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 bestseller Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success
Doc Boysen was a POW in a North Korean camp for three long years during the Korean War, and while he tried not to bring the horrors back to the United States with him, as the title makes clear, he was not successful. . . . It’s important to bear witness, to read and remember the stories.
— Liz French, Library Journal columnist
Madison’s dual memoir, both heartbreaking and riveting, moves between her father’s struggles to survive unspeakable captivity and his difficult relationship with his family. She shows that soldiers aren’t the only ones damaged by war.
— Mary Ann Grossmann, Pioneer Press
This is how we need people to write about American wars and the families of our soldiers—not in ham-fisted generalizations and trite stereotypes but in fine-grained, sympathetic detail, without an ulterior motive. This is a book that intertwines the horror-story of her father’s experience as an American POW in Korea with her own coming-of-age story growing up in his home. It’s deceptively smart and on-point, opening a window onto the entangled nature of public service and private life.
— Best Books of 2015, Brazos Bookstore, Houston
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, bestselling author of Ordinary People
...the author creates an absorbing and sometimes excruciating depiction of growing up with the man referred to as “Colonel Surgeon Father God.” She tells his story, long unknown, and offers deeply loving, heart-wrenching insight into the all too silent ravages of war. Hard to read but very rewarding and, not surprising to those familiar with Madison’s work, compellingly written.
— Rebecca Miller, Editor in Chief/Editorial Director, LJS
Madison, former editor in chief of the Utne Reader, has transformed her meticulous research into the Korean conflict and her father’s written account of his imprisonment into a remarkable memoir. It should be lauded for its unflinching honesty as Madison recalls the harrowing moments in her complicated relationship with her sometimes steady, often volatile father.
— Carol Memmott, Star Tribune
“The War Came Home With Him: A Daughter’s Memoir” is a throat-clenching biography of a POW during the Korean War and an autobiography of his daughter, who poignantly tells her own story growing up with a man tragically changed forever after being a POW. Catherine Madison deftly gives a voice to her father, Doc—something he was never able to do for himself—in a way that honors him profoundly. . . . I highly recommend it to anyone interested in reading about the experiences of POWs, the Korean War, war-grief, trauma, and the impact of war on families. Actually, I recommend this book to anyone interested in non-fiction. 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.
— Alex Wilson, Russian Hill Reader
In her first book, former Utne Reader editor in chief Madison comes to terms with her father, a scarred veteran who waited until the day before he died at 78 to tell her he loved her. . . .
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.
— Therese Purcell Nielsen, Library Journal
In the case of Doc and his daughter Madison . . . the struggle depicted in this finely honed memoir exists primarily on the psychological plane. By spinning two parallel narratives in alternating chapters—Doc’s captivity on the one hand, and Madison’s turbulent coming-of-age story on the other—the book slowly draws the outlines of a conundrum: how can Doc have the fortitude and generosity of spirit to keep his fellow POWs alive in the direst circumstances, and yet be mostly incapable of simple acts of kindness toward his own daughter? . . . At its core, Madison’s memoir is animated by the many tensions that exist between keeping silent and speaking out.
— Corby Kelly, bookseller