As Far As I Can Tell

Finding My Father in World War II

Front cover of "As Far as I Can Tell."

As Far As I Can Tell

Finding My Father in World War II

Philip Gambone, a gay man, never told his father the reason why he was rejected from the draft during the Vietnam War. In turn, his father never talked about his participation in World War II. Father and son were enigmas to each other. Gambone, an award-winning novelist and non-fiction writer, spent seven years uncovering who the man his quiet, taciturn father had been, by retracing his father’s journey through WW II. As Far As I Can Tell not only reconstructs what Gambone’s father endured, it also chronicles his own emotional odyssey as he followed his father’s route from Liverpool to the Elbe River. A journey that challenged the author’s thinking about war, about European history, and about “civilization.”

What People Are Saying About "As Far As I Can Tell:"

“Philip Gambone weaves a moving memoir of his family, a vivid portrayal of his travels through the locales of WWII, and a powerful description of what that war was like to the men who fought it on the ground into a seamless and eloquent narrative.”
— Hon. Barney Frank, former Congressman, Massachusetts
“In retracing his father’s World War II army service across the U.S. and Europe, Phil Gambone ingeniously uses public records to plumb private mysteries: Who was this “impossibly foreign” man, and what did he have in common with his son, who dodged the Vietnam draft by being gay? This is a travel book unlike any other: across continents but also into the past and toward self-forgiveness. Richly researched and written with unerring grace, Gambone’s journey is an act of witness, of belated connection, and, ultimately, of courage that does justice to his father’s.”
 — Michael Lowenthal, author of Paternity Test, University of Wisconsin Press
“As Far As I Can Tell is a fascinating mix of autobiography, travelogue, and historical research that not only takes us on a great adventure in search of what World War Two was like for those who fought in the European theater but probes that most difficult of all subjects, the relationship between a father and a son — in this case, a gay son. Extensively researched, highly literate and profoundly thoughtful, the story Gambone tells uses not only soldiers’ memoirs but writers as disparate as Samuel Johnson and James Lord to make this a reader’s delight.”
 — Andrew Holleran, author of Dancer from the Dance