While reading this book, Farley Mowat died. I felt cheated. This book is Farley’s edited collection of letters back and forth between him and his Father during his time in the Second World War. The letters are a testimony that life continues in the darkest circumstances.
When you read Angus Mowat’s letters to his young son Farley, you can see where he gets his trademark wit, irreverence, and (ironically, given his circumstances) rebellious nature. Angus was a veteran of the First World War, so father and son are able to connect on shared ground.
It was interesting to read Mowat’s Canadian perspective on the war. By all accounts, the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (the “Hasty P”) along with the rest of Canada’s contribution were outstanding soldiers. It was infuriating to read how the Canadians were ordered to stand back after heavy fighting to let the Americans be the official people to take back Rome!
Also infuriating were the “zombies”—a special class of Canadians who were able to join the military while refusing overseas service. They wore the uniform without the risk.
This collection of letters is a window back to the dark days of the Second World War, as seen through the jaded eyes of a young man who would become a famous writer. When you consider Mowat’s massive written output, we were blessed to have him with us as long as we did.
—Farley Mowat, My Father’s Son: Memories of War and Peace (Toronto: Key Porter, 1992).