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Lists of Books and Film Documentaries

Pertaining to WWII In the Philippines





A Lovely Little War

Angus Lorenzen – History Publishing Co.


The child, Angus Lorenzen with his mother and sister, Lucy, escapes from China in 1941 only to be re-routed to Manila just in time for the Japanese Imperial Army’s invasion of the Philippines. His telling of the three years in the infamous Santo Tomas prison camp is the tale herein. After the liberation and the Battle for Manila  is completed, the boy brings his life a new dimension back in England. Today he is active in ex-prisoner of war activities as the Commander of BACEPOW – Bay Area Civilian Ex-POW organization. His book is an important legacy for WWII nhistory and the many unknown atrocities and intimacies of the Japanese Imperial War mongers propelled by the Chrysanthemum Crown.


Only A Matter of Days

Caroline Bailey Pratt – Merriam Press


Editing and publishing her father’s diary of the inner laws and regulations  of the war years of the civilian prisoners in Santo Tomas prison camp in Manila, Caroline brings to the reader/researcher vital and important information on the exacting organization  of prison life.  As the Treasurer of the Philippine Red Cross/American National Red Cross and as Chief of the Finance and Supplies Committee, Faye Cook Bailey keeps meticulous and true records on the procurement, feeding, caring of prisoners,  and establishing ground rules with the Japanese Commandant’s orders. His official camp rosters of prisoners were particularly important in the final analysis. This book is of great importance to historian and researchers.


Happy Life Blues

Cecily Marshall – Angus MacGregor Books – Clinton, MA


For the Mattock’s family, marauders in the hills of Mindanao, cobra nests under mattresses, slicing wounds from cogon grass, tossed on high seas in open bancas and perils of raining bullets strafing them on land, remain the daily encounters and  legacies of a path well trampled on by the vicissitudes of war.  From Happy Life Blues Japanese Prison Camp to eventually Santo Tomas camp in 1944, Cecily reminds us that the miracle of the human body and the human mind is the durable, fragile, and expendable miracle that we believe in, which under great adversity of war and imprisonment can survive.


Manila Memories

Juergen Goldhagen – Old Guard Press – United Kingdom


Four boy hood friends remember their lives before, during and after the Japanese occupation in Manila in these personal narratives retold sixty five years later. Roderick Hall, Hans Hoeflein, Hans Walser and Juergen Goldhagen have combined all of their experiences into this book using written and oral interviews and personal memories. Their Swiss, German, Italian & Spanish heritage kept them out of the prison camps so their dangerous and exacting war experiences were vastly different from their classmates who were herded into civilian camps.  Many surprising and often disturbing atrocities link these friend’s history in peacetime and war to a significant aftermath of their liberation – sweet freedom.



Encounters – A Lifetime Spent Crossing Cultural Frontiers

Nancy Keeney Forster- Presidio Press


A carefree child of expatriate parents at age ten, a prisoner of the Japanese at seventeen, a valued source of intelligence to the U.S. military at nineteen, and a fervent advocate of public diplomacy throughout his long career as a Foreign Service officer, Cliff Forster spent his life crossing and re-crossing frontiers, determined to use dialogue, not conflict, to solve differences between people and nations.  This skillfully written memoir of two extraordinary lives, is written by his widow, Nancy, of a life well spent by serving others on the international scene.


Abandoned on Bataan

Oliver (Red) Allen with Mildred Allen– Crimson Horse


This book describes several specific means of “hell” inflicted upon these prisoners of war who were known as the Bataan Death Marchers- Words do not adequately describe these men and their determination to live and survive against all odds.  The devastating March of Death of over 60 miles – The cruel, unimaginable experiences of military camps, brutal travel on Japanese Hell Ships, and forced labor for Japanese factories and mines will make one ask, “Could I have risen above all that suffering and degradation?” Oliver and Mildred Allen tells his story with great detail and respect, ever mindful of their responsibility to tell the real story of many Filipino and American soldiers who were Abandoned on Bataan.


We Band of Angels

Elizabeth Norman – Atria


The amazing story of the U.S. Army nurses stationed on Bataan, Corregidor , and imprisoned in Santo Tomas prison camp in Manila. Each woman has their own incredible story to share. This is an eye opening tale of intrigue, determination and bravery in WWII, by a band of angels who struggled with hunger, illness and deprivation of freedom while caring for their patients under fire. They are to be saluted with great pride and bravado for their role in the war.


The Rescue

Steven Trent Smith – John Wiley & Sons Publishing – Hoboken, N.J.


The submarine rescue of 40 Americans trapped in the Philippines on the island of Negros – the capture of Japan’s Z Plan(the decisive battle strategy for destroying the U.S. Pacific Fleet), and  the climactic battle of the Philippine Sea , is the core of a fantastic adventure of this real life drama. Smith’s brilliant and meticulous research, and an eye for detail, makes this true WWII story an engaging and dynamic tale to sink your teeth into.


God’s Arms Around Us

William Moule – Blue Dolphi


December 8, 1941. William R. Moule, American miner working in the Philippines, his wife, who was expecting a baby, and their two  young children found themselves trapped by the invading Japanese  Rather than go into a concentration camp with other civilians – and believing the war to soon be over – the Moules took to the mountains. This book tells the story of what happens after that. This is a book to challenge your mind and prompt you to think, “What would I have done?”


The Battle for Manila

Connaughton, Pimlott & Anderson – Presidio Press


Three educators and military historians of the famed Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst recount the devastation that was The Battle of Manila. The aftermath of the over month long battle from February 3, 1945 – March 4th, 1945 still remains the great tragedy deeply engraved on the hearts of all Filipinos, and in the memories of the diminishing band of U.S. Pacific War Veterans.  The analytical views of both the Japanese and U.S. military bears the responsibility of one of the most devastating battles ever fought in WWII. The massacres which were deliberately executed on Filipinos and allied civilians by the retreating Japanese during the Battle for Manila will forever be fodder for historians, researchers and those family members left behind. The eternal question - liberation or destruction, still remains.



Angels at Dawn

The Los Banos Raid – Lt. Gen. E.M. Flanagan, USA (Ret) – Presidio Press


This is a story of intricate and resourceful staff planning; well trained, disciplined, battle tested troops; extraordinary heroism by brave young prisoners; heroics by fractious guerrilla bands; and appropriate and reasoned decision making by tactically sound commanders on the ground. Paratroopers of the 11th Airborne, a recon platoon and hard hitting guerrillas hit the Los Banos civilian prison camp in unison. Rescuing all the 2,122 prisoners and moving them behind enemy lines was a disciplined operation resulting in a satisfying mission to beat all rescues – not without the bitter sweet operations ending in a devastating reprisal.


That We May Live

Grace Nash – SHANO Publications – Scottsdale, AZ


For Grace Nash, the First Violinist of the Manila Symphony and a young American mother, life was anything but routine during the war in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines. After finding out Grace and other women were pregnant, the Commandant issued an edict that these women should be banished in exile outside the prison gates. Husbands were put in small cells as a punishment.


The story of her pregnancy on a small island with other pregnant women, old soldiers and ex-prostitutes is a horror story that should never have happened.  Her family who was forced apart were finally reunited and sent to Los Banos prison in the country till their sweet liberation by the 11th Airborne. Their subsequent return to the states and freedoms’ aftershocks of civilization tells an all encompassing story of WWII.


The Rape of Nanking

Iris Chang – Basic Books –


This is the story of the Forgotten Holocaust of WWII. Amazingly, the story of this atrocity-one of the worst in world history-continues to be denied by the Japanese government. This book attempts to analyze the degree to which the Japanese government and it’s militaristic culture fostered in the Japanese soldier a total disregard for human life. The death toll at Nanking exceeded the immediate deaths from the atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


How Sweet the Mango, No? – The Journey of a Hispanic Amerasian 

Mathias Mendezona -


Set in the Philippines, in a coconut farm in Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao, this book takes the reader into a time shortly before WWII and into the late nineties. Struggles of a man with his land, conflicting identities and true heritage, the story weaves through family, social and political struggles, taking the option of finding heartbreaking rest in the “motherland.” The New Peoples Army, the behind the scenes of the Marcos regime and the consequent allure of Core Aquino, the nations

next Presidential election and it’s aftermath, will give you pause to re-acquaint yourself with Philippine history.


The Rescue of Santo Tomas –The Flying Column-100 Miles to Freedom 

Robert B. Holland – Turner Publishing Company


This story is a significant part of WWII history told by one Marine who was part of the miraculous “Flying Column” of the U.S. Army 1st cavalry Division. The Marine, author, Robert B. Holland, and seven of the former prisoners of Santo Tomas prison camp, tell this story of incarceration and liberation. Prewar history of the American experience in the Philippines is included, along with the detailed events and planning of the returning U.S. forces of the Liberation campaign in 1945.


Bob Holland was a unique friend for many years to the prisoners he helped liberate.



Recipe from an Oyster – A Memoir

Doreen Gandy Wiley – Published by Media Weavers LLC


Intimate vignettes of travel, living abroad and spending WWII in the Philippines, are told by the author as she vividly describes her personal pain after she and her family arrive as refugees in the United States.  Her writings about personal battles with her new life, ultimately resulting in spiritual growth, is reflected in deeply felt prose and poetry. “It is those who love us who make the difference.”


TERRY-The Inspiring Story of a Little Girl’s Survival as a POW During WWII.


This is a story of survival in spite of disease, starvation, and death’s beckoning. Terry’s unconquerable spirit as an eight to eleven year old prisoner of war is a reminder that even in the most deplorable circumstances life is what you make it. From harboring General Douglas MacArthur, his family and staff, with President Manuel Quezon of the Philippines on their plantation in Mindanao, from the vilest of situations of Happy Life Blues Prison, to the liberation of their Santo Tomas prison camp in Manila by the First Cavalry Division-her family survives to enjoy freedom once again. A riveting story awaits the reader.


A Culinary Journey – Recipes and Reminiscences of an American Diplomat’s Wife -  - by Nancy Keeney Forster – In Nancy Forster’s award-winning memoir, Encounters: A Lifetime Spent Crossing Cultural Frontiers, she relates her life as a diplomat’s wife of Cliff Forster, a Foreign Service Officer, who’s first days on the job overseas was in Manila. No stranger to the Philippines, Cliff spent several years as a prisoner of the Japanese in WWII.

Nancy’s role as diplomatic hostess in distant lands offered her the opportunity to learn the international cuisines that came with her travels. She weaves cultural history and vignettes about the author’s dining companions in foreign lands. A treat in culinary travels makes for a unique collection of memoirs.


War Diary of Grace E. Sehorn - compiled and edited by her family.

From her birthplace in a small Sacramento Valley town of Nicholas on September 19, 1890, to her graduation from Stanford University in 1914, Grace’s adventure in life was just beginning. Marrying Blair Sehorn, their lives propelled them to the mountain province of Baguio where her husband was employed by the Benguet Consolidated Mining Company in the Philippines.

From the onset of WWII to their over 3 year incarceration in a civilian prison camp, Grace’s Diary reveals the abuse of the Japanese Imperial Army, the malnutrition suffered by her family, and the spirit they had to muster for survival and welfare.  Her storyer H will tug at ones emotions.


BEHIND THE WALLS-The True Story of a Teenage Prisoner of War- by Rosemary Stagner Flynn – To Purchase: Contact: FLYNN – Behind the Walls – PO Box 1813-Santa Clarita, CA-91387-USA

When teenager, Rosemary Stagner and her family of six were caught at the  hands of the Japanese at the beginning of WWII in the Philippines, life changed from  simple and peaceful into a drastically and dangerous situation.

From fleeing to the hills for safety, to be thrown into cells at the notorious Fort Santiago by Japanese Kempetai, to include the torture of their father for information, their situation became dyer. The eventual imprisonment into the Santo Tomas Prison Camp in Manila was their final destination – a place they would call home for the next 37 months. Unbelievable situations were commonplace.

With malnutrition and disease, dodging artillery fire, bombings and mortar fire as their daily fare, the family welcomed liberation by the Flying Column - 1st Cavalry Division and the 44th Tank Battalion on February 3, 1945. Their new life of freedom and a return to civilization had just begun.


The True - IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN – Story Of A Young Family Interned On Java During Japanese Occupation, 1941-1945 – by Ronny Herman - Vanderheide Publishing Co. Ltd

On March 1, 1942 the Japanese Imperial Military landed in three different places on the north coast of Java, while Vice-Admiral Helfrich, Commander of Naval Forces in the Dutch East Indies, departed on the same day with his staff for Colombo on Ceylon, in order to continue to lead the Dutch navy from that point.

On March 8, almost 100,000 Dutch and native troops surrendered, along with 5,000 Australians, British and Americans. Thus, large groups of civilian, men, women and children were locked up in concentration camps, only to suffer extreme cruelty and malnutrition at the hands of the Japanese. This book tells the story of a young Dutch family, interned in those unimaginable horrors of war in the Pacific.

Ronny Herman was born and raised in Surabaia, Indonesia and was interned in a Japanese concentration camp with her mother and little sister. This is Ronnys first book, and is based on her mother’s diary and family recollections. Ronny’s father was a pilot with the Dutch East Indies Naval Air Force in Soerabaja when the Japanese entered their lives. Then life took an unbelievable turn for the worse for the family, as anxieties, frustrations, disease, malnutrition and danger became only too real.

This is Ronnie Herman DeJonge’s first book. RISING FROM THE SHADOW OF THE SUN, is Mrs. DeJonge’s sequel book which will appear in an issue of Beyond the Wire and BACEPOW’s web page.



On the cover of this book is a statement that reads: “The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War.” Sixty seven years later this story was brought to light in an amazing forgotten tale of how ten American prisoners-of-war and two Filipino convicts survived a daring escape from the notorious Davao Penal Colony on the southern Philippine Island of Mindanao.

The white knuckle events of danger and harrowing atrocities of escape were well executed by these amazing ex-Bataan Death March and Corregidor survivors in their quest for freedom. Back on US soil, to tell America about Japanese atrocities, the group finds that their government had put an order in place to seal their stories to the world. Ordering the men to stay silent was an assurance that the remaining thousands of POWS would not be executed or treated more harshly, as well as the premature efforts of the Philippine plans for liberation would not be compromised.  Eventually, when their story was finally told, they became celebrities as the nation stood fast and strong behind the Pacific war effort. Because of war time security of military materials, this full story was only able to come to the surface with the recent declassification of sealed records. The author Lukacs spent years of researching materials - travels to camp and war sights - and interviewing with key captives and family to bring this amazing story back to the world. A documentary is in progress about Escape from Davao. Look for John Lukacs new book on the Battle of Manila, which will be published in 2014.





The War

Ken Burns - Plus an Accompanying Book by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns – Knopf


Two participants of this documentary share their personal experiences of WWII in the Philippines. A US soldier-Bataan veteran, Glen Frazier, and a civilian prisoner of the Japanese, Sascha Weinzheimer Jansen, are featured in this Ken Burns historical presentation.


Victims of Circumstance

Lou Gopal and Michelle Bunn Kawayan Productions


The Philippine – American experience during WWII in the Philippines is the subject matter of this compelling film presentation. The stories of civilian camp experiences are told by allied prisoners who were caught during the over 3 year devastation caused by the Japanese Imperial Military


Secret War in the Pacific

Peter Parsons & Lucky Guillermo – Spyron


The story of Commander Charles “Chick”Parsons. The man General Douglas MacArthur called, “The Bravest Man He Had Ever Known.” A man of multitude talent, bravery and dedication to the war efforts in the Philippines, Chick Parson’s escape and eventual return to his adopted country under siege are heralded in this film presentation.


Unsurrendered – 100 Voices

Parsons/Guillermo – Spyron


The Filipino “guerrillas and bolo men” became an underground army of almost 300,000 during WWII in the Philippines. Without the guts, heroic efforts and fighting skills of these brave men, willing to risk their lives for the Filipino American cause, the end of the war may have had a different ending.  Mac Arthur returned to the Philippines in 1944. This is their 100 voices.











Civilian Philippine Internment

Research and Rosters