Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives

Many years ago, and individual named Nil Whittington offered to teach my wife and me to dance. After a few lessons, she also suggested I funnel my creative energy into writing. I did. Since that time, I have published nine novels and one short story in the Paranormal Comedy, Contemporary Fiction, and Science Fiction genres. Before her death, Nil also requested I consider documenting the story of her husband, Harold Whittington, and Harold's brother, Otto Whittington. As I began to research her request, I was nearly overwhelmed by what I found. I have now completed the book and am under contract with Solstice Publishing to produce it. The book is currently titled Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives. I have provided a blurb for the book below. The book should be available for purchase in a few months.

Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives chronicles the struggles of Harold Whittington and his brother, Otto, from birth through the Great Depression and on to WWII. Otto joined the Army and subsequently endured the surrender of Bataan and the Bataan Death March. During Otto’s 3.5 years as a Japanese POW, he was a slave conscript for building roads in the Philippines. Few POWs survived that duty. Later, after a harrowing trip from the Philippines to Japan on a “Death Ship”, Otto was a slave in the Japanese steel mills. Somehow Otto survived two near beheadings, beriberi, malnutrition, malaria, and torture—and twice the steel mills where he labored were targeted for nuclear destruction. Otto could hear the B-29 circling overhead; only the weather spared him. While Otto struggled through severe torture and sickness, Harold joined the Navy and searched for Otto throughout the Pacific theater whenever his supply ship put into port. After the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Otto escaped the POW camp and made his way to a small POW collection point outside Manila. His exit from Japan was also remarkable because the aircraft to which he was assigned exploded just off the end of the runway. Fortunately he missed his scheduled departure time. Harold subsequently located his brother in Manila, although, after years of torture, Otto did not recognize him. Harold and Otto returned to the USA after the war. Otto became an attorney and Harold became a professor of sociology at Temple Junior College. The incredible lives of these men, fraught with daunting labor, terror, and pain, serves as a poignant example of why they and others like them, are called “The Greatest Generation”. 

I am deeply moved by the lives of Harold and Otto Whittington. These men are true American heroes. I consider it an honor to have been able to produce the story of their lives. I will notify this readership when the book is available for purchase

Thank you for reading,

James L. Hatch


Tina Donahue said...

Wow, their story is amazing, James. Definitely a book that should be read.

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Tina:

I showed one of the Otto Whittington interview tapes to my oldest daughter. She wept. The horror of war in WWII was remarkable. I have served in war zones in the past, but never considered anything like this as a potential reality.

Thanks for your comment.

James Hatch

jean hart stewart said...

What fantastic stories. I'm so glad this is being published...

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Jean:

Before her death, Nil Whittington asked me to write/organize/publish the story. I believe it is one of the most fascinating WWII stories I have ever read. The insight into the Great Depression is also worthy of mention. Wow!