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Karen Spears Zacharias
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It's the 1960s and nine-year-old Karen Spears is living in a trailer in middle Georgia. Her father, David Spears, was killed in the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam, and left behind three young children and a wife with a ninth-grade education. Hero Mama is the gritty, searing, and beautifully written story of what happened to this Southern family in the aftermath of a soldier's death.
At first the widow Spears appeared to fall apart -- turning herself into a beer-guzzling, good-time girl, while her children responded in kind. Eventually she recognized how much her children needed her and, with mule-headed tenacity, she earned her nursing degree and bought the family a real home fashioned from bricks, rising above her own flaws to forge a better life for her kids. Now Karen Spears Zacharias pays tribute to this woman of guts and determination -- her Hero Mama -- who battled overwhelming adversity to pull her family up and make them proud of her, and of themselves.
Hero Mama is also the story of the South, where ayoung girl grew up against an emotionally charged landscape of racism and bigotry, where the daughter of a fallen soldier had to face the stigma of a war nobody wanted, and where a family in crisis pulled together to achieve its own version of the American dream. It is a triumphant tale of reconciliation between a daughter and her father, a daughter and her nation, and a daughter and the people of Vietnam. It is a story for any daughter who has loved her father -- and for any daughter who has had to discover how deeply her mother really loves her.
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