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The following books are available through the AWON Bookstore.
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A Guide to Records, Rights and Resources
by Ann Bennett Mix
for Families of American World War II Casualties
Published by James Publishers, 2003, $21.95
New Second Edition!
First published in 1996 and representing five years of researching information sources and
privileges, Touchstones is a guide to locating records of World War II casualties. Now completely
revised and updated, it remains an indispensable guide for families or friends who lost a loved one
in World War II. Originally written specifically for the sons and daughters of Americans killed or
missing, then expanded to include information for all next of kin of American WWII servicemen,
the Second Edition not only updates the original material but provides even more resources.
Many records, both military and other, are available to the next of kin, along with benefits,
medals and privileges about which many are unaware. These include After Action Reports, histories
of Air Force Groups and Squadrons, Army or Marine outfit or unit histories, college & high school
records, hospital records, Individual Deceased Personnel Files, medical records, microfilmed ship's
muster rolls, Morning Reports, ships Deck Logs, Rosters, photos and histories, Army unit Rosters,
Selective Service Records, training school records, disbursement records, insurance records
maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and more.
Survivors of persons killed in World War II have certain rights and privileges granted by the
U.S. Government, including burial markers, flags, medals and awards, and other provisions.
Whether you have a relative who was killed in World War II or not, this book will provide an
outstanding array of resources available to help understand the circumstances surrounding a
person who died serving our country. The author has spent countless hours doing research about
her own father, who was killed in Italy in 1945. Touchstones offers these sources to others
who are interested in what records are available today.
Comments about the original publication:
"It is the most helpful book available in locating records and more. It wasn't until I read
Touchstones I realized my mother might be entitled to commissary privileges and she was.
This book would also be useful for widows and orphans of other conflicts also. The book is
great!" Chari House, war orphan
"This book is truly a valuable research tool and those who have used it will swear that their
search could not have been accomplished without it." Col. Jack O. Forgy, USA (ret)
"I am in the process of using your guidance in your book (Touchstones) for writing for records
of my father's and whatever I can find ... What wonderful resources there are, right there in
one spot for us to use! How would we have ever known about them otherwise?"
Dianne Baczynski, war orphan
Ann Bennett Mix is a graduate of Fairhaven College, with an independent interdisciplinary degree
in historical research and writing and a focus on family history. In 1990 she began her search
to find out about her father who had been killed in World War II. During her search, Mix met
others whose fathers had been killed and found that many of them had little information. As a result,
Ann founded the American WWII Orphans Network (www.awon.org) to locate war orphans and become a
depository for sources of information about WWII servicemen who were fathers. Together with Susan
Johnson Hadler, a psychologist and war orphan, Mix also co-authored Lost in the Victory:
Reflections of American Orphans of World War II, a collection of 24 stories of war orphans.
Lost in the Victory
Refelections of American War Orphans
by Susan Johnson Hadler and Ann Bennett Mix
of World War II
Published by University of North Texas Press, 1998, $32.50
In 1990, Ann Mix began searching for American WWII orphans in order to
write a book about their experience. She immediately found that it was a
very healing experience to talk with others like herself. She then founded
the American WWII Orphans Network in order to locate war orphans and to
bring them together. Mix found that few children of men who were killed
had much information about their fathers and began researching sources of
information and sharing them with family members. Susan Hadler, a
psychologist and war orphan contacted Ann Mix and they agreed to a
collaboration to collect the stories of the orphans. The authors
discovered there were no statistics on the number of children and no
studies on the effects of their fathers' deaths on their lives. Records
which could have helped sociologist, psychologists, and historians were
Ann Mix and Susan Hadler began to interview war orphans, who nearly all
reported that at a young age they had learned to keep quiet, and only with
great relicence were they able now to discuss their loss and its impact on
their lives. The voices in this book belong to sons and daughters who for
half a century have seldom spoken of their fathers or of their own lives
after the deaths of their fathers.
By publishing stories of American war orphans in Lost in the Victory:
Reflections of American War Orphans of World War II, the authors hope to
bring home the incredible sacrifice that was made, not only by those who
fought, but by the families of those who died. They hope readers will
better understand what those four years cost America in terms of human
suffering that did not end with the armistice nor when the dead were
Vamik D. Volkan, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Center for the
Study of Mind and Human Interaction, University of Virginia says about Lost
in the Victory, "The book is a document of childhood mourning and its
consequences. Not only had these 'half-orphans' lost their fathers, but
also 'lost' their mothers who were overcome with grief, felt helpless, and
were not fully available to their children. Yet in spite of the adverse
circumstances into which many of the contributors were thrown in their
childhood, Lost in the Victory contains some of the most beautiful accounts
of self healing I have ever encountered. In discussing the traumas and
adaptations of these individuals, the authors bring to our attention an
important societal issue; the rights of children during and after a war.
The August 1996 United Nations report on this topic deals only with
children who were directly traumatzied, but makes no reference to orphans
on the 'home front.' This work forcefully brings to light the plight of
war orphans not in the line of fire, and their silent struggles to find
themselves in the shadow of their dead fathers. I highly recommend Lost in
Noted World War II historian, Stephen Ambrose said of Lost in the Victory:
"...I'm struck by the thought that the cost of victory is never fully paid,
that the gods of war keep demanding further tribute. All the participants
in the Second World War, whether as winners or losers, will continue to pay
well into the 21st century. I think this is especially true of those who
were born during the war in which their fathers lost their lives."
After the Liberators
A Father's Last Mission
by William C. McGuire II
A Son's Lifelong Journey
Published by Parkway Publishers, 1999, $16.95
The time is 1944. A Navigator on an American B-24 "Liberator" is reported missing
over southern Germany and is presumed dead. At home, his only child celebrates his
first birthday. Fifty years later, the son is compelled to learn the details of this
one combat death, information he has never had. Step by step, with the reader at his
side, the author finds the facts and the witnesses, to vividly reconstruct the past,
and, for the first time, to truly understand it. "Some things you don't forget," the
author writes. "Some things are worth dying for." A true story that
reads like a novel! The book includes photos and illustrations, a bibliography and
index, as well as an appendix of useful sources for tracking military records and
Says Susan Hadler (Co-author of "Lost in the Victory," above) says: "This book shatters
the silence that fell like a curtain upon many of us whose fathers were killed in WWII.
It documents and transcends the long-term effects of war within a family. At times
heart stopping, at times lyrical, it is above all a story of love and
"Using Army Air Force Records, the personal memoirs of veterans, and his own research and
interviews with survivors, Bill McGuire gives a realistic blow-by-blow account of
one of the key bombing raids of WWII. More important, like the film "Saving Private Ryan,"
his very personal story "speaks to the legacy of our own fighting men." A year to
the day after the tragic Friedrichshafen mission, the 392nd BG pounded Berlin without the
loss of a single American plane. "After the Liberators" mirrors that determined resolve
and fighting spirit that would not be defeated, and shows that it continues into the 21st
century." -- Colonel Lawrence G. Gilbert, USAF (Ret.), and former Commander, 392nd Bomb
Group, Eighth Air Force.
I can Hear the Guns Now
A World War II Story
by Thomas G. Ratliff (WWII Orphan)
of Love and Sacrifice
"I Can Hear The Guns Now" is about the turbulent time of World War II.
This story is about his father, Ova W. Ratliff a Morgan County, Kentucky,
school teacher, and his time in World War II. "I Can Hear The Guns Now"
is a WWII story of love and sacrifice told from a very personal point of
view, using all eighty four unedited letters written by him from his
induction to his war time death. In fact, the title "I Can Hear The Guns
Now" is a quote from his last letter, written just before going into his
This book tells the story of personal sacrifice that was inflicted on this
man and his family. This story lets the reader discover how much he loved
his family, and experience how he sacrificed everything he had to give,
his life. He was torn between his duty to his family and his duty to his
country. He really didn't want to go to war, but when called, he went.
After reading "I Can Hear The Guns Now" readers say this story will
trigger your emotions and tug at your heart strings.
About the Author: Thomas G. Ratliff was born January 14, 1939, in
Woodsbend, Kentucky, just as World War II was in its beginning stages.
His father received his draft notice in October, 1943, but received a
short reprieve awaiting the arrival of the family's third child. The
author has a brother and sister. Six weeks after his little brother's
birth his father had to report for the draft. The author's father, an
infantry replacement soldier, was killed in Hurtgen Forest, Germany,
fighting with the 110th Infantry, 28th Division, on November 14, 1944.
Testimonials of other people that have bought and read "I Can Hear The
Guns Now" can be found on the book's website at www.icanhearthegunsnow.com
Tom is donating $2 of every book sold to the WWII Memorial Monument in
Washington DC and is giving AWON a percentage of every book sold through
the AWON Bookstore.
An 8th Air Force Combat Diary
by John A. Clark (WWII Orphan)
Published by Proctor Publications, LLC - $49.95 plus $5 postage & handling
During the Second World War the author flew as the copilot of a B-17 "Flying Fortress"
in the "The Bloody Hundredth," the famous 100th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force. After each
of his 32 missions over Germany he recorded a Diary entry describing his combat experiences.
This Diary, now being published after almost 60 years, is the focus of this War Memoir. The
unfolding story provides a realistic account of aerial combat in the brutal air war over Europe,
including encounters with "flak" and German fighters, on 7-9 hour missions during the harsh
winter, 1944-45. The role the severe English winter weather played in the flying of a heavily
loaded bomber during takeoff and later on the return to base is described. The crash of his
battle damaged Fortress in Belgium in which the crew had a remarkable escape and an unexpected
epiphany on a mission to Merseburg, are part of the story.
This War Chronicle begins with Introductory and Background History sections and closes with an
Epilogue that includes the author's post-war flying with the Michigan Air National Guard. Several
"War Stories," all true, provide additional drama to this account of the life of a WWII combat pilot.
In honor of the sacrifices of his fallen comrades, a chapter titled Requiescat in Pace is included.
Over 150 unpublished combat photographs and about 50 others, all from the author's collection, are
distributed throughout the Memoir.
About the author
John A. Clark, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
is a 1948 engineering graduate of the University of Michigan. He earned his Master's and Doctor's
degrees from MIT in 1949 and 1953 and served on the MIT research and teaching faculty from 1949 to
1957. In 1957 he was appointed to the University of Michigan faculty as Professor of Mechanical
Engineering, later serving as Department Chairman for two terms. He retired in 1988 after 32 years on
the Michigan faculty. Dr. Clark has devoted his professional life to the fields of Thermodynamics,
Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, Thermal and Nuclear Power, Space Propulsion Systems and Solar Energy.
He has published extensively in these fields and has been the recipient of several professional honors
and awards. For over 50 years he has been an engineering consultant in the field of Thermal Processes.
His wife of 56 years, Marie Mountain Clark, was an experienced Air Force pilot in her own right as a
member of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASP), 1943-1944. She is a member of the Caterpillar
Club, a recognition awarded to those who have made an emergency parachute jump from a military aircraft.
She has over 800 hours as a pilot in various Air Force fighter aircraft.
by Duane Heisinger
Published by Xulon Press - $16.95 plus $5 postage & handling
Duane Heisinger, formerly of Fresno, has come home to launch a book about his father. Samuel Lawrence Heisinger
was Assistant District of Attorney in Fresno when, early in 1941 he volunteered with the California National Guard
for active Army duty in the Philippines. He became a Japanese POW with the fall of Corregidor and after three years
in prison camps died during the last months of WWII on a Japanese ship in route to Japan.
Duane Heisinger's book is a narrative of his fatherŐs life from the time he left Fresno until his death. Duane spent
years traveling to the Far East and throughout the United States talking to survivors of those days also finding
several who knew his father or had lived in the same prison camps.
The book Father Found is well documented and meticulously footnoted. It covers the hopes and expectations both
at home and in the Philippines of these days when American was not ready, but responded to the war that came. Much of
the story is taken from these men's diaries, letters, notes and scraps of paper left in the camps in bottles and cans
retrieved after the war telling of events around them.
Duane Heisinger is a retired Navy Captain now living in Virginia. He is the Executive Secretary of the "American
Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor" an organization of survivors, widows and former POWs descendants.
"I am a former POW, survivor of the Oryoku Maru, Enoura Maru, and Brazil Maru Japanese ship journey from Manila to Moji,
Japan, December 1944 to January 1945. Duane has provided in his impressive research the most complete and accurate account
of these events I have ever read."
Col. Melvin H. Rosen, USA (ret)
Former Japanese POW and author of
History of the Philippine Scout Field Artillery
About the author
Duane Heisinger, the oldest of three sons of Grace and Lawrence Heisinger, was born in 1930 and raised in Fresno, California.
After two years at Fresno State College and a year in the U.S. Air Force, Duane entered the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1956.
He served thirty years in the Navy, retiring a Navy Captain. His assignments were primarily at sea including two ship commands,
three combat tours in Vietnam, and over eleven years in overseas intelligence assignments including three years as the Defense
Attache, London. In recent years he has been engaged in research concerning the life and death of his father as a POW of the
Japanese in the Philippines, WWII. Duane and his wife, Judith, live in Virginia. They have three married daughters and ten grandchildren.
A Forgotten War Crime in the Pacific
by Michael J. Goodwin
Stockpole Books, hardback, $19.95
This a disturbing account of a father's death as a POW of the Japanese. It took Goodwin 8 years
of research, here and abroad, to learn the horrible truth of how his father and his crew died
after they survived the crash landing of their PBY Catalina. This is Micahel's search for
"truth and justice for all the unfortunate Allied airmen who became victims to a hazard of
war that none expected, and who fell to the most deadly enemies of all: prejudice, incompetence
and the darkest side of human nature."
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Our Thanks to West.Net
Heartfelt thanks from everyone at AWON to the owners and staff of West.Net -- our
site's ISP, host, and benefactor from the time the site first came up in July of '96
to November of '98, when we left the nest, landing in a Domain of our own. Your
soft spot for the orphans of WWII is appreciated more than you will ever know.