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Guests of the Emperor: The Secret History of Japan's Mukden POW Camp Hardcover – June 15, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In WWII more than 2,000 American, British, and Australian soldiers were transferred from POW camps in the Philippines and Southeast Asia to the largest single Japanese POW camp in existence, at Mukden, China (now Shenyang). There, they were used as forced labor for Japanese manufacturing giant Mitsubishi, best known at the time for the famed Zero fighter, in open violation of the Geneva Conventions. Conditions at Mukden were brutal, with freezing temperatures, routine beatings, forced malnourishment, and the withholding of medicine. One chilling report referenced the testing of biological weapons on the American prisoners. Much has been written about the conditions in German POW camps of the same period, but even the Nazi Party wasn't willing to risk disregarding the Geneva Conventions. Japan, however, never contemplated the possibility of defeat, or its repercussions, and this secret history shows not only the extent of their arrogance and brutality during the war to end all wars, but also the resilience and determination of the allied prisoners. (Aug.) (c)
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About the Author

Linda Goetz Holmes, was the first Pacific War historian appointed to advise the government s Interagency Working Group declassifying documents on World War II crimes. The author of Unjust Enrichment: How Japan's Companies Built Postwar Fortunes Using American POWs and 4000 Bowls of Rice: A Prisoner of War Comes Home, she lives in Shelter Island, NY.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; First Edition edition (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591143772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591143772
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,210,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joel R. VINE VOICE on July 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Guests of the Emperor: the Secret History of Japan's Mukden POW Camp," by Linda Goetz Holmes, examines one of the darker chapters of World War II history. This is the story of more than 1,500 American prisoners of war who were captured in the opening stages of the Pacific war. Many of these men were captured in the Philippines as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's opening assaults against the Americans in 1941. The Japanese forced these men to march 60 miles across the Philippines - the Bataan Death March was just the beginning of the Hell these men would endure.

The Mitsubishi Corporation needed additional skilled workers for their factories. Against the Geneva Convention, the Japanese culled `skilled' workers from the prisoners in the Philippines and put them on a Hell ship destined for China. The men were forced to live in fetid conditions during the voyage. They joined additional British and Australian prisoners who were shipped from the failed defense of Singapore. From here, these men were transported to the Mukden prisoner camp where the men became slave labor for the Japanese war effort.

There seemed to be no end to the war crimes of the Japanese. While at Mukden, the nefarious Unit 731 came to the camp to subject the men to medical experiments.

Holmes draws on personal interviews from some of the remaining survivors, local Chinese witnesses, and official records from both American and Japanese archives. The stories are complemented with numerous black & white photographs and hand drawings. She did an excellent job of researching and retelling the story of this regrettable chapter of World War II.

I highly recommend this book for readers interested in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
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Format: Hardcover
Linda spent over ten years of research in the story of the Bataan Death March American POWs who suffered under the Japanese brutality and the torrid sun. They were transported by hell ship to Pushan, Korea and continued their way to the POW camp in Mukden, Manchuria. American POWs were preferred for their labor and technology in order to supply Japan's war effort. It was a violation of Geneva Conventions. They were nevertheless exploited as slave labor in making Mitsubishi airplane parts. Americans had creative ways to sabotage and slow the production. It was a horror story that Americans were subject to experiments by the germ warfare factory of Unit 731 frequent visits. The chapter "The man in a cage" detailed the personal account of Sgt. Herman Castillo in an animal treatment of a human guinea pig.

In the bitter cold frozen Manchuria, mal-nutrition POWs suffered with little medicine and care with a high death rate. International Red Cross to the camp was done in a show case. Japanese captors withdrew the relief supplies with window dressing. Americans were subject to hard labor along with the embarrassment of the American team leadership of Major Stanley Hankins. Many died of pneumonia exposure, starvation and untreated diseases from malnutrition. It is heart-warming to read about that recently Professor Yang connected to the relatives many years after Sgt. William Lynch being executed after escape capture. It would be an honor to bring his remain home . British intelligent intercepted on the Japanese communication on methods for execution - mass bombing, poisonous smoke, poisons, drowning, decapitation on prisons on Japan's surrender or a breakout (P.
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Format: Hardcover
Ms. Linda Goetz Holmes has filled in a blank in our history lessons taught at schools. This book reveals some dark side in history that should have been known to all. For too long we have only focused on the stories about innocent victims of the Atom bombs and those civilian Japanese-Americans who have been put inside camps, but left out serious exposure of Japanese war crimes against other Asians and Americans. The fact that the nefarious Unit 731 and its crimes were not yet well-known here speaks out for itself on how much we should be better educated, and much of this was due to the cold war mentality. As things happened too fast and enemies became friends too soon, a great deal of truth has been deliberately covered up and ignored. Thanks to Ms. Holmes (as if the name bears any connection with Sherlock Holmes), now the truth has been discovered eventually.
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Sad part of history. But within 10 years I lived in Japan as a Marine and found the people to be like our, sometimes run by corrupt leaders.
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