Sunday, December 1, 2013

We Band of Angels by Elizabeth Norman

Book:  We Band of Angels 

Author:  Elizabeth Norman 

Grade:  B+ 

Recommended To:  Historians.  

I got this book for free on Goodreads as a giveaway.  That, of course, does not influence the grade or the review that I give this book.  But, publishers who give away books on Goodreads do encourage reviews.

I also can't believe that I still have a full day off from work.  This four-day Thanksgiving weekend had done wonders for my life outlook.

I really liked this book.  This book tells the story of a group of Army and Navy nurses stationed in the Philippines during World War II.  This was a cushy assignment until the Japaneses bombed Pearl Harbor and began attacking the Philippines.  The Army and Navy nurses retreated to the Bataan Peninsula and then provided care to the wounded and sick in deplorable conditions.   Soon, the women were captured along with their units and sent to an interment camp for the duration of the war where they endured starvation, boredom, illness, and fear.

This book was interesting because I've read almost nothing about the Pacific Theater during WWII, with the exception of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, which tells a very different story about a POW camp.

We Band of Angels is excellent because it is told from the perspective of many different nurses and includes lots of detail about the conditions of the camp and hospitals and includes excerpts from interviews and journals of the woman that served.   It is also excellent because it follows the women after they leave the Philippines and shows how they were used by the American government for propaganda purposes and then dropped when they were no longer needed.   Interestingly, the last surviving nurse died early in 2013 and the final chapter memorializes her life after her return from war.

I liked this book because it kept my attention.  I don't read a lot of historical books because they often taken me a long time to get into and they push my reading goals off schedule.  I didn't notice that in We Band of Angels, this book was well-paced, never boring, and provided very interesting insight into a part of history that I had never considered.

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fairly quick historical read on a topic that is little explored.

Happy Reading!!

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