Surviving the Day

This is another book in the group of books that deal with stories of particular people who had been taken prisoner by the Japanese in World War II and what happened to them. This one concerns who was in the Signal Corps in the Philippines before the Japanese invasion.

One of the interesting things he writes about is the attitude of many enlisted men and officers in the Philippines as far as MacArthur went. Terms used include arrogance, lacking courage, haughty, and self-seeking.

He writes about how the Japanese took way more prisoners than they expected to take, and how they treated the prisoners, including on the Bataan Death March.

Since he had been in the signal corps, he was considered a more valuable prisoner than the average foot-soldier, so his initial treatment was not quite as bad, but later on things got to be the normal bad that POWs were subjected to. He gives specific examples of mistreatment.

Another interesting thing was the work system. Regular POWs were expected to work ten hours a day, seven days a week (with every second Sunday off), but officers were not expected to work.

He ended up at a camp in Japan and was able to watch as U.S. planes began attacking Japan, and U.S. ships shelled the area. Sometimes the camp got hit, though.

A frightening statistic is this one: out of every 100 men taken prisoner on Bataan or Corregidor, 57 died as POWs.

The book is interesting, although all these POW books are pretty much the same as the nightmares the people went through were pretty standard everywhere.

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