Book Review: Finding Your Father's War, by Jonathan Gawne

Prepared by Gena Philibert-Ortega.

Various books are available to genealogists about researching, using and finding military records. Finding Your Father's War is written by a military historian and focuses on Army records exclusively. Chapters include an Introduction to Army Units, Individual Records, Organizational Records, and Finding Records. Appendices provide information about World War II that can be useful as you research your family members such as Infantry, Armored, Airborn, and Cavalry divisions; Army Groups, Armies and Corps, vehicle markings, campaigns, official abbreviations, and a bibliography. What is great about this book is, while it provides information about researching the military records a person left behind, it provides additional information and clues you can research that may be available. The focus is on researching the individual and the social history of which they were a part. Researching, using this book will help you write a family history narrative that will be interesting to even the non-genealogists in the family.

One of the things I like about this book is that it goes beyond the usual advice of requesting your family member's military record from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). While that's obviously essential, this book provides additional techniques for finding information including, explaining serial numbers, dog tags, army mail, discharge records and pay records. Beautifully illustrated in color, this 341 page book is a must for anyone with a relative who served in the U. S. Army during World War II.

Finding Your Father's War: A Practical Guide to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II U.S. Army, by Jonathan Gawne. Philadelphia: Casemate, 2006.

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