I could think of no better book to review for the Fourth of July than this book here. After all isn't this what this holiday is about, Celebrating freedom? Enjoy the review.
Genre: Photo-Biography, WWII, History
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Curtis Bertrand returned home from WWII in the South Pacific with over 600 photos. These never-before-seen pictures from his private collection, along with official battalion journal entries and stories of near-death experiences entail drama, adventure, and depict the reality of war.
Dad's War Photos covers many aspects of Curtis's experiences: leaving the farm in Opelousas, Louisiana, going to boot camp, being sent overseas, and coming back home, all through the lens of his Kodak fold-up camera passed down to him from his parents.
The homecoming and post war life chapters give an intimate view of what many returning soldiers faced. For Curtis it was getting back to work on the farm, meeting his lovely wife, and trying to put bad memories aside.
Two appendices include extensive photo coverage of WWII aircraft nose art and the daily lives of natives in the South Pacific.
I am so glad that Neal Bertrand took his father's pictures and journals and put together this book. This is a fabulous primary source. As a teacher I am please to have it as a resource, although I am sure I will be accosted by upper grade teachers who teach history for my copy. I believe in sharing. I loved not only the pictures which gave you a first hand look at what was taking place in the Pacific, but also the military journal entries. This gave you a first hand look at what else was going on with him and the other's in his battalion during the month. Another added bonus was the section titled "Elsewhere in the War". This section allowed me to see not only what was happening where he was but also in Japan, Germany and other important places. Every book I've ever read similar to this deals only with what was going on in that particular area. This book give the reader a wider picture of the war. I find this beneficial for students who may use this as one of their primary sources when researching. I would however caution if you are using this as a resource for middle school. Not all middle schoolers are mature enough for some of the pictures. Yes I know that shocks you. There is a picture I found hilarious of a group of men on an outside latrine, naked butts to the camera. Then there are the pics of the half naked women on the planes, or the Philippine women who are naked from the waste up. This is life, but not all middle schoolers are mature enough. I must also caution that some of the pictures are quite graphic of corpses. All in all this is a book that is not just a photo journal, but a wealth of written information as well. I am so happy I had the honor of reading and reviewing this book.
About the Author:
Neal Bertrand is a publisher, full-time author, and an avid genealogist and family historia. In 2009, he began scanning his dad's World War II photos. eal had never seen what was written on the backs of the photos because they had bee attached to the pages of three photo albums kep in a cedar chest in the hallway of Neal's childhood home. The photos were put in the albums in no particular order. But once he gifured out the timeline, Neal was able to organize them by coutry, month, ad year. After six months of culling the photos and researching diary entries of his dad's outfit, the 863rd Engineer Aviation Battalion, Neal was able to trace his father's steps from boot camp to war and back home.