"The stories told in this book – stories from the war, stories from the courtrooms of America, and stories from the State Department and the halls of Congress—are stories that need to be heard. They are entertaining, informative, historically important, at times hopeful, at times disappointing, and always inspirational." — From the foreword by Senators Orrin Hatch and Joseph Biden
The Battling Bastards of Bataan, and all others who paid a dear price for freedom as Pacific Theater prisoners-of-war, deserve—and need—to be remembered. Not just for them, but for us.
Decades-old war abuses are given up-to-the-minute relevance in this book about World War II American soldiers seeking restitution from Japanese companies that used them as slave laborers during the war. Their tale is told by the lawyer representing them, James Parkinson. With the help of a well-known journalist, Parkinson ties the present to the past by interspersing horrific war narrative with modern-day dramas played out in courtrooms and congressional hearing rooms as lawyers, judges, senators, and congressmen debate the merits of a case now known as the JPOW case. In the process, wartime brutality confronts peacetime prosperity, and economics, not military might, determines the outcome.
Using the personal history of one of the veterans he represents—a munitions mechanic from the Army Air Corps named Harold Poole—to illustrate what happened, Parkinson traces a path that began with the infamous Bataan Death March of April 1942 and three and a half years of forced labor, followed by years of silence forced on the veterans by their own government and lingering medical and emotional problems. Readers will be drawn into the case as the extent of the abuse meted out by the Japanese is revealed and the POWs' effort to be compensated unfolds. While Parkinson agrees that there might be legitimate debate over whether the soldiers are entitled to back wages from the Japanese corporations who benefited from their labor, he is adamant that their story be more widely known. With the support of influential senators like Orrin Hatch and Joseph Biden and the publication of this book, he is reaching thousands of Americans.