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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]

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Item description for Finding Your Father's War: A Practical Guide to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II U.S. Army by Jonathan Gawne...

Leading military historian and researcher, Jonathan Gawne, explains and shares the techniques he uses to research archives, libraries, veteran associations and myriad other sources of information to track down the wartime career of an individual. The author describes this as "What I did, and what you can do to find out what 'he' did in the army."

The book gives an overview of the Army in World War II, from the basics up. Learn the difference between a corporal and a major, or a squad and a brigade. What can you tell from a serial number? What is the difference between the quartermaster corps and the transportation corps? What was the path most soldiers took from civilian life to trained soldier? What (and where) is the ETO, PTO and ATO? All the basic facts you need to understand Army service in WW2.

He goes on to explain how to find information from such sources as discharges, uniforms, paperwork, the National Personnel records center, National Archives, other facilities and what you can expect from veterans organizations (and how to find them). Places to look for information and what you can or cannot get from them.

Finally the book helps you to assemble the data you have collected and piece the story of your relatives' wartime service together. It also gives advice on preserving the memories - oral histories, photos, artifacts, documents, etc.

Detailed appendices give information on such things as insignia of ranks and branches, listing of common MOS's, a breakdown of each division by sub unit, with a brief history and a listing of their campaigns, a capsule history of each campaign and a bibliography of useful books on various campaigns and units. Color illustrations of campaign ribbons, decorations and insignia accompany the detailed text.

This book addresses an increasing need to record and understand the lives of the greatest generation and their service to the country.


"... helps you assemble the data you have collected and piece the story of your relative's wartime service together. It also gives advice on preserving the memories - oral histories, photos, artifacts, documents, etc. ... addresses an increasing need to record and understand the lives of the "greatest generation and their service to the country." -, 01/2007

"...for those interested in WWII army service, there is no source better than FINDING YOUR FATHER'S WAR". We are greatly impressed with the depictions "...Gawne provides a wealth of background information and keys to interpreting military records and items from the WWII period.... This book is a great starting point."ARMY Magazine,04/2007

"...This work is a road map for users seeking to trace their relative's wartime army service... a Useful source for genealogists and readers interested in the wartime military."CHOICE, 06/2007

"...a useful book for anyone trying to establish the history of any US veteran during W.W.II." Military Trader Magazine, 10/2007

"...a thoroughly comprehensive guide to the U.S. Army in the World War II period... covers an enormous range of subjects..."The NYMAS Review 41, Summer 2007

"...very practical useful guide to assist all those whose relatives served in the wartime US Army. ...very well illustrated... Finding You Father's War is highly recommended for all those who find themselves in need of assistance in doing research on World War II."Journal For America's Military Past Spring/ Summer 2007

"...a terrific guide that details how to go about researching and understanding the lives of a generation of servicemen that answered their nation's call when the world was at war."On Point Magazine Winter 2007-8

"... a fascinating veteran post should be without it."Daily Times (Delaware County), 04/2008

Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at!

Item Specifications...

Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.4" Width: 6.6" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   2.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Casemate
ISBN  1932033149  
ISBN13  9781932033144  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jonathan Gawne

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gawne is a leading military historian.

Jonathan Gawne currently resides in Framingham, in the state of Massachusetts.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Historical Study > Reference
2Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > United States > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > General
5Books > Subjects > History > World > General
6Books > Subjects > Reference > Education > Research

Reviews - What do customers think about Finding Your Father's War: A Practical Guide to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II U.S. Army?

Finding Your Father's War  Sep 1, 2008
This is one of the very best all round books you can own. It has unit break downs, ranks, what regiments are in what divisions, dog tag information, research information, just about anything you would need to know to research most any unit or someone in the family. All the information in it, for the price, is one heck of a deal. All the books I've ever seen by Jonathan Gawne are outstanding, especially his 'Spearheading D-Day' book. This book 'Finding Your Father's War' is outstanding.
A Son's Dream if your a WWII vet's son  Aug 16, 2008
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).
Fantatic Reference Guide  Apr 12, 2008
"Finding Your Father's War" is a fantastic reference guide! For relatives of U.S. Army veterans, it is a straight forward guide to the resouces you'll need.
Finding Your Father's War  Mar 27, 2008
This is an amazing resource on the composition and structure of the US Army during WWII. There is detailed information on how the Army was organized at the time, including an appendix on the Army Air Force. There is no information on the Navy or Marine Corps: the focus is fixed on the Army. The book is packed with photos and illustrations of insignia, badges and medals worn or awarded during the war. What this book is not is a reference on the armament, equipment or gear of the period; nor does it discuss battles or unit losses.



The War in a Nutshell

Section 1: Introduction to Army Units
Background information on the composition of the World War II US Army

Section 2: Individual Records
The various Army records pertaining to an individual soldier

Section 3: Organizational Records
The Army's record of what a man did during the war

Section 4: Finding Records
Places around the country where you can find records of your soldier's service

Section 5: Introduction to Army Units
Identifying what you may already have and what it can tell you about your relative's service


Appendix A: The Infantry and Airborne Divisions in World War II

Appendix B: The Armored and Cavalry Divisions in World War II

Appendix C: Army Groups, Armies, and Corps in World War II

Appendix D: Major Army Commands of World War II

Appendix E: The Army Air Forces in World War II

Appendix F: Vehicle Markings in World War II

Appendix G: The Campaigns of World War II

Appendix H: Official Abbreviations Used in World War II

Appendix I: The Green Books and Select Bibliography
Most Helpful Resource I've Found  Aug 13, 2007
This is an outstanding book! It brings together information on so many aspects of a search for WWII information it has become invaluable to me. I found the most helpful aspects included the many full color pictures, the charts of organization, and the explanations of the many documents I found in my father's papers. Some of the sample documents and forms were small reproductions and did require a magnifying glass to see clearly but the information was so helpful, I didn't mind. The book also gives clear information on where various documents are located and how best to access those sources. Having this book months ago would have saved me hours of time.

My only disappointment is that there is no index. When I go back to the book to refresh myself on a topic, it is not always easy to find what I am looking for through the Table of Contents. I would hope any future editions would include a good index. That one complaint aside, I think this is an excellent book and I would recommend it highly for anyone searching for records.


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