Listen to an Excerpt Here

Radio Interview with Virginia Slachman on
The Woman 1380.

Healing the Effects


Many Brave Hearts is an unblinking, eloquent, deeply felt account of how war can shatter emotional lives and undermine our deepest bonds. Virginia Slachman has documented for us the story, not only of her family and its slow disintegration over the years, but a narrative powerfully representative of a collective American experience. In highly accomplished, skillful prose the book offers readers a fascinating double-narrative that enhances and illuminates both. Father and daughter speak not so much to each other as to their common experience and grief. It is a beautiful and devastating testament and it is redeemed, in the only way possible, with ultimate understanding and love.   - Kurt Brown


Family dramas can play out as "I Remember Mama" or "Long Day's Journey into Night," and sometimes as both. A handsome submariner and his combat nurse wife, in St. Louis with two children, in mid-century America, make a life light and dark, unsentimentally sweet and shockingly severe. As memoir, it's a family album that's a page-turner, a true case of "you can't make this stuff up." It's also a parable about histories, about survivors' expressions of what they lived through. This tale is told in the author's father's voice of his war stories and in the trim prose of a tomboy who will become a poet.

                                        --J.D. Muller



Vicki met Norman in San Francisco at the outset of World War II when she was serving as a nurse at Letterman Hospital. Following their elopement (which the couple kept secret), Vicki went on to earn the rank of Captain in the army, serving in Patton’s Third Army as his nurse anesthetist in the first evacuation hospital just behind the front lines in Germany. Though she could not swim, this 98-pound, 5’2” army nurse went over the side of a cargo ship with full pack, wading to the shores at Normandy on D-Day.


Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Norman enlisted in the Navy just prior to the outbreak of World War II. After graduating from the Naval Academy, he went on to serve as Lt. Commander aboard submarines in the South Pacific, seeing action aboard the USS Gudgeon (SS211) and another S-class boat, the Sturgeon. The memoir contains excerpts from his war experiences, told in his own words, including how he won the Silver Star.


Younger brother of the author, Frank grew up to become an accomplished cardiac surgeon. His early experiences deep-sea fishing with the family resulted in a love of adventure that has taken him to the top of Mouth Everest, as well as the other Seven Summits of the world.  He goes on safari in Africa, hunts bear in Siberia, and deep-sea fishes off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Read more about Frank: Click Here.


Author of this memoir, Virginia has also published three collections of poetry, an award-winning chapbook, and a novel. Former poetry editor of Aspen Anthology and associate director of the Aspen Writers Conference, Slachman’s work has received numerous fellowships and awards. A Pushcart-nominated poet, her work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, both in the U.S. and U.K. She has served as professor of creative writing and literature for over twenty years.

Norman with Virginia at the

St. Louis Zoo, circa 1953

Virginia's mother, Victoria Gerben Slachman

Virginia's father, Norman Slachman