1st Edition

My Father's Wars
Migration, Memory, and the Violence of a Century

ISBN 9780415859189
Published August 5, 2013 by Routledge
198 Pages

USD $43.95

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Book Description

* Winner: International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Outstanding Book Award 2016 *

My Father’s Wars is an anthropologist's vivid account of her father's journey across continents, countries, cultures, generations, and wars. It is a daughter's moving portrait of a charming, funny, wounded and difficult man. And it is a scholar's reflection on the dramatic forces of history, the experience of exile and immigration, the legacies of culture, and the enduring power of memory. This book is for Anthropology and Sociology courses in qualitative methods, ethnography, violence, migration, and ethnicity.

Table of Contents

Selected Table of Contents

1. The Shtetl Jedwabne / Sunrise, Sunset 2. Aftermaths / Delicate Memories 3. The Voyage Out / Routes 4. The Shopkeepers / Return 5. Young Man in Havana / The Power of Privilege 6. An American Soldier / The Lost Ones 7. In Love and War / Postwar 8. American Dreams Dreaming in Cuban / Habitus 9. Dictators / The Ends of Empires 10. Cigarettes, Babies, and Change / Possession and Dispossession 11. Things Fall Apart / The Sacred and the Secular 12. te amamos siempre, paisano / The Story of My Story

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Alisse Waterston is Professor, Department of Anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She is Editor, Open Anthropology, and President-elect, American Anthropological Association.
Professor Waterston is author of two ethnographies on urban poverty in the US (Love, Sorrow and Rage: Destitute Women in a Manhattan Residence, and Street Addicts in the Political Economy), and of the edited volumes An Anthropology of War: Views from the Frontline and Anthropology off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing (co-edited with Maria D. Vesperi). Alisse Waterston is a Soros International Scholar affiliated with Tbilisi State University in Gender Studies, and serves on the Executive Board, American Anthropological Association.

Featured Author Profiles

Author - Alisse  Waterston

Alisse Waterston

Professor, City University of New York, John Jay College
New York, New York, USA

Learn more about Alisse Waterston »


"If you are interested in ethnographic studies, social theory, history, Judaic studies, anthropology, or if you are looking for an extremely readable book that might help you understand how the experience of violence shapes lives, this is the book I would hand you." – Brenda Murphy

"This beautifully written book is more than the story of Waterston's family. Like the best writers of memoir, Waterston skillfully situates her family's story into the cross currents of 20th-century history… Like all good stories, the ones in My Father's Wars will be read, analyzed, and debated for many years to come—the mark of a classic work." – American Ethnologist

"It is not often that an anthropologist provides the general reading public with a work as accessible as My Father’s Wars. Vital and refreshing, Waterston’s well written ‘intimate ethnography’ transcends traditional boundaries with an innovative approach to the sweeping tides of a century—reflected in a deeply personal story."— Albert Sgambati, Dialectical Anthropology

"In eschewing excessive theorizing, Waterston has created a highly accessible text that will resonate far beyond anthropology." – Pamela Ballinger, University of Michigan

"...it is a creative and original piece of work that demonstrates par excellence one of the primary values of anthropology: that is, our belief that recording and analyzing the activities of daily life, whether they be quotidian or extraordinary, are key to understanding the larger historical, political, and social structures that shape our everyday experiences, at the level of both communities and individuals." – Susan B. Hyatt, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

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