Ex-STIC internee, Rupert Wilkinson, has just released his new book, Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp: Life and Liberation at Santo Tomás, Manila, in World War II
During World War II, the Japanese imprisoned more American civilians at Manilas Santo Tomás prison camp than anywhere else, along with British and other nationalities. Placing the camps story in the wider history of the Pacific war, this book tells how it went through a drastic change, from good conditions in the early days to impending mass starvation, before its dramatic rescue by US Army flying columns.
Interned as a small boy with his mother and older sister, the author shows the many ways in which the camps internees handled imprisonment and their liberation afterwards. He uses a wealth of Santo Tomas memoirs and diaries, as well as interviews with ex-internees and veteran army liberators.
The book reveals how children re-invented their own society, while adults coped with crowded dormitories, evaded sex restrictions, and smuggled in food. It shows how humor kept up morale; and how a strong internee government dealt with its Japanese overlords as they tightened the screws. Using portraits of Japanese officials, the book explores their attitudes and behavior, ranging from sadistic cruelty to humane cooperation, and asks philosophical questions about atrocity and moral responsibility.
Rupert Wilkinson is Emeritus Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Sussex (UK). He has published ten books on aspects of American and British society.
Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp: Life and Liberation at Santo Tomás, Manila, in World War II
McFarland ISBN 978-0-7864-6570-5 . Also e-book.
With 43 photos and internee drawings, and three maps.