This is a true story; a story of survival. It tells of how a boy and his family lived a life of hellish abuse, fought back, and learned to live with the memories. It is also an adventure tale, following the boy through the military buildup to the Viet Nam War, Pacific Island love affairs, and his personal battles in the Montana mountains.
As a boy, Jeff was raised in the mountains of Montana where he idolized his father, a former professional boxer. But in the early 1950s, his idol became an alcoholic and an abuser, repeatedly beating Jeff, his mother, and his younger siblings. In desperation, Jeff resorted to digging hidden bunkers where the family could hide when they were attacked. Life became a daily struggle, both physically and financially.
He left school and worked wherever he could find a job, using the money to help feed his family. He labored in lumber mills, railroads, and ranches until he joined the military at age seventeen.
This story follows the boy from the hell of his childhood through Pacific Island love affairs, killer typhoons, and Hong Kong bar battles as he fights his way to acceptance in the rough and tumble world of a destroyer sailor. In his first Navy assignment, he finds that his poor education has resulted in a job he despises; working as a permanent head cleaner on an old destroyer. But through perseverance, hard work, and an iron will, he becomes a leader, supervising teams working on experimental shipboard missile guidance systems.
But you can’t run from yourself. Jeff’s family problems haunt him, frequently bringing him back to Montana; to increasingly violent confrontations with his father. Tensions build until the inevitable happens and Jeff is drawn into a final, epic, battle with the abuser.
A sobering, visceral, and shockingly real portrait of domestic violence, the boy’s relentless drive for survival is nothing short of extraordinary. An uplifting journey to redemption and self-acceptance, The Long Escape sends an unforgettable message to the abused that there really can be hope and love in their future. It also brilliantly captures the sometimes hollow feeling of victory and the scars of abuse that are carried for a lifetime.
This is a true story. Some names have been changed to accomodate participants, but the story is absolutely true. The author sincerely hopes that, by publishing this memoir, he can provide a bit of a roadmap for others struggling to escape a life of abuse.