Friday, August 11, 2017

Soon to be Released: Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives

I am hoping for a release date for my newest book, Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives, on or before September 15, 2017--national POW/MIA Recognition Day. That would be fitting. I have provided the "back cover" description of the book below. 

Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives chronicles the struggles of Harold Whittington and his brother, Otto, from birth through the Great Depression and on to WW II. 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 was preceded by another that exploded just off the end of the runway. He watched the bodies fall but took it in stride; death was a daily occurrence for all POWs. 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.”

Thank you for reading,

James L. Hatch


jean hart stewart said...

That's an incredible story and it must have been harrowing to write. Much, much success with this. Brave men should never be forgotten.

Tina Donahue said...

Congrats on your upcoming release, James. Sounds amazing.

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Jean and Tina. Jean's comment is right on the mark. The book is impossible to read without tears -- also impossible to edit. The brutal inhumanity told first-hand in the book is riveting, yet horribly sad. I hope my first attempt at true events will be well received. Thank you for your good wishes.

Fiona McGier said...

One of my uncles lived through the Bataan Death March also...and what other horrors, I have no idea. He became an alcoholic after the war, and there were no social services available for vets in those days. He's long gone, and took his stories with him.

I don't know if they are the "Greatest Generation," as much as they were the greatest tested generation. I think there are good, strong people in every generation. I pray we won't have to find out anytime in the near future, what we're all made of, as those brave men and women had to.