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writing my fathers biography (1 Viewer)

T

Thoth

He is nearing 80 and I wanted to know all about his life, esp. when he served in the military as a SeaBee.
Well, there is a major roadblock- he can not remember everything.
I want to complete this book in honor of my father.

Where should I turn, another WW2 vet or a history expert?
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
A veteran, definitely.

Always go for first sources when possible... always. If you can record what they say accurately and without bias, it's yet another record for the books. Excellent to see someone taking an interest in that.
 
T

Thoth

A veteran, definitely.

Always go for first sources when possible... always. If you can record what they say accurately and without bias, it's yet another record for the books. Excellent to see someone taking an interest in that.
The problem with that is, do I disguise that as my fathers experiences or write a book about SeaBee's in general?
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
You don't have to disguise it at all. Just plainly say what you found out.

Think of it this way. You're writing a biography about your father.

Your father, but your search. Make the book about your search for your story, and you can include anything you'd like.

Well... within reason.
 

JohnN

Senior Member
Yer, dont hide the fact you got some indirect sources. If you could find someone in his company or even regiment, that would help a great deal
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
if you want to write a biography, you'll have to have mostly material that relates directly to your father... you won't get that from strangers... are any of his service mates still alive and mentally alert?... you can get a copy of his service record and then go to the many veterans's sites on the web and ask for anyone who knew him to contact you... and also get background from any who were in the same places at the same time, even if they didn't know him, for background info...

otherwise, you won't be writing a 'biography'... and i'm sure there are many books out on the seabees' work in the war... i don't see that a history expert will be of my use, unless you find one who's studied that particular theater of operations during that period and you use them just for 'color' info...
 

JohnN

Senior Member
Writing a good biography is not just about facts, its about the style. In some sense, in fact in most senses its more important than having all the details. Check out how to write a biography in the book On Writing Well
 
B

bagpuss

He is nearing 80 and I wanted to know all about his life, esp. when he served in the military as a SeaBee.
Well, there is a major roadblock- he can not remember everything.
I want to complete this book in honor of my father.

Where should I turn, another WW2 vet or a history expert?

This year being the 25th Anniversary of the Falklands War I helped a Falklands Veteran put his story onto paper. At first he had vague recollections of certain areas of the campaign but I found sitting down with him and talking helped him to recollect his memories ( I had a pen and paper handy) I then added more information from the internet from reliable sources, showed him what I had found and that triggered more memories.
I think it a wonderful way to honour your father I bet he has a really interesting story to tell.
Good luck
 
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T

Thoth

if you want to write a biography, you'll have to have mostly material that relates directly to your father... you won't get that from strangers... are any of his service mates still alive and mentally alert?... you can get a copy of his service record and then go to the many veterans's sites on the web and ask for anyone who knew him to contact you... and also get background from any who were in the same places at the same time, even if they didn't know him, for background info...
my dads memory is sketchy. I encourage him to recall as much as possible but I dont push the issue.
I plan on going to American Legion to interview some vets, or maybe placing an ad for help from those involved in WW2 or historical buffs.
As for service records, the gov't can not find them. He was told the papers were destroyed in a fire. This is a slap in the face and also a motivator.
 
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