Thursday, July 31, 2008

In Time of War by Bill Murphy, Jr.

Around Town:
She still smiles at his memory

By Anita Susan Brenner
Todd Bryant arrived at Palm Crest Elementary School in the late 1980s. He came equipped with one golf club, with which he convinced his friends, boys who did not own their own set, to join him in the game of golf. The course, of course, was Verdugo Hills. A foursome of 10-year-old kids shared that one golf club, I think it was a putter, to compete and complete the nine-hole course.

There’s new book about Todd Bryant. Or mostly about Todd.

The book is “In a Time of War” by Bill Murphy, Jr. It will be published in September, just in time for new school year.

Murphy, a lawyer and a former Army Reserve officer, has written the history of the West Point Class of 2002. Murphy reported from Iraq for The Washington Post in 2007. Over half of the book concerns Todd Bryant, a 1998 graduate of La Cañada High.

“He was laid back and blond, a surfer dude in manner if not in literal truth, a California kid who believed a double-double burger from In-N-Out was nature’s perfect food he was known in high school for decent golf, mediocre football, better grades, and outrageous pranks ”

Murphy recounts some of Todd’s pranks, including the locally most infamous, before turning to serious matters of loyalty, patriotism and the effect of Todd’s death on those who loved him. On Todd’s West Point memorial Web page, his West Point roommate, Tim Mosier, wrote:

Todd had a mischievous streak a mile wide while he was my roommate, I think I may have laughed more than at any other time in my life I couldn’t help but laugh. He was a true and loyal friend, a loving husband, and a devoted patriot. The world seems a little less funny without him in it.

A year later, Tim Mosier, a helicopter pilot, would be dead.

As of today, 13 members of the Class of 2002 have been killed in the war. There are many funerals in Murphy’s book. After the first chapter, which describes a prank that still causes the school superintendent to shudder, the book gets serious. Murphy gives us an honest record of Todd’s life and death. This book should be required reading at LCHS, Prep and the other schools.

I still smile when I think about Todd.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a local resident. “In a Time of War” by Bill Murphy will be released in September 2008 by Holt & Co. Brenner invites you to read more about Murphy and his book at

Around Town: La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California: "Around Town:She still smiles at his memory Published July 31, 2008

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