Franks, Lucinda 1946–

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Franks, Lucinda 1946–

(Lucinda Laura Franks)


Born July 16, 1946, in Chicago, IL; daughter of Thomas E. and Lorraine (a community worker) Franks; married Robert M. Morgenthau, November, 1977; children: Joshua Franks, Amy Elinor. Education: Vassar College, B.A., 1968. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, walking, tennis, travel.


Home—New York, NY. Agent—Karen Hitzig, William Morris Agency, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. E-mail—[email protected]


Journalist and writer. United Press International, journalist in London, England, 1968-73, and New York, NY, 1973-74; New York Times, New York, NY, staff writer, beginning 1974; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, visiting professor, 1977-82; Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Ferris Professor of Journalism, 1983. Board member, Third Avenue Value Fund.


American PEN Club (membership board), Author's League, Council on Foreign Relations, Writers Room Inc. (past president).


Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, Society of Silurians prize, New York Newspaper Writers award, and National Headliners Award, all 1971, all for UPI series on the life of Diana Oughton (member of the Weathermen); National Headliners Award, Society of Silurians journalism award, 1976; EDI award for print journalism, Easter Seals, 1999.


Waiting Out a War: The Exile of Private John Picciano, Coward (New, York, NY), 1974.

Wild Apples, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.

My Father's Secret War (memoir), Hyperion/Miramax Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor as a freelancer to periodicals, including Ms., Atlantic, New Yorker, Nation, New York Times Book Review, and Talk.


In her first book, Waiting Out a War: The Exile of Private John Picciano, Lucinda Franks tells the story of a Vietnam army deserter. Her 1991 novel, Wild Apples, features two sisters who return home after their mother dies and then try to save the family's historic apple orchard. In 2007, her memoir, My Father's Secret War, was published. David Pitt, writing in Booklist, noted that My Father's Secret War "is beautifully written, packed with raw emotion, deep affection, and newfound, unexpected respect for" the author's father. The memoir focuses on the author's difficult relationship with her father and the revelation very late in his life that he was actually a heroic spy during World War II who often risked his life behind enemy lines. The memoir follows the relationship between father and daughter from the good times when she was a child to his growing distance from Franks as he grew older and depressed, ultimately leading to an estrangement between the two. When they do reconnect, Franks begins to probe into her father's life, particularly his role in World War II and the effect of his being among the first to witness the cruelties of the Nazi concentration camps in Germany. Several reviewers noted their discomfort with the author's use of trickery and other tactics to get information out of her father, who was slowly succumbing to dementia. Nevertheless, many praised the author's efforts. "Throughout, Franks does not pull her punches," wrote Stephen Hubbard on the Web site. "The memoir is packed with honesty, from the deep-rooted spite and contempt to the ultimate understanding and love, and a return of the hero she had long lost." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author "earnestly and perceptively confronts real emotional situations."

Franks writes: "I've dodged bullets in Belfast, written about beauty contestants who parade their bodies, lived among deserters in Sweden to write their story, and heard the cries of the Israeli athletes being held hostage at the Munich Olympics. I've seen a lot for my age, but I still feel the way I felt when I was twenty-one and had seen nothing but the inside of a Boston suburb. I am fascinated now, as I was then, about what goes on in the deepest recesses of people's minds—not what happens to them, but how they feel about it."



Franks, Lucinda, My Father's Secret War, Hyperion/Miramax Books (New York, NY), 2007.


Booklist, March 1, 2007, David Pitt, review of My Father's Secret War, p. 57.

Boston Globe, March 20, 2007, Michael Kenney, review of My Father's Secret War.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of My Father's Secret War, p. 60.

Library Journal, June 1, 1991, Beth Ann Mills, review of Wild Apples, p. 188; February 15, 2007, Ingrid Levin, review of My Father's Secret War, p. 127.

New York Times Book Review, September 15, 1991, Joseph Olshan, review of Wild Apples, p. 12; May 11, 2007, Dorothy Gallagher, review of My Father's Secret War.

Publishers Weekly, June 28, 1991, review of Wild Apples, p. 87; November 8, 1993, review of Wild Apples, p. 73; February 19, 2007, review of My Father's Secret War, p. 163.

ONLINE, (April 21, 2007), review of My Father's Secret War., (September 16, 2007), biography of author.

Bookslut, (September 16, 2007), Aysha Somasundaram, review of My Father's Secret War.

Lucinda Franks Home Page, (September 16, 2007)., (September 16, 2007), Stephen Hubbard, review of My Father's Secret War.