Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Warriors in the Crossfire, by Nancy Bo Flood (fiction) - Pacific island incident World War II

book cover of Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood published by Front Street Books
So many small "incidents of war" go unchronicled, unrecognized. But just imagine their effects on the families whose lands and lives the battles cross and re-cross. Go to Saipan during WWII, during the Japanese Occupation, during the erasure of a traditional way of life in this gripping book.

Book info: Warriors in the Crossfire / by Nancy Bo Flood. Front Street Books, 2010. [author's website] [publisher website]

Recommendation: Eager to learn to steer ocean outrigger canoes, Joseph instead must watch as the invading Japanese army makes islander men clear the jungle for runways rather than fishing to feed their families. Instead of sitting in the men’s council of his clan on his 14th birthday, Joseph is searching for shore crabs and coconuts. Instead of school time with his half-Japanese cousin Kento, he has only worry for his family and a mental map of the hidden cave where his father stockpiled water and food as whispered words warned of the approaching American forces.

When the message to vanish comes, Joseph must lead his mother, sister, and toddler nephew silently through the jungle, armed only with his father’s ceremonial knife. As fighter planes scream overhead, the family huddles in the tiny cave and hopes the water jugs will last. Which soldiers will find them first – the Japanese, who will behead them for treachery to the Emperor, or the white-faced Americans, who might eat them?

Can honor and family both stay alive in such horror? Will the Japanese use all the Rafalawash people of Saipan as a human wall against the American invaders? Will Joseph see his father or cousin again in this lifetime?

The battles of World War II overran the native populations of many Pacific Islands, and their death tolls rarely count the thousands of islanders who also perished in the crossfire. (one of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a story. You've really captured my interest both as a human being and as someone with Japanese relatives and friends. I love the site design, too. How beautiful.



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