In 1945, an American G.I. mailed home a Japanese flag. Fifty years later, his daughter unfolded the past. Growing up, Louise Steinman knew little about her father's experiences in World War II. All she knew was that the whistling teakettle was banned from the kitchen and that she was never to cry in front of him. Years later, after her parents' death, she found an old ammunition box, filled with nearly five hundred letters her father had written to her mother during the War. She also found a silk Japanese flag inscribed to Yoshio Shimizu. Who was Yoshio Shimizu and why did her father have his flag? So began Steinman's quest to return this "souvenir" to its owner, and in the process, to learn more about the war that transformed the expressive young man in those letters into the reserved father she had known.
Weaving together her father's raw, poignant letters with her own journey, Steinman presents a powerful view of how war changed one generation and shaped another.
About the Author
Louise Steinman's essays and articles have been published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and Salon.com, among others. Her work on The Souvenir won her a Brody Fellowship from the California Community Foundation. She is the Senior Creative Advisor of the Los Angeles Public Library, where she has curated their literary series for the past eight years and is also a consultant and Senior Creative Advisor for the Sundance Institute's Arts Writing Program.