Another story about Maggie Barnes and her family. By digging into online genealogy records and talking with their chatty Aunt Lillian, Maggie's children discover the World War II struggles of their paternal grandparents and their silent father, Ross. It's not a story to make kids proud. They find it easier to be critical of their flawed family and assume the next generation will do better. Like an autopsy, Phantom Fathers exposes the problems of this thinking. Soon enough these critical children will be the parents of their own adult children, and they will have their day in court. As Maggie's children discover the trauma that tore through their father's life and the way their grandparents dealt with it--brutal events during World War II, desperate decisions that fractured the family, and a dishonorable emigration to the United States--they wonder if they could have done better under the circumstances. Ross's silence begins to make sense. Most surprising are events that stir the sympathy of disappointed children and open the way to admitting the truth about imperfect ancestors.