Student, Sailor, Skipper, Survivor: How WWII Transformed the Lives of Ordinary Americans

Julia Gimbel (Author)


Student, Sailor, Skipper, Survivor goes beyond the often-told battle stories to describe the life experiences shared by millions of Americans serving during WWII. Using her late father's journal as the framework, researcher and author Julia Gimbel fleshes out what it was like to go through accelerated officer training, set sail, and live life at sea during the tumultuous war years.

Step into the shoes of one sailor and, by extension, millions more to catch a whiff of the American spirit and determination of WWII. Learn how young Americans navigated military life and connected with their new brothers over the simple pleasure of a meal or a smoke, all while keeping their eye on the goal of returning home to resume the life they put on hold.

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Ten16 Press
Publish Date
March 03, 2020
5.51 X 8.5 X 0.74 inches | 0.92 pounds

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About the Author

Julia Gimbel lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, Josh, and their two pugs who snore peacefully at her feet as she writes. She is proud of her two adult children, Elijah and Lena, who are establishing themselves respectively at work and school. She has been published in Family Stories from the Attic (2017), Creative Wisconsin (2017 & 2019), and Wisconsin People and Ideas (2019). Julia shares little-known WWII stories with thousands of followers on her facebook page, @JuliaWritesWWII. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in World War II Studies.


"Like any war, the meaning of World War II must be found not in its
battles, but rather in the people who lived and died in them: how and
why they came to fight; what meaning they assigned their experience;
what connections they forged with each other and with those they
sought to save; and for those who emerged, how in the decades
following they survived surviving. Those are stories that millions of
soldiers, civilian resistance fighters, refugees, victims and prisoners of
war had and have today. Whatever real meaning we can make of war,
we make from their narratives.

But many do not or cannot tell their stories. Julia Gimbel allows us
to hear the story of a man whose experience, importantly, was not
exceptional; his storytelling was, though. That he recounted his story
only after nearly a half century to reflect on it, and that the daughter
who first heard it is a thoughtful and compelling storyteller herself,
makes this book--this conversation among father, daughter, and
time--important to anyone who seeks meaning in war through the
lives of those who waged it, lived it, or died in it."

- Dean A. Strang, lawyer and author of Worse than the Devil
and Keep the Wretches in Order

"Using her father's papers, including his precious memoir of the war
years, Julia Gimbel has given us an unforgettable picture of war in
the South Pacific. At every turn, she has skillfully contextualized
her father's story with key historical detail. Student, Sailor, Skipper,
Survivor is a great read as well as an impressive contribution to history."

- Mary Louise Roberts, Distinguished Lucie Aubrac Chair and
Plaenert-Bascom Chair of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison