I read this in January, and it was one of my favorite books that month--a good opening to the new year.
The title belongs to Florence, and she ties everything together, but this is as much about the invasion of the Philippines by Imperial Japan as it is about Florence.
Florence was working at the G-2 (Intelligence) Headquarters in Manila under the command of Lt. Colonel E.C. (Carl) Engelhart when she met and married Charles (Bing) Smith, USN. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Bing reported to his PT boat and was involved in the defense of Corregidor where he died in action. They had been married for only six months.
Engelhart was captured after the fall of Corregidor and sent to a POW camp in Cabanatuan, where he began keeping a record of his time in captivity and the help provided by Florence and others to the POWs.
Disturbing to me was the failure of General MacArthur to act according to the strategic plan in place (a when, not if, the Japanese continued their encroachment in the Pacific). Had he done so, the outcome in the Philippines may have been different.
Florence managed to obtain work with the Japanese-controlled Philippine Liquid Fuel Distributing Union, and working with the Philippine Underground, she was able to divert fuel supplies to the resistance. She also worked with others to smuggle in food and medicine to the POWs. The consequences of being caught meant torture and probable death.
In 1944, the Japanese finally caught on. Florence was arrested and tortured. When finally rescued by American forces in 1945, she weighed only 80 pounds.
I've only touched briefly on some of the events in the book, but it was well-written and fascinating. The documentation of the work is extensive, and in large part, from primary sources.
Read in January; blog review scheduled for June 1, 2020.
Biography/Memoir/WWII. June 16, 2020. Print length: 368 pages.