Item description for The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith by Biliana Ally Irving Warner...
This book is based on a true story of the invasion and subsequent occupation of the Island of Attu by the Japanese during WW2. This action was followed by the removal of the occupants of Attu to another island near Japan.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.5" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.02 lbs.
Release Date Oct 15, 2007
Publisher Pleasure Boat Studio
ISBN 1929355335 ISBN13 9781929355334
Availability 68 units. Availability accurate as of Mar 24, 2017 10:16.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith?
The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith Aug 14, 2008
Well Done! This is a must read for WWII buffs and anyone who enjoys a good read with insight into human behavior of captive citizens during war.
Warner skillfully crafts an historical novel from the little known true event of the capture of the natives and one white school teacher on the remote Aleutian island of Attu in Alaska and their subsequent internment in Japan during WWII.
The fictionalized Journal of Lila Ann Smith rings true bcause many of the incidents and descriptions contained within it are carefully researched facts. Through the unique character of Lila Ann Smith, Warner has created a voice for the Attuans and we get detailed insight into their daily hardships and characters.
Warner's best serious work to date Jan 5, 2008
I've been a fan of Warner's work for the past 30 years, so I'll admit my point of view is a bit biased. Nonetheless I can say without reservation that Lila Ann Smith is far and away Warner's most interesting and "real" creation. Much of Warner's past work encompasses very broad humor; his works of fiction often populated with outrageous characters who find themselves in outlandish situations. In contrast, the character of Lila Ann Smith is completely believable, especially when viewed in the context of her times and life experiences. The remarkable thing about this novel is that it draws on the very real, and terribly tragic, experiences of a much-abused community of Alaska Natives. Their story sadly illustrates the fact that truth can be stranger than fiction, which may be why Warner did not need to embellish the plot: it was terrible enough as it really happened.
I especially enjoyed the way Warner chose to reveal much, but not too much, about Lila and her companions. The ambiguities, discreet averting of the eyes, and unanswered questions scattered through the diary reflect just the sort of person Lila would have been. They also reflect the puzzling world she found herself in. Not all events would have been understandable or accessible.
This is a hell of a story told by a master storyteller at the peak of his prowess. If you want a good read, you won't go wrong here.
Review of "The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith" Dec 4, 2007
I have read most of Irving Warner's other writing, including the most recently published "In Memory of Hawks" and "Wagner Descending," and I believe that the "The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith" is by far Warner's most powerful work to date. In fact, I will go so far as to claim that this is an extraordinary piece of literature that will endure.
The War Journal is a historical novel based on the Japanese invasion of the western Aleutian Islands, Alaska, during WWII and the capture, transport to Japan, and internment there for the duration of the war of the Native American (Aleut) population of Attu Island. The Journal is based on extensive research over a period of decades, including the author's interviews with several of the Aleut survivors of the internment. However, this work is more than simply a historical novel. It tells the story through the eyes of a female schoolteacher (Lila Ann Smith) in her late fifties or early sixties who was captured with the Attuans and interned on Japan with them. Warner meticulously, endearingly, and with amazing believability and veracity develops the personality of this fictional schoolteacher. The War Journal is thus literature in the finest sense of the word. It is also an extremely powerful anti-war novel.
I feel that I am in a unique position to criticize this novel. I lived and worked in Alaska over a period of 20 years, and spent one summer in the western Aleutian Islands, including time on Attu Island. Like Lila Ann, I have traveled the length of the Aleutians by ship. In ironic addition, I have for the past four years lived in Japan only a 40-minute train ride away from the town of Otaru, where the Attuans were interned during the war; I have visited Otaru many times. I mention these things to emphasize how faithfully I thought Warner captured the moods and essence of Alaska, the Aleutians, the people of Alaska, and traveling in that vast territory. It is also amazing to me that everything about Japan rings true in this book. To my knowledge, Warner has never traveled to Japan, yet I found no false notes in his descriptions of the interactions between the Japanese and the Aleuts and Lila Ann.
There is something in this book for everyone. If you have never traveled to Alaska and want a feeling of what this magnificent state was and is like, this book will give you that feeling. If you simply like to read a good and rousing story, it is for you. If you are a teacher of English literature, a historian, or an anti-war activist, it is for you. Even though I personally am addicted to pulp mystery novels, once I started it, I couldn't put The War Journal down.
The Courage and Honor of an American Woman Nov 5, 2007
Here is the 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.
Although already an old woman, 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 on Alaska's Aleutian Chain. As the only Caucasians on the island, Osmond would be the Territorial aerographer and radio operator, and Lila Ann would serve as the schoolteacher.
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 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.
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, and 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
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.