Marian E. Lindberg


Seattle's Elliott Bay Books is a fabulous store--even in February.

Book Revue, Huntington, NY

"A memoir that reads like a mystery" -- Elle review

Families are so mixed nowadays. Indeed, as a rule,
everybody turns out to be somebody else.
                  Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband

When I began investigating my father's story of a family member's murder in the Amazon, I had no idea how applicable Wilde's quip would prove to be.

I didn't set out to find lies within my own family, but that's what happened. My experience as a newspaper reporter and lawyer always suggested another question to ask or new lead to follow--and gradually my attempt to confirm a family legend turned into something else entirely.

I grew up being told that Walter Lindberg, the man who raised my father and gave us our last name, had been killed in the late 1920's while exploring the Amazon, looking for gold and making maps. I fell in love with the story from the moment I first heard it. In my mind, it was as though I had a second home in a tropical rainforest in Brazil, vastly more exciting than my family's real home in a Long Island suburb.

When I began to look for the truth about Walter, I had no idea the search would reveal more about the family members I thought I knew than the supposedly exotic one I'd never met.

But first I had to discover that Walter wasn't the hero my father made him out to be. Long after my father's death, I finally set off for the Amazon. Aided by generous Brazilians who took on my quest as if it were their own, I wound up on former tracts of the Atlantic Forest, one of the most despoiled forests in the world. There I rang a 1930s bell and said across time to my forebear, "I know what you did," a classic avenger's message. Greater understanding of my immediate family's tenuous relationship with the truth followed, and that, almost magically, led to greater empathy and love on my part.

I hope that "The End of the Rainy Season" will give heart to anyone who has ever wondered about a family secret. In my experience, it is worth the effort to find the truth. Better yet, it's worth the effort to communicate openly and honestly within families before emotional pain turns to harmful secrets, which can cascade down the generations and hurt those to come.

Quick CV: After graduating Vassar College, I worked for several years as a reporter for The Buffalo Courier-Express,, a hard-hitting daily paper in a blue-collar city best known for its white winters. That led to law school in New York City, then to Washington, DC to clerk for a federal judge. I practiced law full-time in DC and New York for many years. I still practice part-time, but the writer inside never vanished, nor did the child drawn to nature.

In 2005, I took a job with an international conservation organization, The Nature Conservancy. I have learned that just as secrets within families often emerge later in anger or disguise, so, too, do nature's "truths" resist efforts to bury and silence them. In Brazil, for example, destruction of the Atlantic Forest is a big reason why the major coastal cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are suffering water crises. In the United States, earthquakes in response to the high-pressure injection of fracking fluids are another example of how nature is the most powerful avenger of them all.

I recently completed a new book exposing the framing of an Army commander in 1914 as a sexual "pervert" -- lingo back then for gay. The book is called "Man in Trouble: Sissies, Suffragists, and the Island Setup that Launched a Century of Gay Bias." The title refers not only to the man who was court-martialed, Major Benjmain M. Koehler, but also to the narrow definition of manhood that has prevailed in the United States since the end of the 19th century. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, white men concerned with losing power to women turned against men who acted like women, and gender policing was born. "Man In Trouble" will help readers see where the divisiveness in today's America got much of its start, and I look forward to sharing it with readers. The court-martial took place on a remote New York island called Plum Island, so nature plays a big role in the book, too.

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