The Magical Stranger is a moving story of love and sacrifice, fathers and sons, heroism and duty, soldiers and the families they leave behind.
On November 28, 1979, squadron commander and Navy pilot Peter Rodrick died when his plane crashed in the Indian Ocean, leaving behind a devastated wife, two daughters, and a 13-year-old son.
In this powerful, beautifully written book, journalist Stephen Rodrick explores the life and death of the man who indelibly shaped his life, even as he remained a mystery. Through adolescence and into adulthood, Stephen Rodrick struggled to fully grasp the reality of his father’s death and its permanence.
To better understand his father, Rodrick turned to members of his father’s former squadron, the "World-Famous Black Ravens." As he learns about his father, he uncovers the layers of these sailors’ lives: their loves, friendships, dreams, disappointments—and the consequences of their choices on those they leave behind. The journey doesn’t end until November 28, 2013, when Rodrick’s first son is born 34 years to the day after his father’s mishap.
A penetrating, thoughtful blend of memoir and reportage, The Magical Stranger is a moving reflection on the meaning of military service and the power of a father’s legacy.