Cover image for Pure grit : how American World War II nurses survived battle and prison camp in the Pacific
Title:
Pure grit : how American World War II nurses survived battle and prison camp in the Pacific
ISBN:
9781419710285
Physical Description:
160 pages : illustrations (some color), color maps ; 27 cm
Reading Level:
1000 L Lexile
Summary:
"The story of American nurses serving in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked the islands on December 8, 1941."--Dust jacket.
Holds:

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

In the early 1940s, young women enlisted for peacetime duty as U.S. Army nurses. But when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 blasted the United States into World War II, 101 American Army and Navy nurses serving in the Philippines were suddenly treating wounded and dying soldiers while bombs exploded all around them. The women served in jerry-rigged jungle hospitals on the Bataan Peninsula and in underground tunnels on Corregidor Island. Later, when most of them were captured by the Japanese as prisoners of war, they suffered disease and near-starvation for three years. Pure Grit is a story of sisterhood and suffering, of tragedy and betrayal, of death and life. The women cared for one another, maintained discipline, and honored their vocation to nurse anyone in need--all 101 coming home alive.The book is illustrated with archival photographs and includes an index, glossary, and timeline.Praise for Pure GritSTARRED REVIEW"Details of many nurses' individual trials combine to form a memorable portrayal of their shared experience, one which will emotionally impact readers."--Booklist, starred review"Primary source materials, especially the movingly matter-of-fact recollections of several of the nurses and personal snapshots, bring the story to life."--Kirkus Reviews"Farrell doesn't spare her young readers any grim details . . . She includes the challenges these women faced and the joy they felt on returning home. As awful as history can be, now might be the right time to introduce the next generation to this important period."--The Washington Post"In addition to photographs and helpful maps, the page layouts include facsimiles of the nurses' letters and diaries. Young readers who enjoyed Tanya Lee Stone's Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream will also appreciate this story of courageous women whose story was nearly forgotten."--School Library Journal


Author Notes

Mary C. Farrell is an award-winning journalist and children's book writer. 1Lt. Diane Carlson Evans, ANC RVN served as a nurse in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and founded the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project in 1984.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

"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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

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 carter (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

*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.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2014 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-This well-researched volume tells the story of the army and navy nurses who were stationed in the Philippines during World War II. The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese began bombing the Philippines. The 79 nurses serving there came from different backgrounds: some longed for an escape from farm life, while others sought adventure. All wanted to find meaningful work caring for others. During the bombardment, their subsequent retreat and, finally, their imprisonment by the Japanese, the nurses never stopped taking care of those around them. After months of near starvation, they were finally liberated by American forces in 1945. Yet even when the nurses arrived home, their troubles were not over. Many had difficulty readjusting to life at home; their experiences just didn't fit the paradigm of women's lives in the mid-20th century. As part of her research, Farrell interviewed the last surviving nurse, plus the children of many of the others, and the text is full of primary source documentation. This adds rich detail to make the circumstances all the more real, whether they are the injuries the nurses treated or the horrific conditions in the prison camps. In addition to photographs and helpful maps, the page layouts include facsimiles of the nurses' letters and diaries. Young readers who enjoyed Tanya Lee Stone's Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream will also appreciate this story of courageous women whose story was nearly forgotten.-Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

As World War II began, nearly 100 Navy and Army nurses were stationed in the Philippines, once a lush, desirable duty station and then abruptly one of the more dangerous places these young noncombatants could be. Farrell shines a light on their devastating experiences. Japanese bombing of the Philippines followed almost immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack. With their position becoming untenable, U.S. forces withdrew to Bataan and the island fortress of Corregidor. Nurses, deeply engaged in caring for desperately wounded soldiers, were sent to Bataan. After living on near-starvation rations, the nurses on Bataan were evacuated to Corregidor just hours before the surrender that led to the Bataan Death March. A few were rescued from Corregidor before it too fell to enemy forces, on May 6. The remaining nurses were then imprisoned in harsh, soon horrific, conditions and not released until late winter of 1945. Primary source materials, especially the movingly matter-of-fact recollections of several of the nurses and personal snapshots, bring the story to life. Of particular interest is the almost cavalier disregard for their suffering that the nurses, their health ruined, faced upon release, since they were still not regarded as combatants. A fine purchase for young-adultand adultWorld War II collections that illuminates a previously unexplored aspect of the war. (list of nurses, timeline and extensive endnotes) (Nonfiction. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.