It speaks of a generation quickly disappearing often leaving their stories untold and, worse, unasked for. Men and women returned home from "the war" with the simple desire to get their lives back, to resume where they were before going off to Europe, the Pacific or wherever they were sent. Many didn't speak of their experiences. Many were never asked. I'm sure there were Karen Fisher-Alaniz told the story of her father's WWII experience with such honesty and sincerity, it took my breath away.


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I'm sure there were a lot of letters sent home and kept by mothers waiting for their sons and husbands to return. Kept "just in case". The message here is find the letters left behind, speak to your parents about their experiences, appreciate our returning vets. I received this book a free through Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Dec 19, Eva Leger rated it really liked it Shelves: The couple low ratings are somewhat surprising to me. I know that's to be expected with any book but I liked this to the point that I'm not sure I can get rid of it.

I think maybe people expected this to be mostly about the authors fathers past and while that plays a big part the dynamics of how this book came to be also plays a big part. Personally I found all of it interesting. The authors father, as a person, is obviously an interesting pers The couple low ratings are somewhat surprising to me. The authors father, as a person, is obviously an interesting person and what's happened in his life only adds to that as his stores show.

Luckily Karen Fisher-Alaniz can write. So many times I pick up a first book by an author especially non-fiction and especially, especially when it's about a past or present family matter and the writer has this story they want to get out but they cannot write. There's not much worse than a good story written poorly. That's not the case here at all. I was finished in about two days if I remember right and that's because I didn't want to put to down. I'd recommend reading through the reviews, maybe trying to find a sample, before just diving in.

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It's not for everyone. If those topics are some of your favorites you may very well love this. I loved the photos and excerpts - that really brings it all home. I don't think the book would have been the same without them. I wouldn't mind reading something else by the author - I think she could take a time period in our history and write a book after researching points and with how she writes, I think it'd have a good chance of being a winner. I'm glad I found and won this on FirstReads.

I still don't know if I'll regret swapping it so for now I'll be holding on to it. Dec 09, Djnyburg rated it it was amazing. This book impacted me in a very strong and personal way. I found this to be a very real, touching and highly emotional read. It was comforting to turn the pages and learn there are so many other people in the world that also are affected by war and tragedy, and sometimes suffer in silence.

I love how real this story is, I love how honest the author is, and I think this book will help so many other peop This book impacted me in a very strong and personal way. I love how real this story is, I love how honest the author is, and I think this book will help so many other people on their healing journeys. Dec 10, Lior rated it it was amazing. This book has drawn me into the depths of a personal heart-touching story from a collection of letters which have been put together over a long period of time from the days of WWII.

The author had a hard job of transcribing these letters, due to the fact they were written at night, with very little light, and not at a desk, but within bed which made the handwriting, with small letters, hard to interpret. Dec 03, Linda rated it liked it Shelves: Daughter Karen forges a closer relationship with her reticent father through pushing him to tell stories about his service in WWII. Somewhat slow but well-written and beautifully done with personal WWII photos and scans of letters, postcards, documents, and bits of ephemera.

This is a Reading Good Books review. Two of my favorite books ever are from the military non-fiction genre. 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.


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On his 81st bi This is a Reading Good Books review. On his 81st birthday, Murray Fisher gives his youngest daughter, Karen the author , notebooks filled with his letters from World War II. It started out as a trip down memory lane. She remembers her stories but together with the letters, she begins to appreciate them more. What really happened out there? What is the story behind the story? 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.

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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. It is a deeply touching journey of a father and daughter. 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. 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. Nov 13, C. Thomas rated it really liked it Shelves: I hate to admit this because it will make me seem hard-hearted but I have never really been all that patriotic.

I suppose it is because no war has ever touched my life. None of my family members ever served in the service and I know no one who has ever been in a war or battle. While I have often read war stories and shuddered at the brutality I hate to admit this because it will make me seem hard-hearted but I have never really been all that patriotic. While I have often read war stories and shuddered at the brutality of war, none of them ever really touched me in a personal way. Breaking the Code is the true story of a daughter who finds a connection to her father through his memories of war.

One day, out of the blue, the father hands his daughter two notebooks full of letters that he wrote home during the war. While she had heard all these stories as a child, she really didn't appreciate the significance of them. As she reads more, the full story of her father emerges and she, as well as the reader, is astonished to discover what he went through and what a true hero he is and was all along.

That is the real power of this book--to look beyond the age of a person and validate the experiences they bring to our lives. This intergenerational story will have you looking beyond the wrinkles and familiarity when you gaze at your parents and grandparents and will make you wonder what amazing and wondrous stories have you been missing all these years?

This is also a story for all Veterans and their families and serves as a reminder of the validation they need after returning to American soil. Even though they return to a normal life, those painful and nightmarish memories still stay inside, bottled up.

This book helped me to realize that those sacrifices of war and service last long after any battles have ended. It is also a story of PTSD post traumatic stress disorder and brings home how it can affect soldiers and their families years later; how one event can haunt and affect families. In the end, this book is a plea to not forget our Veterans and to remember and celebrate their service. Dec 22, Des rated it it was amazing. Breaking the Code takes readers on a journey as the author makes her way through her father's letters and discovers the secret he has kept from her for so many years.

Fisher received training to copy a code called Katakana based on the Japanese language. The Japanese used this code during the war to transmit secret messages, and the United States military managed to intercept the code and use trained code-breaking teams to copy, analyze, and forward the code to th Breaking the Code takes readers on a journey as the author makes her way through her father's letters and discovers the secret he has kept from her for so many years.

The Japanese used this code during the war to transmit secret messages, and the United States military managed to intercept the code and use trained code-breaking teams to copy, analyze, and forward the code to their superiors. The stress of their work weighed heavily on Mr. Fisher and his colleagues, but they followed their orders. They never spoke of their work--not even to one another.

And that silence became an integral part of Mr. Fisher's personality, as Karen realizes in the reading of her father's letters. The letters spark conversations between father and daughter, conversations neither of them had ever had. More importantly, the conversations give Mr. Fisher a chance to share, slowly and painfully, bit by small bit, his experiences with his daughter and the important part he played in WWII.

Fisher reveals another secret, one that shocks his daughter. Fisher-Alaniz's story compels readers to keep going as she details her father's emotional struggle with his memories of the war. Unlike a novel this memoir has no neat ending, and it serves as a somber reminder of the hefty price our servicemen and servicewomen pay to do their job well.

The title, too, captures the essence of Mr. I highly recommend this book for all readers. Those with a family member in the armed services will appreciate the homage this book pays to our military. Those who don't personally know anyone in the military need to know how hard our military members work, not just during their active duty but for their entire lives.

Oct 26, Lillie rated it it was amazing Shelves: The cover of the book calls it a memoir, but it is much more than that. It is a story about relationships—the relationship of a father and daughter, the relationships of a man at war and his far-away family, the relationship of two sailors who knew little about each other but who were tied by a bond stronger than time. The book is also a revealing picture of posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD , a relentless and unpredictable enemy of warriors in conflicts past and present.

The disorder may show i The cover of the book calls it a memoir, but it is much more than that. 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. For war and history buffs, this is a rare look into the daily life of a Navy solider during the war. 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. You can see more of my review on my blog: View all 9 comments. Mar 07, Megan rated it it was ok. The premise of this book, a daughter discovering the extent of her elderly father's service in WWII through conversations prompted by his wartime letters home, seemed promising. The thesis, that even decades later, veterans can have serious issues and still be seeking closure, and that we ought to listen to and honor them, is admirable and heartfelt.

Unfortunately, however lovely of a daughter she is, our author is not that great a writer. This could have been written by an average college fresh The premise of this book, a daughter discovering the extent of her elderly father's service in WWII through conversations prompted by his wartime letters home, seemed promising. This could have been written by an average college freshman.

She didn't do much investigating, little to flesh out either the past or the present to make them feel alive or vibrant, and overall wrote with little style or sophistication. It wasn't unpleasant to read, exactly. But, while it is clear that our author loves, respects, and empathizes with her father's long-buried issues from the war, she doesn't expand on them enough to bring us into those feelings with her. She could have expanded on the historical backdrop, the psychological implications, the nature of memory, somethings to make this story important to people who've never met her father.

Ultimately, she lacks the gift to bring us into her family's world and make her story matter the way it probably deserves.

'Breaking The Code' Of A Father's Secret War History : NPR

Mar 01, Cailean rated it it was ok. Oh how badly I feel rating this so low, as it's an important memoir for the author. But that's exactly the problem I felt I recognize this was about her journey with her father, not JUST about her father. But what could have been a nice longer article in a magazine was somehow expanded into being the longer book that it is, with a lot of repetitiveness You're writing this book! I wanted to know about her father's thoughts.

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He didn't share his thoughts, which is the whole point of the book. So maybe it shouldn't have been a book. I love reading about WWII but this fell really really short. And frankly his secrets were not ground-breaking "oh my goodness WOW" kinds of secrets for the general public to read about. Important for her family, yes, but so many many soldiers experienced the secret that he did watching a friend die. Again, I feel badly that I didn't like this more considering the important subject matter. But I just didn't get much out of it and read it in 2 hours. 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 This book is part memoir, part family story, part family secret story. 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.

This is a great book for fans of World War II history and family stories! Jan 14, Elizabeth B rated it it was ok. A story of a daughter forging a relationship with her WWII dad, this promised to be a tear jerker by its description. Unfortunately, I found the book quite an uneven read. While the father's story was an interesting one, the author seemed to want to focus more on her own issues.

While the relationship with her father is integral to the plot, it is nothing new for children of veterans and the author seems to feel she alone has overcome the "communication" obstacle. I think had the author chosen t A story of a daughter forging a relationship with her WWII dad, this promised to be a tear jerker by its description. I think had the author chosen to make this a family relationship book then that may have been appropriate. However, the author chose to surround this story based on her father's activities in WWII. By doing so, she changed the feel and demeanor of the story and, unfortunately, failed to make this story come alive for me.

I would have loved to hear more of her father's story but instead was pushed into reading more about her which made the book uneven and rather dissappointing in content Unfortunate really, because her father obviously has a good story to tell. Mar 04, Lenora Good rated it it was amazing. If you have a combat veteran in your family, I strongly recommend this book. If you don't have a combat veteran in your family, I strongly recommend this book.

If you care about family dynamics and relationships, I strongly recommend this book. Breaking the Code is a wonderful story of a daughter's love for her father and how, together, they break the silence he was forced to keep for many years.

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This book is a memoir that reads like a fast paced novel. Ms Fisher-Alaniz spent a great deal of time re If you have a combat veteran in your family, I strongly recommend this book. Ms Fisher-Alaniz spent a great deal of time researching, and writing this story and her care and dedication comes across in a well-crafted book.

I mean, when he came home from the war he hung up his uniform and that was it. They went back to their normal everyday lives. So that whole story would've remained untold. Well, I mean, it was just all right with me. I had nothing to talk about especially except I was in the Navy and I came out and I was OK and we were sworn to secrecy about everything I did. And one of the meetings we went to a sergeant in there laid a sidearm down on the desk and I heard the clunk. And he said if any of you talk about this to any of your friends and word gets out that you did this, you'll be put in solitary confinement for the duration of the war and hard labor.

If you say anything that reveals top secret information of advantage to the enemy, he said, you'll be shot. You'll be shot and there'll be no trial. We'll allow you to go on liberty but if you go out in the tavern, trying to have any beer, you're up at the bar and somebody's sitting beside you there, you can be assured that he's one of our operators.

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He was so emphatic about it that it scared the daylights out of us and we - I don't think any of us ever said a word. A couple of years after I got out of the service a couple of men came up to the door. They had black suits on and shiny black shoes and I thought they were going to preach me a sermon or something, but it turned out they said you're now released from secrecy for this one thing but the other, what you were doing, you can't - that's never been released so far.

As far as I know, someone might come up in this room and shoot me because I've been talking about it. It seems OK at this stage. But have you both been able to learn any more detail or corroborate these stories with military records? Well, to some extent. I mean, I did have someone who was helping me who had 26 years in naval intelligence and I sent records to him and he looked at them and he said that although there's not anything specific, he said that just looking at the location, he was able to see that he was where he says he was.

He said there are definitely some blank areas in there. So in that sense, yes. I mean, Dad is a very methodical person. He has an incredible memory and it kind of drives him crazy that he can't just get verification of this, just get a, you know, a sheet of paper that says this is what you were doing. He would love that, but it doesn't seem to be out there.

Karen Fisher-Alaniz and her father Murray Fisher. His story is the focus of Karen's new book "Breaking the Code: Thank you both so much for sharing your story with us. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.

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