through merit. I think anyone who likes historical fiction from the Vietnam War or the Civil War would greatly enjoy this book.

Pages 303 | ASIN B007SXID7E

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Posted on December 30, 2022, in Book Reviews, Five Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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