Counting the Days: POWs, Internees, and Stragglers of World War II in the Pacific

Counting the Days: POWs, Internees, and Stragglers of World War II in the Pacific

by Craig B. Smith


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Counting the Days: POWs, Internees, and Stragglers of World War II in the Pacific by Craig B. Smith

Counting the Days is the story of six prisoners of war imprisoned by both sides during the conflict the Japanese called the "Pacific War." As in all wars, the prisoners were civilians as well as military personnel. Two of the prisoners were captured on the second day of the war and spent the entire war in prison camps: Garth Dunn, a young Marine captured on Guam who faced a death rate in a Japanese prison 10 times that in battle; and Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, who suffered the ignominy of being Japanese POW number 1. Simon and Lydia Peters were European expatriates living in the Philippines; the Japanese confiscated their house and belongings, imprisoned them, and eventually released them to a harrowing jungle existence caught between Philippine guerilla raids and Japanese counterattacks. Mitsuye Takahashi was a U.S. citizen of Japanese descent living in Malibu, California, who was imprisoned by the United States for the duration of the war, disrupting her life and separating her from all she owned. Masashi Itoh was a Japanese soldier who remained hidden in the jungles of Guam, held captive by his own conscience and beliefs until 1960, 15 years after the end of the war. This is the story of their struggles to stay alive, the small daily triumphs that kept them going—and for some, their almost miraculous survival.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588346230
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.02(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

Craig B. Smith is former president of a global engineering, architecture, and construction firm that has been involved in many major public works projects, including the renovation of the Pentagon before and after 9/11. He is the author of How the Great Pyramid Was Built and Extreme Waves.

Table of Contents

Author's Preface xv

Introduction xix

1 December 194 11

2 Origins 22

3 Davao Gold Mine 33

4 Insular Patrol 44

5 Yokohama Bank 52

6 Argentina Maru 56

7 The Dentist's House 64

8 Zentsuji 73

9 Relocation 84

10 American Sojourn 93

11 Across The Gulf Of Davao 95

12 Osaka 110

1 Houses In The Jungle 118

4 A Riot And A Marriage 126

15 Happy Life Blues Cabaret 132

16 Hirohata 137

17 The Battle For Guam 157

18 MacArathur Returns 177

19 Free At Last 185

20 Prisoner Of War Number 191

21 Home From Manzanar 196

22 Stragglers: Prisoners Of Conscience 202

23 Picking Up The Pieces 213

Epilogue: Prisoners Today 221

Marine Corps Muster Roll, Guam, December 1941 227

Annotated Bibliography 233

End Notes 243

Acknowledgments and Credits 249

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Counting the Days: POWs, Internees, and Stragglers of World War II in the Pacific 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a terrific book. There were nights when I could hardly put it down. The research that went into it, the care taken in recording and transcribing the interviews, the commitment to accuracy, and the empathy so obviously felt by the author for all his subjects make for an amazing read. Far from resurrecting any wartime hatred, Smith expands the reader’s understanding of what happens in war and the cultural differences that lead to misunderstanding. I have warmly recommended the book to my family, especially a cousin who reads deeply in military history. I know they'll love it. Mary Bomba Los Angeles, CA