Click Here To Purchase Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything

Author: Karen Fisher-Alaniz
ISBN: 978-1-40226-112-1
Publisher: Sourcebooks

This is a beautiful narrative and tribute to a parent that served in World War II, told by his daughter, who, at first, couldn't quite understand her Dad when he told his war stories.  As is said in the book, when she was younger she didn't understand her parent and would not be able to discover why these stories of his time serving in the Navy would come up and why he would be despondent and not want to talk at all.

On his 81st birthday, the author's father gave her two old notebooks that were filled with letters that he had written to his parents when he was stationed in the Pacific during WWII.  When she read them she began to realize that, although her father was always there for her and talked to her, they never really had a real conversation.  He told her and her sister about his time in the Navy and the girls never really paid attention.  When she started reading them, she realized that her father was a very complicated man that she never really knew.  The author and her Dad met for lunch every week so she could ask him about some of the passages in the letters that she didn't understand.  When this happened, she learned that he had been part of a small group of men who were being trained to break a top-secret code of the Japanese.  Her grandparents thought that he had spent the war in Hawaii but, in reality, he had traveled with a group of men throughout the Pacific watched by FBI agents and ended up on Iwo Jima.  In a small excerpt from the book, she states: I could hardly believe what I was hearing.  Such a simple question, (Is there anyone that you hung out with or became friends with on the base?)  had led my father to share this new revelation.  I dared not ask another question for fear that I'd break the spell and never know what secrets he harbored.

The author's father and five other men had been sent to code-breaking school and were informed that from this moment on everything that they did was top secret.  They couldn't reveal their job to their tent mates or anyone else, including family.  They would be watched at all times and their mail would be censored.  They were not to talk about anything in letters home.  Even a hint of what they were doing would be reason for a court martial.  The author and her Dad went on this painful journey together and she helped him to remember the things that had happened.  Sadly, this brave sailor had been suffering from PTSD.  (This was before anyone really understood what this can do to people). 

This was a very heart warming and heart wrenching book as the author tried to help her Dad to remember the things that he accomplished in the Navy, even to the point of sending for his service records, which told some things but not all.  A book that tells the story of a father and daughter relationship that will live in their hearts for all time.

Click Here To Purchase Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything