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ALL THIS HELL: U.S. NURSES IMPRISONED BY THE JAPANESE, by Evelyn M. Monahan &amp Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, The University Press of Kentucky, 264 pages, $22.50.

THE sweeping success of the Japanese in the western Pacific following Pearl Harbor resulted in huge numbers of American fatalities and prisoners of war. Among those captured by the Japanese were more than 70 army nurses stationed in the Philippines and a lesser number of navy nurses, including some on Guam. All This Hell tells their story and shows that even in the prison camps, while suffering degradation and starvation and often in a state of terror, the nurses carried out their duties as well as conditions allowed.

Author Evelyn M. Monahan, a retired psychologist, served as an army medic during the Vietnam era, and co-author Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee worked as a navy nurse and has since held clinical and administrative positions within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The authors conducted numerous interviews with prisoner of war nurses for this book, including one woman who remarked, “Even though women were not supposed to be on the front lines, on the front lines we were. Women were not supposed to be interned either, but it happened to us. People should know what we endured. People should know what we can endure.”

As well as ably telling the story of what women can tolerate in the service of their country, the authors give a stirring account of the fighting that took place on Bataan and Corregidor at that time.

JONAS L. GOLDSTEIN is a retired naval officer and has earned postgraduate degrees in history, management, and library science