A member of the so-called Silent Generation, Michael Hadley has a great deal to say in his twilight years. Opening with his Depression-era childhood on a lonely lighthouse on the west coast of Vancouver Island, this remarkably nuanced memoir spans decades, countries, and oceans.
Hadley’s reflections move through his years growing up in wartime Vancouver in the 1940s, his concert tours on the British vaudeville stage in the 1950s, and his early teaching career in Manitoba in the 1960s. He shares his naval service on both coasts and on the Great Lakes, and his professional experience in Germany, where unexpected friendships with former submariners trigger an interest in how countries deal with difficult wartime pasts. Human conflict, ethics, and multi-faith engagement in criminal justice reform and Restorative Justice shape Hadley’s understandings of reconciliation, taking him on prison visits across Canada, the UK, and Uganda.
Whether examining ancient historical sites and battlegrounds, navigating at sea, or riding camels in the desert, he seeks universal patterns of human experience. At once a deeply personal chronicle of a fascinating life and a measured, mature reflection on some of the most cataclysmic events of the past century, Boxing the Compass is an unforgettable journey that will leave readers reflecting on the experiences that affect us all.