A Warrior’s Words
I am a soldier’s daughter. My father served in three wars, two of them popular, one of them not. The only stories he ever told about those times in his life were carefully edited, G-rated anecdotes like one about running over a python when he was in Burma building Bailey-Bailey bridges.
He bore his burden alone because that’s what men of his generation did. He died with his stories untold. And maybe that’s one reason why he died so young.
I wish my father—who loved to read—could have read this collection of essays and fiction.
Weston Ochse is a warrior. He is a humanist. And he is a damn fine writer.
I’ve read some fantastic collections of war stories in the past and this one is now in my top five, along with Michael Herr’s DISPATCHES and Anthony Swofford’s JARHEAD.
Every single story in this collection has been curated with care and all of them will go through you like the ball bearings spit out by a Claymore mine when someone not paying attention steps on it.
“Why is it so hard to be a man?” the protagonist of “Family Man” asks and then he offers up a sacrifice to his family that is simply…heart-stopping. “Family Man” is one of those stories, like “Plastic Soldiers” by WD County, that can never be unread.
The essays are just as strong as the fiction, with “Every War Has a Signature Sound” being one of my favorites. Ochse ends the collection with a piece called “Finishing School” that is inspirational and confessional and altogether insightful and a story about warring with your self when it just seems so much easier to quit.
But warriors don’t quit.