Walk to Freedom: The Hand Of Freedom Paperback – 17 Aug 2009
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About the Author
Carolyn Merrimon is from Nashville, TN. She joined the military after graduating high school at the age of 17. She discusses her time she spent in the military as well as her time spent in a Military Confinement Facility with military men and women in the same location.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book starts out from Caroline's humble beginnings in Franklin, TN and gives a vivid description of her upbringing. Focusing a lot on her romantic relationships with men, Caroline expresses how she chose the wrong men and made many poor decisions in the name of love. It was ultimately someone who Caroline loved dearly who would give her up to the authorities.
I was interested in reading this book because it is not often that we admit our mistakes and then make them available to the whole world for criticism. The story was told in an easy conversational way, and I was happy that Caroline decided to start from her childhood and upbringing. Knowing what Caroline experienced as a youth made it easier for me to understand her reasoning behind some of the things she did.
Caroline talks about discovering family secrets, losing a sibling, being used, multiple marriages, her military ranks, and more. Overall, I enjoyed this bold autobiography. It certainly takes bravery to come out and tell a story like this when people can be so unforgiving. I was engrossed in Caroline's "Walk to Freedom" and completed the book on a four hour car ride as I returned from a book festival where I met the author. The only drawback for me was the editing, which needs some work. Other than that, this is a worthy read.
ARC Book, Club, Inc.
Star Rating: 4.0****
The first 58 pages of the book describe her life before the Air Force. She grew up very poor and was raised by her mother. Once in the Air Force, she was able to travel and see much of the world. She received promotions and retrained in to the Accounting and Finance field by her own choice. Unfortunately, rather than appreciating what the military life did for her, Merrimon's true character is revealed and she can be seen as a completely immoral and dishonest person who never deserved the trust given her.
Merrimon changed men as often as she changed shoes and unashamedly describes her affairs with married men while married herself. Right and wrong just did not seem to enter into her thinking.
Merrimon also blames racism for a lot of her problems, but this seems to be just an excuse for her own failures. She applied for a commission to become an officer after completing her bachelor's degree, but her commander refused to recommend her. Merrimon says, "Prejudice and discrimination had once again affected my life." Hundreds of airmen and NCOs apply for commissions each year, but only a very small number are accepted. The Air Force considers the "Whole Person" in making these selections, not just military performance. When Merrimon applied, she already had been married and divorced twice, and had a bankruptcy behind her. The bankruptcy alone would have disqualified her. But, Merrimon blames it on racism.
Concerning her bankruptcy, Merrimon admits to spending freely on all sorts of things, but mainly blames the men in her life for it. She demonstrates no remorse for stiffing all the creditors who lost money because of her irresponsibility. She says of it, "I was no longer responsible for payments to my creditors. My financial situation was looking up; except for the fact that my credit would be bad for 10 years." Clearly, she looked at the bankruptcy as way to avoid responsibility. Her financial situation was "looking up" after it.
Merrimon stole over $500,000 in cash from the U.S. taxpayers while stationed in Italy. She was supposed to send the bills to the Federal Reserve, but she and her security policeman (SP) boyfriend just didn't send it and kept it. Merrimon may claim that she did it to try to buy love from a man, but that is just one big fat phony excuse. She stole the money because she thought she could get away with it and she had absolutely no moral fiber to keep her from doing it. Once again, she blames a man, her SP boyfriend, for her getting caught.
Merrimon was sentenced to 8 years confinement, 5 years plus 3 more because she would not pay the $175,000 fine that court-martial required. Merrimon claimed that she was indigent. She stole $500,000. If she had paid back the $175K, that would have still left her a profit of $325K for her crimes. Merrimon admits to paying her civilian lawyer with cash. Also, somewhere along the line, her penniless mother bought a condo. Her claims of being indigent just don't sound right.
Merrimon displays her own racism when she arrived at prison and states that when she saw that all the guards were black, she knew that everything would be all right. Merimon complains much about the prisons and her treatment. She howls about being confined with male sex offenders, but she did not hesitate to try to hook up with them out of sight of the guards whenever she could.
Carolyn Merrimon seems to have written this book to portray herself as a strong woman who has overcome huge obstacles to make a success of her life. I found it a story of a completely dishonest person who lied, cheated, and stole her way through life and who did not deserve the trust and responsibility given her. She does not even seem to realize that what she did was WRONG. Maybe someday she will learn that, but she certainly hadn't when she wrote this book.
In 1991 while stationed in Italy for a second stint, Carolyn worked on base as a Deputy Accounting and Finance Officer. She found a loop hole in their system and with her then lover took advantage of this to steal half a million dollars in regular intervals. Carolyn spent the money lavishly on herself and the men she so eagerly chased.
Carolyn continually shelled out money to her male companions, paying for love that didn't last. She "trusted" too many, and "settled" for getting married a number of times even when she knew she wasn't in love and "the sex wasn't good".
Eventually her dishonesty caught up with her and she was court-martial and sentenced to eight years confinement in a Military Confinement Facility.
This is Carolyn Merrimon's autobiography and she tells her story very candidly. Carolyn went looking for love the wrong way...and every time she was let down by a man she would just move on to the next, without stopping and taking a good look at herself and learning from the many mistakes she made. Money does not buy love and unfortunately for Ms. Merrimon it took a very long time for her to realize this.
A very interesting story. I would advise Ms Merrimon to invest in the use of a good editor to clean up the grammatical errors before this book is re-printed.
ARC Book Club Inc.