May 24, 2022

WHAT WE INHERIT: A SECRET WAR AND A FAMILY’S SEARCH FOR ANSWERS by Jessica Pearce Rotondi

Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Print Length: 275 pages

SYNOPSIS

Throughout her life, Jessica Pearce Rotondi’s family told stories about her Uncle Jack who disappeared when his plane was shot down in Laos in 1972. Her grandfather, who had been a POW during World War II, spent his life searching unsuccessfully for information about what happened to his son. When her mother died, Rotondi discovered the extensive declassified files the family had gathered. Determined to learn more, she travelled to Laos to, in her words, “unbury” the dead and uncover what evidence might explain her uncle’s death.

REVIEWS AND AUTHOR INFORMATION

Panozzo, Stephanie, “Review: What We Inherit by Jessica Pearce Rotondi,” The Los Angeles Review, https://losangelesreview.org/review-what-we-inherit-by-jessica-pearce-rotondi/

Schoech, Samantha, “Review: Author’s Hunt for Truth in Family’s Involvement in ‘Secret War.’” Datebook, The San Francisco Chronicle, May 13, 2020. https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/books/review-authors-hunt-for-truth-in-familys-involvement-in-secret-war

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • In what ways does the memory of a deceased family member linger across generations, particularly when the individual’s death can not be fully explained or accepted?

  • What evidence was the Pearce family able to gather regarding how Jack died and how did they recover the evidence that was hidden from them?

  • After Rotondi travels to Laos, what does she discover regarding the legacy that remains from the secret war the C.I.A. orchestrated in Laos during the 1970s?

  • Was Rotondi finally able to reach some type of closure and acceptance regarding her Uncle’s death?

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