Little Avalanches: A Memoir


A daughter’s quest for truth. A soldier’s fight for survival. Their shared search for understanding.

“In a world where few subjects are taboo, the impact of war on veterans and their families, remains largely hidden from public view. Becky Ellis cuts through the darkness with her memoir, Little Avalanches.… This memoir reads like a novel. You won’t be able to put it down.” —Jennifer Lauck, New York Times bestselling author of Blackbird

“There is fear and love here, judgment and acceptance, innocence and wisdom. Little Avalanches is both a delicately wrought and powerfully told tale.” —Lauren Kessler, award-winning author of FREE: Two Years, Six Lives, and the Long Journey Home

“Becky Ellis’ beautiful memoir Little Avalanches is the story of a man on the frontlines of history and the daughter he raised to fight the war he survived but never left. It’s about trauma threading from one generation to the next, and how the stories we never wanted to remember bring us back to ourselves and each other, but most of all create room for the messy, complicated, all-powerful compassion that heals us. From hippies to Nazi collaborators, Ellis carries us through decades and across continents, transforming how we might see everything in between.” —Janine Urbaniak Reid, author of The Opposite of Certainty

“In following Becky from her childhood fighting phantom Nazis, to her adult quest to understand her father’s experience, we are offered a roadmap for the journey from victim to hero, from pain to compassion, and from isolation to connection.” —Karestan C. Koenen, Ph.D., Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health; Director, Biology of Trauma Initiative, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

“Little Avalanches is a lifeline to families struggling to understand why Grunts come home and wound those they love…. I saw both of my daughter’s faces in these pages and am grateful to Ellis for telling the story nobody else would.” —Cpl. Robert Topping, United States Marine Corps, Grunt 1968–1970; 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Fox Company, 1st Platoon

“Women and children have suffered for generations under the control and violence of men, fathers, and husbands. So great is the pain that the response of some daughters is to slam the door shut on their fathers and have nothing more to do with them. In this gripping and unique memoir, Little Avalanches, Becky Ellis does something different – she waits and keeps the door open…. Her resilience and curiosity transform a nightmare.” —John Allan, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Counseling Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

“Ellis’s visceral, clear-headed prose made this book impossible to put down and left me shivering. Readers who have loved someone from the ‘Greatest Generation’ will find resonance in these pages.” —Anna Bliss, author of Bonfire Night