A New York Times bestselling author traces her father's life from Warsaw to New York City in the early twentieth century in an intimate memoir about family, memory, and the stories we tell. Long before she was the acclaimed author of a groundbreaking book about women and men, and praised by Oliver Sacks as having "a novelist's ear for the way people speak," Deborah Tannen was a little girl who adored her father. Though he was often absent during her childhood, Deborah was profoundly influenced by his love of language and gift for writing and storytelling. As she grew up and he grew old, she spent untold hours with her father, recording their conversations and taking notes. He handed her a journal he kept when he was young-and showed her another he said she could have after his death, all for the account of his life she promised him she'd write. In this memoir, Deborah fulfills her promise to her father, embarking on the poignant, yet perilous, quest to piece together the puzzle of her father's life. Beginning with his astonishingly vivid memories of the Hasidic community in Warsaw that he was born into in 1908, she traces his journey: arriving in New York City in 1920, he quit high school at fourteen to become sole support of his mother and sister, yet attended law school at night and eventually established the largest workmen's compensation practice in New York. In the intervening years, he became active in the Communist Party, then New York's Liberal Party, running for Congress on its ticket. As Deborah comes to better understand her father's-and her own-relationship to Judaism, she also uncovers aspects of her father's life she would never have imagined. When she discovers letters from another woman he might have married, she is forced to rethink her assumptions about her parents' marriage. Writing My Father is a memoir of Eli Tannen's life and the ways it reflects the near century that he lived. But even more than that, it's about a daughter's struggle to see her father clearly, to know him more deeply, and to tell a more truthful story about her family and herself.