Academic journal article Military Review

Surviving the Day: An American POW in Japan

Academic journal article Military Review

Surviving the Day: An American POW in Japan

Article excerpt

SURVIVING THE DAY: An American POW in Japan by Frank J. Grady and Rebecca Dickson. 275 pages. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. 1997. $32.95.

Frank Grady describes himself as a Corregidor "tunnel rat." Grady, a professional soldier commissioned in 1940, was promoted to captain at the beginning of World War II. Later, while visiting Bataan, an old friend, still a second lieutenant, challenged him: "How in the . . . world did you become a captain? I'm over here taking bombs while you're in the tunnel taking messages." Grady writes, "He was right. But I could not make him a captain, much as he deserved it." This objectivity and honesty runs throughout Grady's account of his 40 months as a Japanese prisoner of war (POW), raising it well above the level of most POW stories.

Grady also describes the Japanese he encountered as human beings-not monsters with ape faces. Some of his captors were cruel and abusive after the war Grady testified at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal against them, two of whom were executed. But 50 years later, Grady also remembers and honors the Japanese who treated him with humanity and kindness.

Although much of Grady's experience was similar to that of other prisoners, he was far luckier than most. Although captured on Corregidor, he was not subjected to the Bataan Death March and intemment at the "charnel house" at Camp O'Donnell, where thousands of Filipinos and Americans died. …

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