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Finding Your Father's War: A Practical Guide to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II U.S. Army Paperback – September, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate (September 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932033149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932033144
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jonathan Gawne's latest book "Finding Your Father's War" follows in the tradition of outstanding military reference books authored by this hard working researcher and historian including his Normandy Campaign benchmark reference guide "Spearheading D-Day", and easily will be become his most successful general interest work. The text and illustrations are clear, easily followed, and apply directly to assist anyone who is interested in researching a family member, friend or veteran's Service to his or her country during World War Two. Each section walks the reader through different research and documentation sources so as to allow one to become fluent in the often confusing and jargon heavy military records and in the end be able to reconstruct an overview of Service from available sources. The quality of the publication is excellent with the color pictures and illustrations numerous and sharp, while the text typeset is easy on the eyes. Casemate has done an excellent job in putting this book together, and has done justice to the quality of the author's work. Plus at a very reasonable price unlike many military books which are often priced out of the range of the average reader, this should be an outstanding success for both the author and publisher. Bravo to both for doing such a great job!
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Format: Paperback
Incredibly, American World War II veterans are dying at a rate of between 1200 and 1500 per day. In nearly every case, an old photograph, a set of dog tags or a tattered shoulder patch kept in an old shoebox are all that remain from a silent "Greatest Generation" who saved the world from tyranny. Dad, or granddad may have never talked about the war, but succeeding generations are yearning to know just where he fit into the bloodiest conflict of the twentieth century. But where does one begin? How does one attempt to decipher a complex array of government and military documents? Where did dad or granddad serve, and what campaigns and battles did he partake in? What do the ribbons, medals, and other insignia on dad's uniform in that old photo mean? In _Finding Your Father's War: A Practical Guild to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II US Army_, Jonathan Gawne answers these questions and much more.

Gawne, himself the son of a World War II veteran and author of several books on military related topics, narrows his research to the US Army and US Army Air Corps. In the opening chapters, Gawne delivers a succinct outline of World War II, a capsulation on the organization, training and recruitment of the US Army, its branches of service, ranks, and the difference between combat and non-combat units.

The author then delves into the complex array of Individual Records, and describes in detail the paper trail a soldier accumulates from recruitment to discharge. Gawne reveals what is an MOS, what the numbers and letters on a soldier's serial number means; the information found on his dog tags, his pay record, death records, and explains the Army mail system. Here, as in all chapters, examples of actual records are generously sprinkled throughout.
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Format: Paperback
The sheer amount of detail in this book is amazing. I was in the army, and I've been a student of military history for more years than I like to remember, but there was a very large amount of information in this book that I hadn't seen before.

Example: There is on page 41, a color picture of the shoulder patch for FUSAG, the First US Army Group. OK a shoulder patch isn't unusual. But FUSAG was the fictious army that General Patton commanded in an attempt to confuse Hitler. Did anybody wear these patches? Were they worn by a few just on leave to 'prove' that the unit existed.

In addition to a description of the Army as it existed at that time, (No Marines or Navy in this book.) this book goes into great detail about how to find records, how to identify any momentos the serviceman might have kept, and web sites that are dedicated to preserving the history of particular units.

This book is beautifully printed, mostly in color on high quality paper, somewhat of a surprise to see in a paperbound book.
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Format: Paperback
Ever ask 'What did you do in the War, daddy?' Ever wonder what all those patches, medals, etc represented? Ever wish you still had them???

I could never get my dad to talk about his experiences while in the US Army during WWII, outside of a comical happening or two. All I knew was that he had served in the retaking of the Philippines and briefly in the occupation of Japan. I'm proud of what my dad/the USA did during the War and very interested in what he did or went thru. Are you in the same situation?

Then this is the book that you need!!!!

Most importantly, it gives the places to search for & to obtain information and how to read the documents.

But wait! That's not all!! (as they say in infomercials on TV. LOL)

It gives an excellent breakdown of the units and their sub-units in size and organization (T/O) and the associated abbreviations for each. As a military history buff, I thought I knew how the Army was organized but boy did I learn a lot more about it.

This book covers campaign dates, T/O, how to identify a vehicle's assignment, badges and just about everything else you could want to know and I highly recommend it. Even if you're just a WWII history buff.

The only thing I've not been able to find in this book is a breakdown on how to read the ribbon bar(s).
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