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PALM LATITUDES

The Word

February 23, 1992|Barbara De Natale | Edited by Mary McNamara

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf is not the only one who is having his memoirs of the Persian Gulf War published in hardcover. Now, any soldier who returned from the Middle East can document the experience in a book, thanks to the Laguna Niguel-based LifeWorks Press.

Randall Kendis and his wife, Kaoru, both anthropologists and authors, started the company in early 1991 with "Family Matters--The Heritage Book," a memoir of their parents. "We wanted our three sons to know about the lives, experiences and feelings of their grandparents," explains Randall Kendis. "Later, our friends began to want books as well."

As the Desert Storm troops began returning home, the Kendis' developed an information booklet/questionnaire that leads the soldiers through their experiences. It asks specific questions about their feelings and reactions when they learned that they were being sent to the Middle East, their impressions upon arrival, the living conditions, their activities during the air and ground war, their feelings about the cease-fire, the return home and their thoughts now. So far, about 100 soldiers, from all four branches and various ranks, have written their stories. Many, Kendis says, said the process proved to be therapeutic. "By answering the questionnaire with their spouse, they each were better able to appreciate what the other went through during this period," he says.

The answers are edited into a 70-page narrative, then printed and bound together with a Gulf War chronology and a section for letters, mementos and pictures, all for $129.95. "In 10 or 20 years, when their children ask, 'What was it like during the war?' soldiers will have something other than a Desert Storm T-shirt or belt buckle to share with them."

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