FINDING ST. LO: A MEMOIR OF WAR AND FAMILY
Independently Published (2019)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (6/19)
“Finding St. Lo” by Ted Neill is a touching, soul-wrenching memoir about unsung heroes of the Second World War. With the first-hand accounts of Gordon Edward Cross, (medic) and Robert Lewis Fowler (sergeant) and their service in the 134th US Infantry Regiment. Ted Neill (Fowler’s grandson) includes essays about his grandfather’s PTSD and the effects it has on three generations, combining three stories into one remarkable piece of history.
Neill often found his grandfather to be loving and outgoing yet at the same time he had his dark side. After Fowler’s passing in 2006, Neill wanted to know more about his grandfather and his military experience. When he came across an unpublished journal he knew he must interpret the meaning and visits St. Lo to investigate. During his research, Neill comes across a journal of Gordan Edward Cross, another veteran. With this knowledge, Neill is able to come to terms with how the war not only impacted the soldiers but the ripple effect it had on the family and generations to come. I found the account of the younger generation and protests against war is a true reflection of the anger and sadness veterans felt when they realized no one cared they had given up their youth and dreams so these same individuals could have the freedom to protest.
Ted Neill does an excellent job of providing readers with an honest and factual account of the war, as well as the impact and lasting brotherhood developed among those who served. This is not a fluff read. The author does his research, taking a long journey to St. Lo to walk in his grandfather’s footsteps. He doesn’t hold anything back. There are also many photographs included that were taken by Cross. These add a layer of depth and understanding and brings the reality of the events to life. I found “Finding St. Lo” to be a tremendous salute to those who gave their lives and to all the families who in some way sacrificed so we can be here today I highly recommend “Finding St. Lo.” for history buffs and for the families who never understood what changed their soldier during this war.