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Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, a…

Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the…

by Karen Fisher-Alaniz

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Murray Fisher served in the Pacific during World War II. He came home, got down to business, married, raised a family and told the same canned WWII stories to his family and friends over and over until they stopped listening.

When his daughter, the book’s author, started asking quest ions about his service in the Navy, he gave her four notebooks – hundreds of pages -- with the letters he had written home to his parents while he was in service. When Ms Fisher-Alaniz read between the lines of his letters, she thought something was missing. She pressed him to find answers and this book is the result of the answers she received.

I’ve read several books lately about children who attempt to learn their parents’ stories long after their parents are gone and beyond answering questions. This is the first I’ve read about an adult child who sought these answers while the elder was alive.

This is a quick yet illuminating read, and it goes to the heart of the “greatest generation,” and the sacrifices they made for our country. It also serves as a reminder that lighthearted stories often have a tragic center. ( )
  NewsieQ | Jun 1, 2014 |
About the book: This is a memoir of a daughter who, through old WW2 letters and returning memories of her father, slowly discovers the important role he played during the war. While transcribing the letters her father gave to her on his 81st birthday, Karen begins to research the time period. Father and daughter also start meeting weekly for breakfast. Slowly, over the next few years, information about his life during the war is revealed and the quest for peace begins.

What I liked: The details and descriptions of the process in discovering who her father was during time of war made it easy for me to picture events as I was reading. The letters written my her father also painted a clear picture in my mind about what he was seeing and doing. The story in its self was very moving, as was the experiences of the veteran after the war and his quest for peace. Also loved the pictures, letters, and documents shown in each chapter.

What I didn't like: The pictures were hard to see on my Kindle. Had to look at them on my computer to see them clearly. Of course this is no reflection on the book itself.
( )
  Erins826 | Jun 12, 2013 |
Breaking the Code is a wonderful true story of a daughter’s quest to transcribe WWII letters written by her father. What started out as a gift to her children, became a journey of learning, healing, self-discovery, bonding and understanding.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It was told in first person by Karen, the daughter of Murray Fisher. She speaks in a no-nonsense way that keeps you turning the pages. The book contains Murray’s letters, postcards, photos, and some official documents. For war and history buffs, this is a rare look into the daily life of a Navy solider during the war.
I found the places, activities and Fisher’s job(s) during the war to be very interesting. Karen Fisher-Alaniz offers us a rare glimpse into a very special, humble man and his struggle to deal with the memories. Breaking the Code was an emotional journey, and I found myself laughing and crying. I recommend this to all.
This would make the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your list.
I want to thank netGalley and Sourcebooks for this ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.
You can see more of my review on my blog:
https://www.facebook.com/kimbathecaffeinatedbookreviewer ( )
  kimbacaffeinate | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is a Reading Good Books review.

I’ve always loved reading stories about war, may they be from history books or more personal memoirs. Two of my favorite books ever are from the military non-fiction genre. We often see it on the news; we see the boots on the ground as one “force”. But each member of that team has his own story to tell. Stories of survival, brotherhood, strength, and bravery…

Breaking the Code is a journey. A journey of a father and a daughter through memories. On his 81st birthday, Murray Fisher gives his youngest daughter, Karen (the author), notebooks filled with his letters from World War II. Karen grew up hearing her father’s stories over and over until she outgrew his tales of conflict and combat. As she began reading through and transcribing these letters, she realizes there was more to her father’s stories.

It started out as a trip down memory lane. As Karen reads her father’s letters, it paints a picture of his time in the Navy. She remembers her stories but together with the letters, she begins to appreciate them more. Then it becomes more of Karen’s journey of discovery. What really happened out there? What are the things her father hasn’t told her? What is the story behind the story?

It would have been great to see some of his family’s letters to him. One of the most touching parts was where Karen realized why her grandmother kept all of Murray’s letters in an album. It could be her last correspondence with her son. What did she write to her son? You can tell so much in what a person writes… the tone, the feeling.

It was very well-written. And honest. I loved that the most about this book. There were so much emotion. And you can tell that there is a lot of love in these pages. It is not just a war memoir… it is a personal family history.

Rating: 4/5.

Recommendation: It is a deeply touching journey of a father and daughter. If you know someone who has been through a war – WWII, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. – this will definitely hit close to home.

PS: My grandfather was in the Philippine Navy. Although he did not see much combat, he had his stories. As a kid, I thought his travels were great adventures… FUN times. But as I grew older, I realized what a war is and how it affects not only the boots on the ground, but the families the men and women leave behind. I also realized that he was sugarcoating some parts of his stories for my young ears. My grandfather didn’t have letters but his stories live on in my memories. It means a lot to me that I post this today because exactly one year ago, he passed away. He is sorely missed and will never ever be forgotten. ( )
  chaostheory08 | Dec 4, 2011 |
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Well, here we are but where are we going? That is the question. --January 9, 1945
To my father, Murray William Fisher
And in memory of my grandmother, Ruby Lavinia Fisher, and my father's comrade, Mal
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He stood at the end of the pier watching the petals drift out to sea.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Karen Fisher-Alaniz grew up barely listening to her father's stories of his childhood and of his time in the Navy, but on his 81st birthday, her father gave her two notebooks containing more than 400 pages of letters written to his parents during World War II. It was only then that she discovered the man she never knew and his secret role in the war.… (more)

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