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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review: Breaking the Code by Karen Fisher-Alaniz

Title: Breaking the Code
Author: Karen Fisher-Alaniz
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publish Date: November 1, 2011 (Today!)
Source: Netgalley

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're interested in World War II.
  • You like family stories.
What's the Story?:

From "On his 81st birthday, without explanation, Karen Alaniz's father placed two weathered notebooks on her lap. Inside were more than 400 pages of letters he'd written to his parents during WWII. She began reading them, and the more she read, the more she discovered about the man she never knew and the secret role he played in WWII.
They began to meet for lunch every week, for her to ask him questions, and him to provide the answers. And with painful memories now at the forefront of his thoughts, her father began to suffer, making their meetings as much about healing as discovery. Thus began an unintended journey—one taken by a father and daughter who thought they knew each other—as they became newly bound in ways that transcended age and time."

My Two Cents:

This book is part memoir, part family story, part family secret story. When Karen receives a packet of the letters that her father wrote his parents during his time in the military. Karen grew up very rarely hearing stories about what her father did during the war so much of his life in that time period. Karen starts doing some of her own research as well as transcribing her father's letters. She also begins meeting her father every week to ask her some of the questions that come up while she's looking through the letters.

This is a deeply moving story, made all the more moving by the fact that it's real. Through their talks, Karen and her father not only talk about her father's history but Karen begins to understand more about where her father is coming from. It was interesting to read about how Karen began doing her research on what her dad was actually doing during the war. At some points in the book, I really found myself wishing that maybe there would be a little more detail of Karen's dad's story.

Bottom line: This is a great book for fans of World War II history and family stories!


  1. Looks interesting. I often wonder what my father did in WW II. He only ever said: "We did what we had to do, like it or not." I only know he guarded German POWs at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and was part of the guard detail when they were transported to different parts of the U.S. and then placed on ships in NY for repatriation after the war.


  2. I've really developed an interest in WWII stories lately. This one sounds well worth adding to my TBR!

  3. @Anonymous That generation in general just seems less open in sharing about what they did. I get the same thing from my grandparents!

  4. @lsl_scrapper WWII is definitely one of my favorite eras to read about!


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