Shattered by the Wars by Hi-Dong Chai

 Image        I hate war. War kills. War maims. War orphans. And it leaves a deep scar not only on the land, that will take years to heal, but also in the hearts of those who are affected by the war. I am one of those who carry a deep emotional wound to this day—more  than sixty years later.

During WWII under Japan, my father was imprisoned because he was a Christian minister who refused to bow down to the picture of the Japanese emperor. My elder brother volunteered to join the Japanese military to have his father released. After the war he returned home and died from his injury.

During the Korean War in 1950, my father was taken away by the communists because he was a Christian minister.  He never returned. My other brother who had turned communist disappeared. He also never returned.  My mother and I fled Seoul for Cheiju Island.  On the island, without Father, we struggled to survive for the two long years. Then in 1953 during the war, Mother put me—her youngest 16 year old son—on  a boat heading for America so that I would be safe and get a good education.

Shattered by the warsis a story of love, sacrifice, faith, and suffering – all wrapped in one package. The heroine in the story is my mother as seen by her youngest son.  Mother prayed without ceasing. Through her unceasing prayers, she was able to walk


From Betsy Shoup, Los Gatos, CA

This is a compelling story of a young boy coming of age during a very troubled time in Korea. It is the story of a family of faith, courage, and determination. The overriding theme is of a mother’s love for her husband and children, and her unswerving faith in God’s goodness. The events are told from the point of view of Hi-Dong. the youngest child in a family of ten. The struggles of keeping the family intact and facing the hazards and despair of a country at work with itself are faced with strength and a steadfast devotion to God. A good read and certain to be on the Best Seller’s List soon!                                                       

From Lisa Conner, manuscript review team, Outskirts Press –A paragraph from her email

I want to give you my overall impression of your work: What a fantastic memoir you have penned here. You have done a great job capturing your memories and committing them to paper. I must say that I am a firm believer in learning from other people’s life experiences. The way you share your stories and wisdoms and present your ideas and findings is great! You have such a nice style of writing. Your words come across with a certain experience that I cannot put into words. I can tell that you have done a significant amount planning and preparation in crafting your work. You have really considered your audience in your writing by adding details and adding a voice that is simply wonderful – very familiar and easy to follow. Your book is well written. I wish more people would take the time to write their stories down like you have. Reading a biography broadens our vision, and we learn to put ourselves in the shores of other people even if they don’t expect us to. We develop empathy and humility through reading other people’s life stories. With that being said, I am sure your work will be embraced by many. You have a wonderful story to share. We can learn so much from reading the stories of other’s lives and experiences. Bravo on a piece well crafted!

Link to the book:

Author biography:

A native of Seoul, Korea, Hi-Dong Chai was educated in the United States.  He received a Ph.D. in engineering.  After working for IBM for 19 years and subsequently teaching at San Jose State University for 15 years, he retired in 2002.

After retiring, as one who lost his loved ones through WWII under Japan and through the Korean War, he decided to share his life experiences through writing.  My Truest Hope was published in Guideposts magazine in 2012.  He e-published Blossoms and Bayonets, a fictionalized version of his family under Japan co-authored with Jana McBurney-Lin, in 2012, and  also Cindy and a Korean Boy and Shattered by the Wars in 2013.

His next project is to complete his American story: A 16 year old Korean boy comes to America in 1953. He struggles to support himself overcoming hunger and loneliness.  His persists and receives a Ph.D. and establishes himself as an authority in his field.  The message of the story is that in America if you are willing to give all you have, you can attain your dream.

More of his work can be found on his website,


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