Hours after attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers stormed across the Philippine city of Baguio, where seven-year-old Curt Tong, the son of American missionaries, hid with his classmates in the woods near his school. Three weeks later, Curt, his mother, and two sisters were among the nearly five hundred Americans who surrendered to the Japanese army in Baguio. Child of War: A Memoir of World War II Internment in the Philippines is Tong’s touching story of the next three years of his childhood as he endured fear, starvation, sickness, and separation from his father while interned in three different Japanese prison camps on the island of Luzon. Written by the adult Tong looking back on his wartime ordeal, it offers a rich trove of memories about internment life and camp experiences.
“This unique work, a memoir written in a retrospective fashion through the eyes of a child, offers an alternate view of events surrounding the World War II internment of American civilian families by the Japanese. A pre-teen sees different aspects of life in an internment camp which adults may not notice or attach significance to, and yet they tell volumes about camp conditions, the tenor of Japanese treatment, and the nature of the various Japanese commandants. Anyone interested in issues of internment would find this rich and unusual cache of memories eye-opening.” —Frances B. Cogan, author of Captured: The Japanese Internment of American Civilians in the Philippines, 1941–1945
October 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3539-2 / $27.00 (PAPER)