Before business went global after World War II, the people who were mostly sent to interesting places like the Philippines were either diplomats, bankers, mining or other engineers or missionaries. Author Mary McKay Maynard is the daughter of an American mining engineer who was working for a mining company in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor causing the U.S. entry into World War II. Mary and her parents were trapped.
Even though her father had been reassured by General MacArthur personally that there was no reason to flee the islands, the family and several others were trapped. Then a child of elementary school age, who had once been a playmate of MacArthur’s young son, Arthur, Mary tells the story of her family’s time in a remote mining facility in a true jungle. Along with several other Americans and other expatriates, the group hung on, making do, hoping they were remote enough that the Japanese would ignore them.
The story is also told thru entries in her mother’s diary. The family’s courage and resourcefulness helped them to hold out away from Japanese internment even as others in their small community abandoned the remote location.
This book is exactly why I love memoirs and first-hand accounts even more than fiction. While Mary was telling the story through a child’s eyes her mother’s diary entries revealed far more of the emotional strain and personal hardship that the family endured. This was a very compelling book.
Interviews With the Author
For a local newspaper’s interview, click here.
To Listen to NPR’s Bob Edward’s talk with Mary McKay Maynard about her family’s ordeal