I just finished reading the book Vanished The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II by Wil S. Hylton. This book blew me away.
My research and writing has been focused on WWII Europe and mostly infantrymen with one pilot. I wasn’t ready to move to the Pacific yet but certain events, people, pieces of information have started nudging me in that direction. When I was browsing WWII books at Barnes and Noble this one jumped out at me. I read the book over the course of a few hours on a Saturday night, had to force myself to stop and go to sleep, only to resume at 6 a.m. Sunday morning. Curled up on the sofa with my coffee, under a really snuggly blanket, I did not move until the book was done.
This book takes you into WWII Pacific and the life of Bomber Groups. It talks about the records used to piece together this enormous puzzle about the location of three specific bombers in Palau. It discusses the various theories as to what happened during the crashes and if there were survivors. Hylton puts you on these islands with the men during WWII and with the teams that searched for the planes and remains. I cried tears of sorrow and tears of joy at various points in the book. There is also the discussion about Missing in Action (MIA) servicemen and the impact of that status on their families – for the rest of their lives. This is not something most of us deal with as genealogists nor do we talk about it. But we should. And that is something I strive to do with my research and writing – tell the truth and dig deep no matter how much it hurts to read and write.
As you continue reading you discover the research spanned years until……….you’ll have to read the book to find out how it ends.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about WWII MIA, war in the Pacific, and the teams that research today to bring our MIA from not only WWII but future wars home. You will also learn about the military records that are helpful to genealogists without MIA family members, who just want to tell their stories of war.
The BentProp Project is an organization focused on recovering remains in Palau and was formed by members in this book during the search for the three bombers. For more information on the book, visit your local bookstore or see The BentProp Project links below.
The BentProp Website
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