This distinguished book gives us snatches, often in their own words, of the stories of children interned during World War II in Japanese prison camps.
Stolen Childhoods explores the misery of the often separated families, many of which responded with amazing courage, struggling to survive and even contriving, while surrounded by sickness and starvation, to deliver a modicum of education which helped to structure the children’s lives.
Nicola Tyrer attempts not only to recount individual experiences of bereavement, torture and sickness suffered by these children, enlivening their bleak histories with tales of courage, tenacity and even of humour, but to cover the major events of the hostilities.
The shifting of focus, from child to child, from north to south and from one aspect of the war results in a cumbersome construction. A brief summary of the chronology of the Japanese occupation and perhaps an easy-reference map, showing the locations of the camps, would have been helpful. Nevertheless this is an engrossing book, scoring highly not only as a record of appalling events but as a tribute to those who endured them.