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Living Hell: The Prisoners of Santo Tomas (Based on the Diaries of Isla Corfield)

Living Hell: The Prisoners of Santo Tomas (Based on the Diaries of Isla Corfield) [Kindle Edition]

Celia Lucas , Isla Corfield
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Santo Tomas Internment Camp.

Once a university campus in Manila, from 1942 to 145 it was the largest prison camp in the Philippines, a place where civilians were placed by the Japanese.

But to the women locked up there it was something else.

A Living Hell.

More than 4,000 internees were held there from January 1942 until February 1945.

'Living Hell' is their harrowing story.

The book is based on the diaries of Isla Corfield.

An Englishwoman whose comfortable life in Shanghai was suddenly disrupted by the outbreak of World War Two, she fled with her daughter Gill on an evacuee ship.

But the ship was captured by the Japanese -- and Isla and Gill would have to struggle to survive as prisoners of war in both Santo Tomas and Los Banos internment camps.

In the communities of the camps, Isla and her daughter experienced the extremes of both friendship and loss. Cut-off from information about the war and with no end to their internment in sight, the pair experience starvation, disease and desperation.

Finally liberated by the Americans after four years, Isla's story is both humbling and life-affirming - the story of one brave Englishwomen's battle to survive against terrible odds.

It is one of the great untold stories of World War Two.

"An incredible story of bravery and will-power." - Robert Foster, best-selling author of 'The Lunar Code'.

Celia Lucas is a writer of children’s fiction and biography. She is a journalist, feature writer and public relations consultant. Winner of Tir na Nog Prize 1988 she has also collaborated on a TV series with husband Ian Skidmore.

Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 480 KB
  • Print Length: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Endeavour Press Ltd.; 1 edition (17 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CEZ20EI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #44,021 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read 29 May 2013
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Had difficulties putting the book down, a piece of WW2 history that I had seen snippets of now this book has filled out the knowledge, difficult to imagine what these people went through and what gave them the strength to carry on day by day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and Honest 8 May 2013
Although many parts of this book are hard to read - I felt enriched having reached the end.

Isla Corfield's story is incredible, the sheer will to survive that she shows alongside her daughter is uplifting. It's the small details of everyday life in the camp and the revealing sentences on what things become most important that inspires the reader. It's not just the slow starvation that shocks, but also the lack of information to reach them inside the camp. For years Isla has no real concept of the outide world and struggles to try and stave off disease, fights, threats and even boredom. Her diary is her salvation and she pours her heart and hope into it.

What happens in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp is horredous, but also the sense of community they create is interesting. Taken to the brink of death and suffering, the internees in these camps also showed so much courage and humanity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing but Incredible Story 22 April 2013
Based on the diaries of Isla Corfield, Living Hell is an incredible story of survival. In one of the less written-about theatres of WWII, The Philippines, Isla's story is about being interned with thousands of Americans/Australians and British by the Japanese. What starts off as an uncomfortable life, having to share their privacy with many people in a University campus - becomes a Living Hell. Isla and her daughter face incredible hardship, I almost couldn't bear the descriptions of starvation, punishment by the Japanese and rife diseases such as `beriberi'. Isla's daughter enters the camp with her as a child and leaves as an adult. Isla constantly worries that she's not at school and for four years has no education or steady upbringing. Isla spends much of her time there with no word on her relatives and concerned whether her son is even alive. By the end of their time at the two camps however, basic survival is the only concern. Food, shelter, clean water and not being shot.

Completely cut-off from all information regarding the war, Isla and her fellow internees had no idea if they would ever survive such horror.

The amazing thing about this book however is this is a story not only of hardship, but also friendship. Isla and her fellow internees find joy in re-creating events like Christmas, games and her diary was full of songs and encouraging words between people sharing a similar experience. An amazing true story, and one that left me uplifted despite the descriptions of adversity.
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By Jim
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Very informative
Would recommend that it should be taught in school
Also would like to see a documentrary made rea
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written 26 Feb 2014
By Nonna
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A story of an ordinary woman & her daughter surviving extraordinary events as prisoners of the Japanese in the Philippines! Couldn't put it down! Read in one sitting!
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