In her new book, This Is Really War: The Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines (Chicago Review Press, 2019), Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi presents the largely unknown story of the US Navy nurses captured by the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II. Focusing on what she calls the “twelve anchors,” Lucchesi examines the lives of these women as they lived in prison camps throughout the Philippines, while at the same time continuing to work as nurses, and often the only medical professionals, in each camp. Focusing on the story of navy nurse Dorothy Still, Lucchesi starts at the attack on Pearl Harbor, chronicling the Japanese attack on the Philippines and the capture of thousands of Americans, including Dorothy. The narrative follows Dorothy, Chief Nurse Laura Cobb, and ten other navy nurses who continued to work in a makeshift hospital in the civilian prison camp they were sent to. Recounting their experiences with death, disease, malnutrition, starvation, and overcrowded conditions, This is Really War, follows these “twelve anchors” during the over two years that they spent imprisoned until the prison camps were liberated.
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