Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific
Booklist Reviews 2014 February #2
*Starred Review* Farrell chronicles the harrowing story of U.S. Army and Navy nurses based in the Philippines during WWII. After working under enemy fire, they became prisoners of war in two Japanese prison camps, where they continued to nurse soldiers and other captives. As time went on, severe malnutrition and lack of medicine left all the prisoners vulnerable to serious diseases. Still, the women bonded, supporting each other during the years before their release in 1945. The nurses' return to civilian life was hampered by an unsupportive military and what we now recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder. The first official recognition of their service came in 1983, after many had died. Farrell offers a thoroughly researched account encompassing the experiences of 67 American nurses held as POWs in the Philippines. Well-chosen quotes from interviews, personal accounts, and articles bring their voices into the story, while the many period photos offer intriguing glimpses of the war, the camps, and the women's later lives. At times the narrative is nearly overwhelmed by the sheer number of experiences recorded and women profiled. But in the end, the details of many nurses' individual trials combine to form a memorable portrayal of their shared experience, one that will emotionally impact readers. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Fall
Using historical interviews and modern correspondence with the subjects' relatives, Farrell presents a fascinating account of the more than one hundred army and navy nurses who served in the South Pacific in WWII. Through every battle and retreat, and even in POW camps, these nurses cared for the injured under the most primitive of conditions. The book's utilitarian design features archival photographs. Timeline, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #2
There are many books written about young people enlisting in the military, being unprepared for the horrors of battle or tortures of capture, serving bravely, and coming home. But women? In direct fire? In POW camps? During World War II? Not so many, a void Farrell admirably fills with this account of the more than one hundred army and navy nurses who served in the Philippines during the bombing and evacuation of Manila, the Battle of Bataan, and the evacuation and surrender of Corregidor. During every battle and every retreat, and even within the walls of the POW camps (where many were incarcerated from 1942 to 1945), these nurses cared for the injured under the most primitive of conditions. Using information taken mainly from historical interviews and modern correspondence with the subjects' relatives, Farrell directly confronts the horrors of war and the years of inhumane treatment in the POW camps. These women -- malnourished, ill with diseases such as malaria, dysentery, and beriberi -- established multiple hospital sites and often shouldered doctors' medical duties. Many returned home with disabilities and lifelong medical problems; though many suffered from PTSD, no mental health services were available to them. The book design is double-columned utilitarianism; archival photographs vary in effectiveness: many are posed group shots while others are (understandably) grainy, offering context over clarity. The account concludes with a timeline, glossary, list of nurses, documentation, bibliography, suggested websites, and an index. betty carte Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.
PW Reviews 2014 January #4
"Grit" scarcely describes what the heroines of this stark chronicle of wartime military service demonstrated. Farrell (Fire in the Hole!) lays bare the experiences of Army and Navy nurses who enlisted for peacetime duty in the Philippines, caring for military families at base hospitals. Their jobs and lives drastically changed when the Japanese invaded the country after attacking Pearl Harbor, thrusting the nurses into combat duty as bombs "dropped in droves" around them. When wards overflowed with wounded soldiers, the Army constructed makeshift hospitals in jungles, which further eroded many nurses' living and working conditions. As internees in POW camps after the Americans surrendered to the Japanese, the women endured deplorable housing facilities, disease, and malnutrition as they continued to care for patients. Farrell's immersing account draws on her interviews with the last surviving nurse (who has since died) and the children of other nurses, as well as transcripts of other interviews. She brings her subjects' personalities and harrowing ordeal into clear focus and sheds deserved light on this chapter of WWII history. Ages 10–16. Agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. (Feb.)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC