This October, bestselling author Pat Conroy will finally publish his memoir The Death of Santini, about his Marine Colonel father, Donald. According to publisher Doubleday, the book—first announced in 2009—will show how love can “conquer even the meanest of men.” In his 1976 debut novel The Great Santini, Conroy told the story of a physically and emotionally abusive officer closely based on his father. After reading it, Donald strove to prove that he was nothing like his fictional counterpart. By the time of his death in 1998, he had won his son’s good graces.
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This article originally appeared on Zola Books.