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Surviving Chaos: How I Found Peace at A Beach Bar

Readers Favorite Silver Award -2021 NON-FICTION - MEMOIR

Surviving Chaos: How I Found Peace at A Beach Bar

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About The Book

For more than fifty years, Harold Phifer’s childhood living conditions remained a secret, even from those who thought they knew him best. No one knew about his past growing up with a mother who suffered from mental illness; a greedy, controlling aunt; a mindless and spoiled older brother; an absent father. It wasn’t until an explosion in Afghanistan that his memory was blasted back into focus. This book is the result of a long, cathartic chat with a stranger at a beach bar, where Harold finally found some peace.

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Surviving Chaos: How I Found Peace at A Beach Bar by Harold Phifer

About The Author

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Harold Phifer

Harold Phifer was born and raised in Columbus, Mississippi. His first twenty-five years were spent entirely in his home state. After graduating Mississippi State and Jackson State Universities, he became a highly specialized air traffic controller, living and working as an international contractor, serving numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Harold is the author of his memoir, Sleepwalking Out of Afghanistan, Walking It All Back and the follow-up, an expanded autobiography, Surviving Chaos: How I Found Peace at A Beach Bar.



“His tales are entertaining, sprinkled with humor, drama and sadness. Readers will discover an intriguing life, one of turmoil and finally, thanks to a stranger on a beach, inner peace.”


“This is one of those success stories that people can universally read and find something that inspires them. In SURVIVING CHAOS: How I Found Peace at a Beach Bar we are able to see some of the events that shaped the life and path of Harold Phifer. Whether it was the challenges of his youth and the relationship with his mother or the doubt that he had to deal with from others. When he saw an escape hatch to something different he took it, even though at times it also included its own struggles. Through it all we are able to see how Harold grew and learned, and as the events continue to unfold we see him rise and thrive. For those looking for the encouragement to push past the things that are meant to destroy them, Harold shows you can be refined by them instead, becoming a person you can be proud of.”


“Phifer's anecdotes are disturbing, often painful, and compelling...the peace-seeking memoir revels in the cathartic power of storytelling after a lifetime of challenging circumstances.”


“Great Read! – This book is a great read. The reader will experience an array of emotions as it covers numerous subject matters like absent father, mental health, bullying, and personal successes. The author’s unique writing style makes it easy for the reader to visualize the story that is being told.”


“Once again Harold did a great job in telling his story with some humor and seriousness of what he endured while been raised by a mother who had mental problems. While reading the book I was captivated with his story.”


“Inspirational and Intense – Oh boy, where to start with this one? Well, Surviving Chaos: How I Found Peace at A Beach Bar by Harold Phifer was a really intense read for me, Harold Phifer, the author, begins this book telling his childhood, and how even at a time when his family was completely dysfunctional, he managed to survive that part of his life, experience new chapters and travel, and well to be honest he survived only to land in a more intense adulthood. His time in Afghanistan forever changed him, he was in a massive explosion while working. Overall, the book is truly a rollercoaster of emotions, memoirs of a survivor, a brave one who bares his soul and his past to share with the rest of us. I totally recommend this book, is fascinating and inspiring.”


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"Raised by a schizophrenic mother and a manipulating aunt in Mississippi, Harold’s childhood is fraught with consistent abuse and violence. He soon learns the art of becoming invisible and complacent to avoid the daily ritual of physical and emotional attacks, not only from those who should care for him but also from his older sibling and peers. Although Harold’s childhood is a constant battle to survive each day unscathed, he somehow manages to retain his humor and hunger to succeed. Surviving Chaos (How I Found Peace at a Beach Bar) by Harold Phifer is an inspirational and heartwarming story of one man’s journey to make sense of his chaotic and dysfunctional world with unwavering determination and optimism. Follow Harold’s horrifying story as he recounts the events and memories from the mayhem of his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. As Harold, now 56 years of age, recovers from a near-death experience in Afghanistan, he begins the long journey toward recovery and a peaceful future.

Surviving Chaos by Harold Phifer is a beautifully written memoir that will take you on a rollercoaster of powerful emotions. Harold is a natural-born storyteller as he invites you inside his world of betrayal, abuse, neglect, and triumph. I loved how the story, switching from past to present, lends the reader insight into Harold’s mindset at each stage of his life. The humor is superb; his attitude toward his lack of friends and his dog abandoning him made me laugh out loud. The characters are memorable, with larger-than-life personalities that leaped from the page, especially Flirty Shirley and Dead Eye Red. The story flowed perfectly and kept my interest. Some of the scenes of abuse were extremely hard to read, especially the manipulating mind games by his aunt. The relentless bullying and violence Harold suffers builds a strength of character that is extraordinary. However, the story reminds us that one event can trigger painful memories of the past if not addressed. Harold’s story is a beacon of hope that we can overcome adversity and regain our dignity, kindness, and resolve to find a positive future. Surviving Chaos is a compelling read."

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Surviving Chaos: How I Found Peace at A Beach Bar

Surviving Chaos: How I Found Peace at A Beach Bar by Harold Phifer

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