Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The War Came Home with Him

A Daughter’s Memoir

2016
Author:

Catherine Madison

The War Came Home with Him

A poignant look at the suppressed grief and thwarted love that forever alter a family when a soldier brings his war home

In this striking dual narrative, Catherine Madison tells the stories of two survivors of one man’s war: a father who withstood a prison camp’s unspeakable inhumanity and a daughter who withstood the residual cruelty that came home with him. Piecing together her father’s experiences as a POW in Korea, Madison uncovers long-hidden truths about his past, gaining insight into her own in the process.

A mesmerizing page-turner. Catherine Madison has written a captivating, beautifully crafted tale of the horrors her father endured as a prisoner of war and her lifelong quest to unravel the mystery of his tortured soul.

Hugh Delehanty, coauthor of Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success

During his years as a POW in North Korea, “Doc” Boysen endured hardships he never intended to pass along, especially to his family. Men who refused to eat starved; his children would clean their plates. Men who were weak died; his children would develop character. They would also learn to fear their father, the hero. In a memoir at once harrowing and painfully poignant, Catherine Madison tells the stories of two survivors of one man’s war: a father who withstood a prison camp’s unspeakable inhumanity and a daughter who withstood the residual cruelty that came home with him.

Doc Boysen died fifty years after his ordeal, his POW experience concealed to the end in a hidden cache of documents. In The War Came Home with Him, Madison pieces together the horrible tale these papers told—of a young captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps captured in July 1950, beaten and forced to march without shoes or coat on icy trails through mountains to camps where North Korean and Chinese captors held him for more than three years. As the truth about her father’s past unfolds, Madison returns to a childhood troubled by his secret torment to consider, in a new light, the telling moments in their complex relationship.

Beginning at her father’s deathbed, with all her questions still unspoken, and ending with their final conversation, Madison’s dual memoir offers a powerful, intimate perspective on the suppressed grief and thwarted love that forever alter a family when a wounded soldier brings his war home.

The War Came Home with Him

Journalist Catherine Madison was editor-in-chief of Utne Reader, senior editor at Adweek and Creativity Magazine, founding editor of American Advertising, and editor-in-chief of Format Magazine. She has written articles for many publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Star Tribune, and Minnesota Monthly.

The War Came Home with Him

A mesmerizing page-turner. Catherine Madison has written a captivating, beautifully crafted tale of the horrors her father endured as a prisoner of war and her lifelong quest to unravel the mystery of his tortured soul.

Hugh Delehanty, coauthor of Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success

I loved this book, not only for the knowledge gained concerning a war I knew so little about but for Catherine Madison’s skill in relating both sides of this complex and difficult story. She is truly a reliable narrator, and her interweaving of her father’s ordeal as a prisoner of war with her own growing up in a household with a broken and damaged man is honest and generous and truly moving.

Judith Guest, author of Ordinary People

A heartfelt account of a family fractured by war and its awful aftereffects.

Kirkus Reviews

It’s hard to imagine in this time of endless psychological examination that greater consideration was not given in the past to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other conditions affecting returning POWs. Madison’s dual narratives of the injury visited upon, and imposed by, her father raises complex questions of survival and forgiveness, relevant to readers dealing with family traumas themselves.

Library Journal

Madison chronicles the legacy of a much neglected part of U.S. history while bravely dissecting the enduring bond between an enigmatic father and his curious daughter. [The War Came Home with Him] should be lauded for its unflinching honesty as Madison recalls the harrowing moments in her complicated relationship with her sometimes steady, often volatile father.

Star Tribune

Compellingly written.

Library Journal

In this beautifully written dual memoir, Madison smoothly moves between chapters re-creating her father’s terrible imprisonment and her childhood.

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Madison’s memoir offers a powerful, intimate perspective on what happens to a family when a wounded soldier brings his war home.

kafbnucleus.com

Madison’s writing is so compelling; I read the entire book in a couple of sittings, not wanting to put it down for even a minute.

Russian Hill Reader

The War Came Home with Him

Contents

Prologue
Yokohama, Japan, June 1950
Martinsburg, West Virginia, 1952
Pyongtaek, Korea, July 1950
San Antonio, Texas, 1954
Seoul, Korea, July 1950
San Antonio, Texas, 1957
Pyongyang, North Korea, July 1950
San Antonio, Texas, 1958
Manpo, North Korea, September 1950
En Route to Germany, 1959
The Cornfield, North Korea, October 1950
Bremerhaven, West Germany, 1960
Death March, North Korea, November 1950
Landstuhl, West Germany, 1962
By the Yalu River, North Korea, November 1950
Rockville, Maryland, 1963
Camp 7, North Korea, February 1951
San Antonio, Texas, 1964
Camp 2, P’anjung-ni, North Korea, November 1951
Atlanta, Georgia, 1965
Camp 2, P’anjung-ni, North Korea, January 1953
Atlanta, Georgia, 1966
Homeward Bound, September 1953
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1970
Lawton, Oklahoma, January 1955
Athens, Georgia, 1995
Epilogue

Sources and Acknowledgments

The War Came Home with Him

www.thewarcamehomewithhim.com

 

UMP blog series: Growing up an army brat

By the time I was in the fourth grade, in 1959, I understood that my father was not like the rest of us. Of course he went off to work long days like most fathers, while we kids went to school and my mom took care of the house, but he was different in other ways.