All the Memories That Remain

War, Alzheimer's, and the Search for a Way Home

Non-Fiction - Memoir
216 Pages
Reviewed on 08/06/2023
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Author Biography

Eric Michael (E.M.) Liddick is the author of the memoir All the Memories That Remain: War, Alzheimer's, and the Search for a Way Home. His work has appeared in the Military Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, The War Horse, War on the Rocks, The Moving Force Journal, and Thought Catalog. A former Army Ranger with multiple deployments overseas, he currently lives in Northern Virginia.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

All the Memories That Remain: War, Alzheimer’s, and the Search for a Way Home by E. M. Liddick is a wonderfully insightful, carefully considered memoir of one man’s journey through battling a severe separation from self after a particularly grueling and damaging tour of duty as a U. S. Army drone-strike legal advisor in Afghanistan. Simultaneously he is processing his thoughts and feelings surrounding his father’s decline and impending death from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and a struggling marriage. Liddick’s writing style is erudite yet accessible, and his honesty is, in a word, devastating – in all of the best possible ways. The book not only has a tremendous impact purely as a memoir but also serves as a kind of universal guidebook for those willing to undertake the daunting task of self-examination and focused reflection with the ultimate goal of reconciling disparate aspects of their own psyche.

Memoir is a unique genre through which we can recognize common threads of our own lived experience in the lived experience of others, resulting in a kind of emotional and social catharsis that no other kind of writing can deliver quite as effectively. E. M. Liddick is a masterful storyteller with a psychoanalyst’s unflinching eye which he is never afraid to turn upon himself; as a result. All the Memories That Remain is singularly powerful. In the end, the true message of this heartfelt and deeply affecting memoir can be distilled down to one universal truth: those we love and lose, whether to death or to attrition, continue to live on as long as we remember them. E. M. Liddick’s memoir is a beacon of truth and a standard bearer in the quest to fully appreciate the perfect beauty of the imperfect human adventure we know as giving and receiving love.

Pikasho Deka

E.M. Liddick was stationed in Afghanistan as an attorney with the 75th Ranger Regiment until 2018. After graduating from college he initially worked for a law firm. When his father was diagnosed with the early onset of Alzheimer's it created such turmoil in his life that it led him to join the Marine Corps. In All the Memories That Remain: War, Alzheimer's, and the Search for a Way Home, Liddick tells his story. While spending ten years on tours of duty abroad, Liddick had to deal with traumatic events that changed the course of his life. The situations that he was involved in tested his morals and psyche to the extreme. After returning home, he suffered from PTSD and fell out of love with his wife of eleven years. It wasn't until he remembered his father's letters that he was able to see a ray of hope and work toward getting his life back on track.

E.M. Liddick gives an unflinching account of his time in Afghanistan and his subsequent struggles dealing with PTSD and his father's Alzheimer's diagnosis. All the Memories That Remain is a memoir that showcases the unforeseen ramifications of war and how it changes people's lives in the most unexpected of ways. Liddick's relationship with his father makes up a significant portion of the book, which reveals how much the loss of a loved one affects our outlook on life. Another unfortunate casualty of his time abroad was the eventual break-up of his marriage. The narrative evokes feelings of both melancholy and hope and seamlessly encapsulates the bittersweet nature of life. Highly recommended.

Diana Lopez

E.M. Liddick's life changed when he joined a special operations group in Afghanistan as a legal advisor. He wanted to help people, but the experiences he went through were overwhelming. He saw the cruelty and senselessness of war. Since childhood, he had turned to his father, who had always been there for him when he needed advice. Unfortunately, his father had been suffering from younger-onset Alzheimer's for more than ten years. For Liddick, nothing was the same anymore, and he found it necessary to contemplate his past. All the Memories That Remain: War, Alzheimer's, and the Search for a Way Home is the story of their good times and bad times. In this memoir, Liddick shares the human aspects of his personal and family experiences without judgment and with valuable life lessons.

I admire E.M. Liddick's honesty in his storytelling because he explains personal details clearly and directly. His narration is uncomplicated and natural as if you were sitting with someone close to you telling you about their experiences. Some parts are distressing, as when he describes the moment he gave his father a little test to see if he had Alzheimer's. Other situations are more congenial, such as when he tells of a Christmas when the whole family was together and we could share their interaction. The critical moments in his life path show that nothing is stable or secure. Liddick teaches us to be grateful for what we have and to show appreciation for loved ones. All the Memories That Remain is a touching memoir that invites us to reflect on what matters in life.

K.C. Finn

All the Memories That Remain: War, Alzheimer's, and the Search for a Way Home is a work of non-fiction in the memoir, illness, and military writing subgenres. Penned by author E.M. Liddick, this book is best suited to the general adult reading audience. In this deeply reflective work, the author reveals a painfully honest account of returning home from military service carrying a lot of trauma. As his marriage breaks down and his father sinks deeper into early-onset Alzheimer's, the author searches for wisdom and harmony. Coming to him in the form of his father’s old letters, Liddick seeks a way to reunite the broken parts of his past and heal his present self.

Author E.M. Liddick takes readers on a poignant and emotive journey of self-discovery, which in part is a rediscovery of the past, an exploration of the authentic self, and a new forward motion to build up what was broken and set up a better future. The immediate draw for the reader is the writing style, which flows smoothly and confidently from Liddick in a conversational but clear narrative. It feels like an old friend beginning a difficult tale that they’ve wanted to get off their chest for a long while, and slowly the vulnerability and openness of the author expand into a warm, accepting place where heartache can be assuaged, and forgiveness abounds. Overall, All the Memories That Remain will give others hope in forgiving themselves for their own mistakes and developing new skills to cope with loss and change.