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Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp: Life and Liberation at Santo Tomas, Manila, in World War II

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Overview

During World War II the Japanese imprisoned more American civilians at Manila's Santo Tomas prison camp than anywhere else, along with British and other nationalities. Placing the camp's story in the wider history of the Pacific war, this book tells how the camp went through a drastic change, from good conditions in the early days to impending mass starvation, before its dramatic rescue by U.S. Army "flying columns." Interned as a small boy with his mother and older sister, the author shows the many ways in which...

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Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp: Life and Liberation at Santo Tomas, Manila, in World War II

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Overview

During World War II the Japanese imprisoned more American civilians at Manila's Santo Tomas prison camp than anywhere else, along with British and other nationalities. Placing the camp's story in the wider history of the Pacific war, this book tells how the camp went through a drastic change, from good conditions in the early days to impending mass starvation, before its dramatic rescue by U.S. Army "flying columns." Interned as a small boy with his mother and older sister, the author shows the many ways in which the camp's internees handled imprisonment—and their liberation afterwards.

Using a wealth of Santo Tomas memoirs and diaries, plus interviews with other ex-internees and veteran army liberators, he reveals how children reinvented their own society, while adults coped with crowded dormitories, evaded sex restrictions, smuggled in food, and through a strong internee government, dealt with their Japanese overlords. The text explores the attitudes and behavior of Japanese officials, ranging from sadistic cruelty to humane cooperation, and asks philosophical questions about atrocity and moral responsibility.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786465705
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/20/2013
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 723,887
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Rupert Wilkinson is emeritus professor of American Studies and History at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. Interned as a small boy in Santo Tomas with his mother and older sister, he has published ten books on aspects of American and British society. He lives in London.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    We often forget the human side of war and those whose lives are

    We often forget the human side of war and those whose lives are affected by the posturing of great nations. This book is an insight into the reality of a family caught up in Manila during at the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1942 and whose lives were turned upside down as they were cast out of the `Eden' of their ex-pat existence and incarcerated in Santo Tomas prison camp. Santo Tomas, it must be said, was not a Belsen or Auswitz. It was as the author admits a rather porous prison and one where the internees organized their lives on a thriving communal basis albeit with ever-present hunger, deprivation and threats of execution from their Japanese jailors. It vividly documents highs and lows of camp life and the hoped for liberation that eventually came in 1945. It's a fascinating story and is written with a lightness of touch that keeps one entranced and engaged throughout.

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