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Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific Hardcover – February 25, 2014


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 16 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419710281
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419710285
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—This well-researched volume tells the story of the army and navy nurses who were stationed in the Philippines during World War II. The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese began bombing the Philippines. The 79 nurses serving there came from different backgrounds: some longed for an escape from farm life, while others sought adventure. All wanted to find meaningful work caring for others. During the bombardment, their subsequent retreat and, finally, their imprisonment by the Japanese, the nurses never stopped taking care of those around them. After months of near starvation, they were finally liberated by American forces in 1945. Yet even when the nurses arrived home, their troubles were not over. Many had difficulty readjusting to life at home; their experiences just didn't fit the paradigm of women's lives in the mid-20th century. As part of her research, Farrell interviewed the last surviving nurse, plus the children of many of the others, and the text is full of primary source documentation. This adds rich detail to make the circumstances all the more real, whether they are the injuries the nurses treated or the horrific conditions in the prison camps. In addition to photographs and helpful maps, the page layouts include facsimiles of the nurses' letters and diaries. Young readers who enjoyed Tanya Lee Stone's Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream will also appreciate this story of courageous women whose story was nearly forgotten.—Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Farrell chronicles the harrowing story of U.S. Army and Navy nurses based in the Philippines during WWII. After working under enemy fire, they became prisoners of war in two Japanese prison camps, where they continued to nurse soldiers and other captives. As time went on, severe malnutrition and lack of medicine left all the prisoners vulnerable to serious diseases. Still, the women bonded, supporting each other during the years before their release in 1945. The nurses’ return to civilian life was hampered by an unsupportive military and what we now recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder. The first official recognition of their service came in 1983, after many had died. Farrell offers a thoroughly researched account encompassing the experiences of 67 American nurses held as POWs in the Philippines. Well-chosen quotes from interviews, personal accounts, and articles bring their voices into the story, while the many period photos offer intriguing glimpses of the war, the camps, and the women’s later lives. At times the narrative is nearly overwhelmed by the sheer number of experiences recorded and women profiled. But in the end, the details of many nurses’ individual trials combine to form a memorable portrayal of their shared experience, one that will emotionally impact readers. Grades 7-10. --Carolyn Phelan

More About the Author

PURE GRIT: A STORY OF RESILIENCE & SURVIVAL
American forces on Corregidor Island surrendered under a hot sun at noon, May 4, 1942. After five months of brutal combat nursing, 68 American women became Japanese prisoners of war.

The women had arrived in the Philippines unprepared for war and expecting a tropical play land. Rising to the occasion, they were driven to the limits of endurance nursing wounded and dying American soldiers. Now the woman faced the horrors of prison camp--disease, starvation, and humiliation by their guards.

With ingenuity and dedication to duty, the U.S. Army and Navy women set up a hospital for other prisoners, nursing as long as they had the strength to rise from their pallets. For three years behind barbed wire the women would turn suffering into humor, hope and the will to survive. Their pure grit testifies to the resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.

I'm an award-winning author of Children's/YA books and former journalist with a passion for stories about people facing great adversity with courage.

Writing these stories shows me time again that in our darkest moments we have the opportunity to discover our true identity and follow an inner compass toward the greater good.

Both my fiction and non-fiction titles feature little-known true stories of history based on thorough research. Most include an author's note, bibliography and further resources, but they are not dry, scholarly tomes! Confronting grief, adversity and failure in my own life, enables me to write stories with an authentic emotional core.

My books have been named Notable Social Studies Book for Young People, SPUR Award for Best Juvenile Fiction about the American West, Bank Street College List of Best Children's Books, and NY Public Library Best Books for Teens. My journalistic work has received numerous awards for excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists and two Emmy nominations.

For more information about my school and conference presentations visit my website MaryCronkFarrell.com. Say "Hi" while you're there.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I fell in love with this book.
Angie
Like the very best non-fiction books, this one makes me want to learn more.
JyEsky
Thank you for giving us these amazing role models found in PURE GRIT.
Chris Koppelman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JyEsky on March 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was riveting--horrifying, heartbreaking, and somehow inspirational. And all the more so because it is a true story. I'm embarrassed to say that I knew very little about this subject--US military nurses who were taken prisoner in the Philippines during WWII. What these women went through is incredible and how they managed to still do their jobs during their captivity is even more amazing.

Like the very best non-fiction books, this one makes me want to learn more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris Koppelman on February 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished PURE GRIT, and it blew me away. Beautifully written, documented and depicted in words and photographs, I couldn't put it down. I was so overwhelmed by the courage and character of these women. I am floored that I have never heard of this group of heroes; they are truly an important part of our greatest generation. I have two teen-age daughters, and this book is going to be REQUIRED READING for them. I have ordered it for my grandmother, who played her own role in the war, and I will recommend it to all. HUGE kudos to Mary Cronk Farrell who finally told this story. Thank you for giving us these amazing role models found in PURE GRIT.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Diane Burke Fessler on April 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book - very well researched and presents the circumstances of these prisons accurately. I knew some of these nurses, before they left us, when writing my book, NO TIME FOR FEAR, VOICES OF AMERICAN MILITARY NURSES IN WORLD WAR II. They would be so proud to have their stories told in this way. Soon it will be 70 years since these brave women were rescued from the Philippine prison camps, and like the patients they cared for under horrible circumstances, they should never be forgotten.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Angie on May 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I fell in love with the women featured in this book.
I fell in love with their strength, determination, and willpower.
I fell in love with their grit.
I fell in love with this book.

Following the experiences of military nurses stationed, during peacetime, in the Philippines, the book kicks off just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Nurses find themselves thrown into a combat situation as Japanese troops begin bombing American facilities, quickly followed by soldiers on foot.

The strength showed by these women is exemplary and it’s sad that it took this long for their story to be told in the way they deserve. Facing air raids, malaria, dysentery, and everything the jungle has to offer, these army and navy nurses continued to treat combat wounds of the causalities that poured in by the hundreds.

With little to no help coming from the American military (a fact that will still leave you speechless), eventually the nurses are part of an American surrender and moved to a POW camp. Conditions and health continue to deteriorate into severe disease and starvation. Despite all of it – little to no food, barely having the strength to stand, disease ravishing their own bodies and those around them – these amazing women continued to treat the sick and dying around them. No matter the cost.

This book should be required reading , particularly for young girls today who believe the biggest problems they’ll face in life are bad haircuts and not being married on the timetable they’ve crafted in their heads. I can’t say enough good about this astounding group of women and their actions. Author Mary Cronk Farrell has done the world and the women featured a service that was long overdue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Byrne on April 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a story of American Nurses that has interested me for a long time. What they faced in the Philippines in 1942-1945 while prisoners of the Japanese. There has not been too much information about this subject. I believe this to be a true depiction of what they faced and the courageous manner in which they handled it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Floetta on April 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With guts and determination, these young women proved their worth! It's an inspiring sooty for any youngster to read and dream.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Thompson on April 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a riveting account of true heroism from the Army and Navy nurses captured by the Japanese as WWII POWs, with a major theme being that we all have it in us to be strong in the face of adversity. Pictures and other archival research bring the history to life and allow us to see what it was like for these brave women and the soldiers (and civilians) who were in their care while they were interned. I had never heard about this particular piece of history before, and I was fascinating by the telling of it. Written for middle-grade readers, this is a book that can easily be enjoyed by teens and adults as well. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An amazing story! The amount of things we think we know about war when the fact is that there are so many truths and stories that we really know very little. This book started me reading other books about nurses during WWII and has opened my eyes to another history of bravery and sacrifice.
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