My Compass and Anchor to Windward

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My Compass and Anchor to Windward: A Story of Love, Imagination and Adventure is the biography of Admiral Richard E. Byrd written by his granddaughter, Eleanor Byrd. This book is mainly comprised of the letters that Admiral Byrd, or Dick, as he was called by most, and his wife Marie wrote to one another during Dick’s time in the military and on private excursions.

Dick grew up in a family of three brothers. His mother, Bolling, had her hands full and Dick was the most rambunctious out of all three. One day, after being asked to bring home some groceries, all three boys come home filthy. Unbeknownst to the boys. the Byrd family is having special guests. Mrs. Ames and her two daughters, Katherine and Marie have come over to visit. From the moment eight-year-olds Dickie and Marie meet, there is a deep connection. Over the years, the Ames daughters come to visit Winchester from Boston during the summer and Dickie and Marie stay in touch the rest of the year with letters. It is this friendship that grows and grows until one day, Dick cannot hold his feelings in any longer and tells Marie that he loves her.

This book has so many wonderful parts to it. The love between Dick and Marie that grows and never falters is admirable and heartwarming. Never does Marie give up on Dick even though he leaves her and their children many times over the years on his Antarctic expeditions. With Dick’s adventurous, daredevil personality, he always wants to be out accomplishing something and has a brush with death many times, escaping it by the hair of his teeth. But this is what Marie loves about him. As Dick’s mother describes him, “He’s intelligent, ambitious, disciplined, pugnacious, and restless, but it’s all beneath that formidable veneer of charm he has…” Admiral Richard E. Byrd received twenty-two citations and special commendations, nine of which were for bravery and two for extraordinary heroism. He received over one hundred medals, served his country in two wars, and wrote five books on various topics. And as a strong, intelligent woman herself, Marie kept busy, starting her own business and raising the children at the same time, leaving behind her own legacy.

My Compass and Anchor to Windward will have readers cheering and nailbiting from chapter to chapter. Eleanor Byrd has done a beautiful job compiling the letters, timeline of history, and filing in the blanks where need be in the story of Richard and Marie Byrd. I enjoyed the many parts of the book explaining Dick’s travels, serving his country, and the pranks that he would play on his children and then his grandchildren. I also admired Marie so much for being Dick’s compass and anchor and having his back every step of the way. This book shows the importance of togetherness, family, ambition, love, and staying true to one’s self.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format eBook
Page Count 652 pages
Publisher Self-Published
Publish Date 10-Feb-2022
ISBN Buy this Book
Issue April 2022
Category Biographies & Memoirs