Landing in My Present Cover

Landing in My Present

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LANDING IN MY PRESENT
by
Mary Clark
Biography / Aviation / Historical / WWII
Publisher: Hellgate Press
Date of Publication: June 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 218
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SYNOPSIS

Landing in My Present book cover

Mary Walker Clark barely knew her father. When he died, he left not only the obvious void every teen would experience, but took with him scores of Indiana Jones-style tales about flying the Hump, a treacherous series of US missions that transported supplies over the Himalayas to China during World War II.

It would take a chance interview with a pilot who had flown with her father in the war to launch a series of extraordinary journeys—into a shrouded past and halfway around the globe to India and China—for Clark to finally come to know the father whose absence had haunted her for decades.

Landing in My Present chronicles the adventures of a daughter who chose to pry open a painful past while enlarging her view of an adventurous father long thought lost.

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REVIEW

Clueless Gent’s Rating

4 star rating

Landing in My Present documents the process one woman—the author—went through to reconnect with her father, who was killed in a farming accident when she was a mere teenager. The father’s death was the “elephant in the family room” that no one talked about. As the 50th anniversary of his death loomed, the author felt compelled to reacquaint herself with the father she never really knew to begin with.

I can imagine the heart wrenching moments the author experienced as she discovered new things about her father, yet being unable to talk to her father about such things. I sensed some regret for not knowing her father better before he died, yet this was likely squashed by the realization that he was truly a hero during his life.

I like how the author included the entire process she went through during her research, even the failures. The biggest of those failures was waiting 50 years after his death to begin her research. There were a number of reasons for this—good reasons—but a wealth of information about her dad was lost as his friends and associates died during those 50 years. However, she remained determined.

The author attributed great significance to her dad’s years in the military. They accounted for less than three years of his life, yet I estimate that she spent more than 50 percent of her research on those years. I imagine that’s probably because of the impact war can have on its combatants.

In addition to telling us how she conducted her research, she also made it clear how some of her findings impacted her feelings about her father. To make things even more transparent to the reader, she included some of the letters and emails she acquired during her research – verbatim.

The author did something else that I thought was quite clever, yet very germane to the book: she included several letters that she felt could have been written by her father while he was in the service. In other words, the author actually penned the letters, but she tried to do so as her father. I doubt that I’m doing this justice in trying to explain it. However, I considered those letters my favorite parts of the book. (That doesn’t mean the rest of the book wasn’t good. It was.)

The photos included in the book were also very helpful, informative and added to my enjoyment of the story.

Technically, I thought the author did a great job in presenting this. She made the book interesting, and well worth my time. The book was well-edited, and it moved along at a steady pace. She included a timeline at the end of the book that put everything in place for me.

This country and the state of Texas, in particular, have raised a number of heroes. This is a story about one of them. I recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.

Notable Quotable: "Charlie was just different."

About
the Author

Mary Walker Clark Author Photo

Mary Walker Clark is a retired attorney turned travel writer who loves taking readers with her to worldwide destinations. She has been traveling independently and internationally for over fifty years. Her essays may be found in the Paris News, at her blog, “Mary Clark, Traveler,” and her podcasts at KETR 88.9, an NPR affiliate. Clark is an award-winning member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and a contributor to Still Me, … After All These Years, 24 Writers Reflect on Aging.

In 2016, Clark traveled to India and China to follow her father’s WWII footsteps when he was a Hump pilot flying over the Himalayas. Her journey to connect with him fifty years after his death is told in her book, Landing in My Present.

Clark is a fifth generation Texan living in Paris, Texas.

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2 thoughts on “Landing in My Present

  1. Great review! And interesting perspective about how the military life was only 3 years but all consuming! Just started reading this and am looking forward to the unfolding story.

  2. Dear Clueless Gent! Thank you for a thoughtful review. Yes, the military part of the story was definitely the driving force in reconnecting with my father. And I did want more people introduced to the Flying the Hump operation as it deserves more recognition. It’s so interesting to me what part of the book impressed readers the most and the imagined letters have been a favorite. I realized letters were so important during those war years and since he regularly wrote the pilots he trained, I had to think he wrote home while he was abroad. Thank you again for the great review and I am honored that you recommended it. All the best. Mary Waalker Clark

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