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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pure Grit is Certainly True Grit

Pure Grit: How WWII Nurses in the Pacific Survived Combat and Prison CampPure Grit: How WWII Nurses in the Pacific Survived Combat and Prison Camp by Mary Cronk Farrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are watching the current Masterpiece program, The Crimson Field, about nurses serving the British Army during World War I, then this book about real US Army and Navy nurses serving in the Philippines during World War II is a don't miss. Having enlisted in the 1930's and shipped to the Islands, these women had no idea that they would find themselves attacked by the Japanese immediately after the Naval Fleet was sunk at Pearl, stranded when no ships were available to rescue them and MacArthur had been ordered to Australia, evacuated to Corregidor and then shipped back to Manila when that island was also overrun.

Their experiences caring for the thousands of military and civilian victims both before and after their internment as POWs are devastating. All survived though many suffered lifetime physical and emotional trauma once released and brought home. The story of the Government's refusal to treat them at VA hospitals or to allow them any disability compensation is heart-rending. Looking at the pictures of these mostly single young women and reading about several of them in detail made it impossible to realize that they are all dead now and most died in their late 80's and early 90's.

Such a short book, only 133 pages, but such a large story. Mary Cronk Farrell brings these women back to life. She includes a bibliography for further reading, a glossary, a list of all the nurses who served at this time in this place and their home towns, websites for more information, notes on each of the chapters. The reader can stop with this book or if the topic interests them follow some of the pathways provided to delve further. Either way, you'll never be the same or take the women in service for granted.

This was a free uncorrected proof provided me by Goodreads to review.

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