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Prisoner of War: A Novel of World War II
     

Prisoner of War: A Novel of World War II

by Michael P. Spradlin
 

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Survive the war. Outlast the enemy. Stay alive.

That's what Henry Forrest has to do. When he lies about his age to join the Marines, Henry never imagines he'll face anything worse than his own father's cruelty. But his unit is shipped off to the Philippines, where the heat is unbearable, the conditions are brutal, and Henry's dreams of careless adventuring are

Overview


Survive the war. Outlast the enemy. Stay alive.

That's what Henry Forrest has to do. When he lies about his age to join the Marines, Henry never imagines he'll face anything worse than his own father's cruelty. But his unit is shipped off to the Philippines, where the heat is unbearable, the conditions are brutal, and Henry's dreams of careless adventuring are completely dashed.

Then the Japanese invade the islands, and US forces there surrender. As a prisoner of war, Henry faces one horror after another. Yet among his fellow captives, he finds kindness, respect, even brotherhood. A glimmer of light in the darkness. And he'll need to hold tight to the hope they offer if he wants to win the fight for his country, his freedom . . . and his life.

Michael P. Spradlin's latest novel tenderly explores the harsh realities of the Bataan Death March and captivity on the Pacific front during World War II.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Into the Killing Seas:

"Spradlin spins a gut-wrenching survival tale." -- Booklist

"A marvelous fit in a social studies class, this novel would work well as a companion text to a World War II unit and will engage and connect students to the past." -- School Library Journal

VOYA, April 2017 (Vol. 40, No. 1) - cj bott
Henry’s mother died when he was seven years old, and though he was not responsible in any way, his father took out his anger and pain on Henry with his fists and words. At fifteen, with his grandfather’s help, Henry joins the Marines and fights in the Philippines during WWII. When the Japanese land, Henry and his fellow soldiers become prisoners of war. Their only mission is to survive. The conditions are barbaric, with very little to no food, no medical care, and vicious punishments that become crueler as the Japanese see their demise ahead of them. Through personal bravery, idealism, and tenacity, Henry survives, but not on his own. He is accepted and protected whenever possible by fellow Americans, particularly Gunny and Jams, his two self-appointed guardians. Bonds made on the war fields become life-long friendships. In the afterword, Spradlin explains the ancient Japanese samurai code of Bushido, “that an enemy who surrendered was considered beneath contempt and owed nothing.” This meant the American prisoners were not to be treated as human beings, starved and mistreated in any number of condoned ways. Historically well presented, told through Henry’s eyes, Spradlin’s tale also honors Australians who were strong U.S. allies. Unfortunately, when the U.S. soldiers return home, many are not treated as they deserve to be. History buffs and fans of war stories will enjoy this story of brutal captivity, bravery, and brotherhood among soldiers. Reviewer: cj bott; Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
07/01/2017
Gr 7 Up—Fifteen-year-old Henry Forrest lost his mother when he was seven. Since then, even Henry's grandfather can't convince Henry's father to stop beating the teen. The grandfather and Henry sneak off to a Marines recruitment office, where the boy lies about his age. It's 1941, and the United States is about to face its most shocking attack, at Pearl Harbor, and Henry is right in the middle of it. He's been stationed in the Philippines, which has been bombed by Japan. His gunnery sergeant, McAdams, and his good friend Jamison have his back. But Henry's courage and maturity are truly tested when the Japanese capture his regiment and he, his friends, and hundreds of other American soldiers are forced into an internment camp on a tiny island in the Pacific. Henry's temper and his reaction to injustice earn him more than his share of beatings and a reputation. As days turn into months, and then years, the protagonist fights to stay grounded. Full of graphic detail and horrific scenes, this novel neither shies from nor glorifies Henry's story. VERDICT Sensitive readers may find the portrayal of violence excessive, but the reality of war is realistically presented. An engaging addition to a history of World War II unit as well as a powerful read.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools
Kirkus Reviews
2017-03-29
A teenage Marine endures the horrific brutalities of the Bataan Death March and a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines in this intense historical novel. To escape the physical abuse of his alcoholic father, 15-year-old Henry Forrest, a white boy from Duluth, lies about his age to join the Marines but finds himself facing far worse than his own father's cruelty when his unit is sent to the Philippines. A month after Pearl Harbor is attacked, the Japanese invade the islands and U.S. forces fight them on the Bataan Peninsula until forced to surrender. Among his fellow captives, Henry finds kindness, respect, even brotherhood. His squad sergeant serves as a father figure. The events depicted in the novel are factual, and Spradlin's descriptions of the brutalities perpetrated against the POWs and the horrendous conditions of their prison camp are gut-wrenchingly vivid. His characterizations, however, lack nuance. The Japanese are one-dimensional villains: cruel, brutal, cowardly, and stupid. The Americans feel like stock characters from a John Wayne war film: fearlessly courageous, stoic in their suffering, nearly superhuman in their endurance, unfailingly caring for one another, and resolute in their faith that the U.S. will triumph. A harrowing but not particularly substantive story of war and survival. (Historical fiction. 12-17)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545857833
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
06/27/2017
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
428,611
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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