Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp: Life and Liberation at Santo Tomas, Manila, in World War II

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McFarland, Nov 20, 2013 - History - 248 pages
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During World War II the Japanese imprisoned more American civilians at Manila's Santo Tomas prison camp than anywhere else, along with British and other nationalities. Placing the camp's story in the wider history of the Pacific war, this book tells how the camp went through a drastic change, from good conditions in the early days to impending mass starvation, before its dramatic rescue by U.S. Army "flying columns." Interned as a small boy with his mother and older sister, the author shows the many ways in which the camp's internees handled imprisonment--and their liberation afterwards. Using a wealth of Santo Tomas memoirs and diaries, plus interviews with other ex-internees and veteran army liberators, he reveals how children reinvented their own society, while adults coped with crowded dormitories, evaded sex restrictions, smuggled in food, and through a strong internee government, dealt with their Japanese overlords. The text explores the attitudes and behavior of Japanese officials, ranging from sadistic cruelty to humane cooperation, and asks philosophical questions about atrocity and moral responsibility.
 

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Contents

Telling the Santo Tomás Story
1
1 War Clouds Over Eden
9
2 Internment
24
3 A Porous Prison
35
4 Dorms Shanties and Sex
49
5 Cheer Up Everythings Going to Be Lousy
68
6 Childs Play
82
The Japanese
94
11 Theyre Here
143
12 Aftermath
157
13 Signifi cance
178
Chronology
193
The Camps Ten Commandments
198
The Literature of Santo Tomás
200
Chapter Notes
203
Bibliography
221

The Internees
104
9 Hunger
116
10 Threat vs Hope
132

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About the author (2013)

Rupert Wilkinson is emeritus professor of American Studies and History at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. He has published ten books on aspects of American and British society. He lives in London.

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