The Tank Man's Son : A Memoir  -     By: Mark Bouman, D.R. Jacobsen
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The Tank Man's Son : A Memoir

Tyndale House / 2015 / Paperback

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From real-life war games and tank races to brutal beatings and psychological torture, Bouman recounts the events of his childhood at the hands of his neo-Nazi father. While painting a chilling portrait of a family life that is both whimsical and horrific, this unforgettable memoir offers an epic tale of redemption and reconciliation. 350 pages, softcover from Tyndale.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 350
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 X 0.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1414390270
ISBN-13: 9781414390277

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Publisher's Description

In the tradition of The Glass Castle and Angela’s Ashes comes the most unforgettable memoir you’ll read this year!
What did it mean to be the Tank Man’s son? To grow up overwhelmed by my father’s presence and personality? It was as if I didn’t exist, as if I was just something else for my father to crush.”

So begins the haunting memoir of Mark Bouman as he recounts the events of his childhood at the hands of his larger-than-life, Neo-Nazi father in brilliant, startling detail. From adventure-filled days complete with real-life war games, artillery fire, and tank races to terror-filled nights marked by vicious tirades, brutal beatings, and psychological torture, Mark paints a chilling portrait of family life that is at once whimsical and horrific—all building to a shocking climax that challenges even the broadest boundaries of love and forgiveness.

An epic tale of redemption and reconciliation, The Tank Man’s Son is a literary tour de force that is sure to become an instant classic.

Editorial Reviews

A memoir as weighty, heartbreaking, and shocking as Pat Conroy’s The Great Santiti. . . Bizarre and unpredictable, Bouman’s memoir transcends the normal tropes of the redemption tale and becomes a testament to the power of human fortitude and forgiveness.
Starred review.
A touching memoir of a truly miserable childhood. That Bouman could write of his life of abuse in Michigan and make it sound like fun is the mark of a man who has completely come to terms with the higher plan for his life. It may have taken him more than two decades to discover it, but when he did, he embraced it and became a man with a mission. His writing is matter-of-fact and in no way an attempt to purge the pain of living with a father who treated him like an imbecile incapable of anything and regularly beat him and his brother. Somehow, the author manages to describe a life that, between beatings, would seem attractive to most boys. When Bouman was young, his father put an airplane engine in a VW to make a carplane, and he opened up a shooting range on their 11-acre land and purchased a massive boat. He also bought a tank, which just about everyone thought was the coolest thing ever. He actually let the boys drive the tank, and it proved useful for putting out fires and demolishing unwanted buildings. Bouman seems to be trying to paint a more pleasant picture of his childhood, but the facts of the beatings and the demolition of any character he might have developed seep through. Later on, substance abuse threatened to end his military career, until someone invited him to church. Who knows why such things appear just as a soul is sinking into the abyss? Religion changed him, and he eventually found his wife and opened an orphanage in Cambodia in the early 1990s, where he finally discovered the profit of his upbringing. This immensely inspiring story shows how Bouman tore success from defeat. Never preachy or self-pitying, just an honest story well written and well told.

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  1. Madison Heights VA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Compelling and gripping
    June 5, 2016
    Rhonda Nash-hall
    Madison Heights VA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Gripping! Fascinating! Horrific! Frightening! Unbelievable! Heart-wrenching! This memoir by Mark Bouman is all of these adjectives and more. I know plenty about abuse....too much, in fact....but his father puts what I know in a new perspective. He was so cruel to Mark and his brother, Jerry, and their mother, and sister, Sheri. He did not beat Sheri as he did their mother and the boys, but he had far too many awful things he forced the three children to do in his wrath. I'm actually surprised that he did not drink alcohol or use drugs. I almost could have excused some of his rage if he had an addiction but he was just filled with rage, cruelty, and anger. I was also surprised that the government did not target him as a potential threat, due to his Neo-Nazi activity and interest, but oddly that never seemed to be a problem. Amazingly, Mark is able to forgive his father and make peace. This memoir will grab you and hold tight to your heartstrings as you ache with these precious young children.

    I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers of Christian non-fiction.

    I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
  2. VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    The Tank Man's Son
    September 15, 2015
    Amy C
    VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Tank Man's Son: A Memoir is one of the hardest books I have read. It tells about the author's abusive and violent father. Being abused by my own father growing up, it is hard to read. Getting over that part of the book, it is interesting at how it all ends and I would recommend it.

    4 stars
  3. Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Living under an angry father
    July 1, 2015
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    If you were raised in a family with an angry father, this book will be very difficult to read. If you and your siblings have shuddered in bed, wondering if tonight was the night he was going to kill your mother, this book may be unbearable.

    Bouman shares the story of being the son of a violent father. He writes about the erratic behavior, the increasing violence, the obsession with things military, the gun range, the war games, the nazi salutes, getting the M19, the beatings, pitting the brothers against each other, the summer on a reclaimed boat, and much more. It was hard to absorb the father screaming about what an idiot his son was. It was almost impossible to read of the fear Bouman experienced when he accidentally fired his shotgun at a boat his dad was restoring. It was excruciating to read about the beatings his mother received. It was haunting to read about Bouman being terrified that he may become like his father. It was so hard to read about all the pain almost overwhelming.

    There are some funny times, like Bouman's dad running the tank right up onto his friend's brand new car and blasting stumps with dynamite only to have a big piece of stump pierce the roof of their home just missing the sofa and the lady falling through the hole in their home's floor. But even those funny parts were sad in a very real way.

    While it may be a hard book to read, as it was for me, it does have a rewarding aspect to it. There is an assurance that God can and will, in the end, take all those experiences and work them for good. There truly is God's grace to make one new.

    I would encourage caution, however, in suggesting this book to others. It is well written and graphically illustrates the experience of a painful childhood. I would recommend this only to those who feel they could read it without revisiting the pain of their own childhood.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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