About the Book

WHAT I NEVER TOLD YOU:
A Daughter Traces the Wartime Imprisonment of her Father

John Kyler learned at 20 years of age what it felt like to assume the role of a ball turret gunner on a B-17 in WWII, as well as the feeling of terror when shot down and taken Prisoner of War by the German Army.  Over a brief but deadly fifteen months he was then to face extreme fear, pain, starvation, cold, loneliness, sadness, and despair — an existence that was to define him for his post-war roles of son, brother, uncle, husband, father, grandfather, friend and worker.  He left Salamanca, New York, a boy and returned a man having lived and witnessed many life-changing events that he did not choose to put into words. He was held in three different camps: Stalag Luft VI, (Heydekrug, East Prussia); Stalag Luft IV (Gross Tychow, Pomerania); and Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany.  His experience remained untold throughout his life, and his death at age 81 might have left his story unknown, but for the decision by his daughter and wife to uncover the truth. Together they retraced his steps, paralleling his route and resurrecting his deeply buried memories.  After six years their very “sentimental journey” became a mission completed, enabling the spirit of John Kyler to enjoy peace, having at last told his story with the confidence that the memory of what he and many others did will live on.

In her book, What I Never Told You, Brown has shared not only her father’s story, but also the countless other stories untold by soldiers who are unwilling or unable to speak of their traumatic experiences. An engrossing read, What I Never Told You tells the war stories that go missing from history books. These are personal odes, each page alive with curiosity, fear, panic, frustration and an unbreakable optimism.

The story has been told by John Kyler the only way he was able tell it – after his death and through the strong connection between a father and daughter – without a spoken word. It’s a read not to be missed.