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The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith

by Irving Warner

      At the age of 61, Lila Ann Smith and her husband, Osmond, traveled to the distant village of Chichigof on the island of Attu, the very last island of Alaska's Aleutian Chain. Osmond was to serve as the territorial aerographer and radio operator, and Lila Ann as the island schoolteacher. They were the only Caucasians on the island. Lila Ann was a faithful journal keeper and posted daily when she could until 1945, when World War II ended. This book is based on those journals, along with extensive research of this historic event.

In 1942, the Japanese military invaded America and occupied the island of Attu for nearly two years. Osmond was killed immediately, and Lila Ann placed under arrest. Some of the other residents of the island were also killed during the invasion, though they didn't resist the invaders. Eventually, Lila Ann and the other Attu islanders were removed to Japan and held there for the remainder of the war.

Lila Ann's journals tell of having previously survived three wars and now struggling to survive the fourth. Her missionary parents and brother were murdered in China during the Boxer Rebellion. Now as an old lady, she must undergo the deprivation and torture of a prisoner of war in Japan, struggling with the language barrier, starvation, freezing cold, and the loss of husband and friends.

Irving Warner has penned a heartbreaking story of the resilience and courage of one woman and a segment of American History that few people know about. History buffs will especially relish this slice of America-at-war through the eyes of this spirited lady who earned the respect of the enemy who held her captive.

Be prepared to read through to the end...this book is hard to put down. Lila Ann was eloquent in her journal entries, and Warner writes with great depth and intensity of the honor and bravery required for Lila Ann to triumph against the odds.

The Book

Pleasure Boat Studio
October 15, 2007
1929355335 / 978-1929355334
Fiction / Historical
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The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2007
© 2007