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Falling Through The Earth

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  752 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
From her father, Danielle Trussoni learned the importance of rock and roll, how to avoid the cops and never to shy away from a fight. Growing up, she was fascinated by the stories he told of his adventures as a tunnel rat in Vietnam, where he risked his life crawling head-first into holes to search for American POW's held underground. Ultimately, Danielle came to realize t ...more
Published by Picador USA (first published 2006)
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Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a personal one for me. My dad was in the Army and fought in Vietnam. Met my mom there and brought us back to the States in 1972. No one knew about ptsd back when I was growing up. My dad too had some erratic behavior and we just figured it was the war. Great story!
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first impression was how this story chronicled a dozen coincidences with my own life. After reflection, I realized her incredible insight actually captured how so many youth of the next generation are impacted by after-effects of war.

In 1968, a future father serves as a tunnel rat in Viet Nam. After he has several children, from multiple mothers, he passes remnants of war along to them all. He's a hard drinker, hard worker, and has a hard time showing love. Put in an often bleak Wisconsin la
Jun 14, 2007 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition


A Memoir.
By Danielle Trussoni. Henry Holt & Company, $23.
This intense, at times searing memoir revisits the author's rough-and-tumble Wisconsin girlhood, spent on the wrong side of the tracks in the company of her father, a Vietnam vet who began his tour as "a cocksure country boy" but returned "wild and haunted," unfit for family life and driven to extremes of philandering, alcoholism and violence. Trussoni mixes these m
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this memoir. I have great interest in stories of Viet Nam and the soldiers that survived. She told an interesting story of her life with a father who was traumatized by that war.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The New York Times named this book one of its' Top Ten Books of 2006. Falling Through the Earth is the winner of the Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award for 2005–06. The story is told by the daughter of a Vietnam War veteran and is about his experiences in Vietnam as a "tunnel rat" and how those experiences impacted him and her relationship with her dad. Heartwarming, heartwrenching, and eyeopening. An excellent read for those who really want to understand the impact of the Vietnam War ...more
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vietnam war vets, daughters that have strained relationships with their fathers
Set in Wisconsin (which I always love!) Trussoni recounts her difficult relationship with her Vietnam War veteran father. The book weaves together an account of Trussoni's own pilgrimage to Vietnam to understand what happened to her father, as well as narratives from her own childhood. Wonderfully written!
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good memoir, honest and painful and illuminating of how the scars of war, including PTSD and substance abuse, filter through to families and touch many more people than just those sent off to fight for their countries. Children of divorce will identify with this, as will daughters whose rebellion was partly inspired by trying to be like, or to get attention from, a distant father. It's a shame that Trussoni only seems to realize her unfairness to her mother toward the end of the book, but ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting personal narrative about a dysfunctional family as told by the daughter. Father was in Vietnam war and she returns to deal with the family demons. Much takes place in La Crosse, WI. Not at all a whiny self-discovery story, but some parts felt a little disjointed.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I may be biased because it's set in Wisconsin. Also going with the theme of books I've been reading recently about not-so -present dads, that I have a personal interest in.
May 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Virtually anyone alive during the Vietnam War will acknowledge its impact on American politics and society and, if honest, themselves. Yet as Danielle Trussoni's memoir, Falling Through the Earth , demonstrates, there are persons not alive then for whom the war became an intimate part of their lives.[return][return]Trussoni's father, Dan, was a "tunnel rat" in Vietnam. He was among those "two parts stubborn, one part insane" men who ventured into and searched the mazes of tunnels the Viet Cong ...more
Tristan Goding
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a really beautifully written memoir, I felt, and I think a lot of people can identify with it. At the very least, it helped me understand a little better why a lot of people out in this world are so hardened by life's shortcomings in ways that make them come across as cold. This writer said things in this book that she likely could only ever say in writing. Throughout this book, there are some painful truths and some vivid tales that captivated and triggered me more than many memoirs do ...more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first heard about this book on The Nervous Breakdown when Trussoni posted an excerpt from her book, a memoir. The excerpt was about doing acid and was really funny to me despite having never done it myself. After reading this one passage from her I wanted to see what other mischief she’d gotten into so I went out and got the book, only to find out that it really isn’t about a rebellious teenage existence. It was even better.

The memoir is about growing up in a home tainted by the Vietnam War, w
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir was stupendous! The writing and content were excellent even though it was emotionally draining to read at times. From the get go we know that the author, Danielle, namesake of her father, Daniel, absolutely adores him. {This was reminiscent of Jeannette Walls' relationship with her father in the memoir, 'The Glass Castle'. In fact, Jeannette is quoted recommending this book on the back cover.} During the book we discover that Daniel's time in Vietnam haunts his every action and react ...more
Dec 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a memoir about the author's relationship with her father, a Vietnam vet, who she adored. This is her attempt to come to terms with the impact that the war had on her father, her family and herself. This is a heartbreaking look at a disfunctional family, in fact at one point the sister complains that they are a "Jerry Springer episode".

The father was told to forget about the war and get on with his life so instead of dealing with the damage it caused he shut down and isolated himself from
Jul 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksread
The narrator's father was a Vietnam veteran. In her autobiographical debut, Ms. Trussoni shares her family's story of children brought up by a man who lived through the horror of war. Her father had been a "tunnel rat" during Vietnam, he explored the extensive tunnels which the Vietnamese had used as living quarters as well as convoys of people, weapons, food and medicine. Few men were willing to enter these tunnels, as the risks included mines and/or ambushes by live soldiers. The narrators fas ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Falling Through the Earth is a memoir by Danielle Trussoni about her childhood and her relationship with her father. It's the first memoir I've read, which is rather surprising considering I am a fan of biographies.

Ms. Trussoni hails from La Crosse, WI and tells of her childhood growing up as a child of divorce, living with her dad, a Vietnam war vet, and the scars from that war. It's a poignant tale of how some war wounds never heal and how war not only affects those who serve but their familie
Jul 09, 2006 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vietnam
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like biographies, people with veterans in their families
Recommended to Ross by: Amazon "Recommended for You"
Shelves: biography
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago when the hardbound edition first appeared; her editor is a friend of mine, and the book earned glowing reviews. All well-deserved, in this haunting memoir from a young woman whose Vietnam-veteran father took her in after her parents' divorce.

Much of her story revolves around making the best of her messy home life - the father's desire to hang out in bars, either with her in tow or leaving her home alone. She meets the wrong friends, makes the wrong decisions, follows the wr
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
No one in my book group liked this book, even though it was interesting to learn a bit "first hand" about the "tunnel rats" who dangerously tried to expose and destroy tunnels the Viet Cong used in the Vietnam war. The author, although trying to grapple with the destructive impact Vietnam had on her father and goes there in search of understanding, is not very reflective and a mediocre writer. She does a good job of conveying small town life of the struggling, underclass and we understand why he ...more
This book was very intense! It is the story of a woman who while growing up, was fascinated by stories her father told of being a tunnel rat in Vietnam who risked his life looking for American POWs. It is a father-daughter story that looks at the scars that solders brought back that have never completely healed.

My own father served 2 tours in Vietnam and never spoke of his time in the army until recently. Now he is talking about it, reading books and slowly beginning to reveal what he went thro
Jessica McCann
May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author shares not only her own life's story in this powerful memoir. She shares her father's story, as well, and how his past had a lasting effect on his life and everyone in it. Trussoni's father was a "tunnel rat" during the Vietnam war. The pain and trauma of that experience never left him, and in his own way he inflicted much of the same on his wife and daughters. Trussoni writes with beauty, humor and not one ounce of self-pity about her dysfunctional family and their quest to find peac ...more
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just reread this book, having read it when it first came out. I am even more impressed than ever. I found myself on the edge with her descriptions of her father going into the tunnels. Her writing does put you into her life at various stages trying to make sense of her father, his relationships and the Vietnam War. The legacy of war endures and should be a constant reminder to go carefully into it. I try to read everything I can on the Vietnam War and believe this to be one of the best. It is ...more
Ann Kuhn
Because this book is about Ms. Trussoni's relationship with her father growing up, it's hard not to think of J.Walls's Glass Castle memoir when reading it; and, it's with shame that I found myself thinking, "Well, her life wasn't NEARLY so bad as Ms. Walls's life..." which is ridiculous oneupmanship but maybe makes for good memoir reading? This book sets itself apart by focusing on the causes of her father's craziness--being a tunnel rat in Vietnam in 1968. I knew nothing about this whole aspect ...more
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a good job of writing about her personal traumas of childhood and adolescence without overtly seeking pity like some memoir-writers do. While she did not have a perfect childhood and struggled greatly with her relationships with her mother and father, I don't think her experience was that much different than really the majority of people. Her description of her father's experience in the tunnels during the Vietnam war was very interesting for me, as I was completely unaware of th ...more
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: memoir
Falling Through the Earth is a memoir so skillfully wrought you can't help but becoming enraptured in her story. She writes about her father who served in Vietnam and came home with more than a few emotional scars. She deftly handles two stories (one of the young Danielle and then the older Danielle who visits Vietnam) and gradually merges them together to create a cathartic release by the end.

Wow. Her language is gorgeous. Her craft is beyond admirable. And at the heart of it all, it's thematic
Apr 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book covers familiar themes - a girl's coming of age, a troubled family, a flawed father, the ravages of war on young men and their families - but does so in a fresh and moving fashion. Told from the point-of-view of the daughter of a rough, damaged Vietnam vet, it is really a story about family, human frailty and failings, regret and some, small degree of redemption. I kept thinking about fissures and lost lives in my own extended family, and helped me have a bit more compassion for flawed ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-read
It jumped around a lot. it took me a few days worth of reading to get used to, and I still wasn't always sure on time periods in some of the chapters and sections. However, as I got closer to the end, I realized how incredible a lot of the stories are. I think it is a must read for any scholars or people living hard lives or with veterans. And it can be eye-opening for the people that are completely against any and all drugs, people like myself, that don't understand why some people start making ...more
Linda Dittes
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much liked this book. It was the story of a young girl's crappy life in a dysfunctional family that I believe is not necessarily an uncommon one. Her dad was a Vietnam Vet who never came to terms with what he went through and perhaps because of that lost his wife and family. The mother escaped the marriage at the cost of a huge emotional upheaval on her children. This was not necessarily superb writing but her story is an incredible one and was so worth the read.
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Danielle Trussoni is a bestselling memoirist and novelist, with books translated into over thirty languages.

Her new book, forthcoming in September 2016, is THE FORTRESS, a memoir about the disintegration of her marriage in the South of France.

Trussoni wrote the award-winning memoir FALLING THROUGH THE EARTH (2006) about her relationship with her father. It was chosen as one of the Best Ten Books o
More about Danielle Trussoni...

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