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Book Review: Finding Uri

Submitted by Joe Beckman

Many years ago my wife Jess and I went to a movie that had the potential to be awesome. Great story, cool effects, cliff hanging ending etc… However as we walked out of the theater I felt disappointed. Something was missing, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what.

Afterward as we sat down for a leisurely at dinner (obviously this was before kids!) she hit the nail on the head. “I just didn’t feel like I cared about any of the characters.” Bingo! That was it. The movie spread the depth of it’s characters way too thin, and by the end I felt like I only knew each one just a little bit about each and every one of them. It was because of this, that I felt little emotion, good or bad, for any of them by the end of the film.

After I put down the first few chapters in the book, Finding Uri: A man’s journey to discover the father her never knew, I couldn’t help but recall that movie experience so long ago. Not because the book was similar to the film, but because it was exactly the opposite.

Sandy Munro, the author, was 3 years old when his father was killed after his plane was shot down in World War II. 65 years later he received a box in the mail containing almost 200 letters that Sandy’s mom (Betsy) and his dad (Uri) wrote back and forth to each other. Touching, intimate, heartwarming, happy, honest letters that expressed the unconditional love that the two had for each other. Through reading these letters, and researching the history of Uri’s Torpedo Squadron 90, Sandy tells a story about a unique man with such depth that I feel as if he is someone I know.

What struck me the most as I read this book, and what makes me passionate about writing this review is how much of an anomaly that Uri seemed to be. As I read the letters that he wrote to his wife I was amazed at how gentle this man was. We talk about past generations of males who were the macho-Marlboro men. Men who didn’t talk about their feelings, not because they didn’t have them necessarily (although it seems some believed that to be true) but rather, they simply didn’t know how.

Uri Munro was different. Take this passage from a letter in which he is telling his wife not only how much he misses her, but his son Sandy as well … “I’ve also been thinking about Sandy, and how hard I am going to try to be a good Daddy for him, and make him my friend and companion, as well as my son, and try to help and understand him…” Honestly even writing that down brings tears to my eyes. And again, this is coming from a man from a generation that supposedly didn’t know what the word “tears” meant. Oh, and did I mention that this letter was on page 13? This book is filled with letters that will touch you heart just like that.

This is book about many things. Connection, war, loss, patriotism, grief, love…but at the end of the day, at least for me, this book is about a wonderful, authentic, brave, proud, sensitive, man, husband and father. Although Uri is no longer here, he will be remembered for a very long time. Thank you Sandy for your courage to unearth these letters and share with the rest of us the amazing man that you call Dad.

For more information about Finding Uri please visit: FindingUri.com

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