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We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese
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April 2018: Strong Women > We Band of Angels / Elizabeth Norman - 5*****

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6407 comments We Band of Angels The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese by Elizabeth M. Norman
We Band of Angels – Elizabeth M. Norman
5*****

Subtitle: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese

Norman details the personal stories of the nurses and civilians as well as the historical events that led to their interment. These women had signed on for an “exotic” duty station in the tropics. When they applied for transfers to the Philippines they expected – and got - clean, spacious housing units, interesting work in military hospitals, and a lively social life of dances, sports events, concerts, etc, They were treating some wounds – mostly incurred in vehicular or training accidents – but mostly handled the sorts of things that civilian hospitals manage – hernias, appendicitis, infections, as well as maternity and pediatric issues of the military members’ dependents.

Then the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the American military bases in the Philippines and suddenly the medical staffs were consumed with combat wounds. They were cut off from regular supply channels and had to move to increasingly primitive “hospitals.” At one point the wards of wounded were nothing more than hundreds of bamboo beds and pallets arrayed in the open jungle. And the medical staff added tropical diseases and malnutrition to the problems they addressed (and that they, themselves, suffered).

When the US surrendered Bataan and then Corregidor to the Japanese, the women were interred in a camp at the former Santo Tomas University campus in Manila. They spent three years there until finally rescued by the American forces.

But their ordeal was far from over. Brought back to the US as heroes, they were nevertheless slighted when it came to military decorations and honors. And they all suffered continued health problems throughout their lives as a result of their experiences. History all but forgot all about them.

Norman did extensive research and was able to interview a number of the surviving nurses as well as the families of others who had passed on. Their story is gripping and inspiring. Brava!



LINK to my review


message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments This looks like an excellent addition to my new collection of nonfiction about historical women who have been overlooked but seriously kicked butt.

Sound about right?!?

Also this sounds like it may have had some incredibly sad parts.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6407 comments Nicole R wrote: "This looks like an excellent addition to my new collection of nonfiction about historical women who have been overlooked but seriously kicked butt.

Sound about right?!?..."


I think you nailed it!

I didn't think any of it was sad, though it's distressing to read about what they suffered.


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2105 comments Sounds like a great story.

I love Mark Twain's quote "Truth Is Stranger than Fiction, But It Is Because Fiction Is Obliged to Stick to Possibilities; Truth Isn’t"

I feel this way about all the people overlooked through history. Their stories are way better than fiction.


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