When her husband is offered the assignment of U.S. Naval attaché in London in 1939, Lydia Chapin Kirk packs up her family and embarks on a lifelong journey, one in which she becomes a first hand witness to the extraordinary world events of her time. Writing first from the vantage point of a young girl in Erie, Pennsylvania, Paris, and Washington before World War I, and then with her husband in his posts as U.S. Naval officer and as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Moscow, and Taiwan during the Cold War, Kirk’s historical memoir offers a fascinating portrait of a remarkable life. She shares the unique challenges encountered as a diplomat’s spouse and the complex social responsibilities she navigated with grace, from avoiding dubious food to facing the perils of looming war and enduring lengthy separations from her husband and children.
An accomplished author of four books published in the 1950s and 1970s, Lydia Kirk captures the places and times in which she lived, the youthful adventures and wartime disruptions. With colorful prose and vivid detail, she offers recollections of such prominent people as President Theodore Roosevelt, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko, and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. Kirk has an artist’s eye for her surroundings, revealing candid perceptions of human nature. Here is the story of a woman of consequence living through a transitional time “when wives roles were different than they are now.” Her memoir gives voice to the many strong women of her generation whose untold contributions will inspire readers of all backgrounds.
6 x 9, 292 pages, 28 black and white illustrations