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About Elizabeth Norman
In 1990, Elizabeth published her first book, Women at War: The Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam 1965-1973, (University of Pennsylvania Press). The first edition of We Band of Angels was published in 1999. Ten years later, she co-authored Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath (Picador and Farrar Straus & Giroux) which made The New York Times list of top ten nonfiction books in 2009 and was named a 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Her awards include an official commendation for her research on women veterans from the U.S. Department of the Army.
She is delighted to have the opportunity to update the story of the remarkable group of women in We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Women Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese (2013) Random House paperback and ebook. This 2nd edition has been updated with a new ending titled, Last Woman Standing.
She and her co-author Michael Norman are working on a non-fiction book on Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City to be published by Henry Holt Inc /Macmillan.
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But the worst was yet to come. After Bataan and Corregidor fell, the nurses were herded into internment camps where they would endure three years of fear, brutality, and starvation. Once liberated, they returned to an America that at first celebrated them, but later refused to honor their leaders with the medals they clearly deserved. Here, in letters, diaries, and riveting firsthand accounts, is the story of what really happened during those dark days, woven together in a deeply affecting saga of women in war.
Praise for We Band of Angels
“Gripping . . . a war story in which the main characters never kill one of the enemy, or even shoot at him, but are nevertheless heroes . . . Americans today should thank God we had such women.”—Stephen E. Ambrose
“Remarkable and uplifting.”—USA Today
“[Elizabeth M. Norman] brings a quiet, scholarly voice to this narrative. . . . In just a little over six months these women had turned from plucky young girls on a mild adventure to authentic heroes. . . . Every page of this history is fascinating.”—Carolyn See, The Washington Post
“Riveting . . . poignant and powerful.”—The Dallas Morning News
Winner of the Lavinia Dock Award for historical scholarship, the American Academy of Nursing National Media Award, and the Agnes Dillon Randolph Award
Tears in the Darkness is an altogether new look at World War II that exposes the myths of war and shows the extent of suffering and loss on both sides.
For the first four months of 1942, U.S., Filipino, and Japanese soldiers fought what was America's first major land battle of World War II, the battle for the tiny Philippine peninsula of Bataan. It ended with the surrender of 76,000 Filipinos and Americans, the single largest defeat in American military history.
The defeat, though, was only the beginning, as Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman make dramatically clear in this powerfully original book. From then until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the prisoners of war suffered an ordeal of unparalleled cruelty and savagery: forty-one months of captivity, starvation rations, dehydration, hard labor, deadly disease, and torture—far from the machinations of General Douglas MacArthur.
The Normans bring to the story remarkable feats of reportage and literary empathy. Their protagonist, Ben Steele, is a figure out of Hemingway: a young cowboy turned sketch artist from Montana who joined the army to see the world. Juxtaposed against Steele's story and the sobering tale of the Death March and its aftermath is the story of a number of Japanese soldiers.
Norman tells the dramatic story of fifty women—members of the Army, Navy, and Air Force Nurse Corps—who went to war, working in military hospitals, aboard ships, and with air evacuation squadrons during the Vietnam War. Here, in a moving narrative, the women talk about why they went to war, the experiences they had while they were there, and how war affected them physically, emotionally, and spiritually.