Item description for Father Found by Duane Heisinger...
Overview Father Found reconnects a son with his father, who had volunteered from the California National Guard in pre-World War II days for active duty in the Philippines. War commenced and after time on Bataan and Corregidor, the father became a POW in early 1942. Shifted through numerous POW camps over three years, he was placed on the last prison ship to Japan three weeks before American forces arrived in the area. After two different bombing attacks he died, seven months before war's end. The author weaves the story through interviews with men who knew his father, who were in the same camps, and who experienced and endured similar conditions. The story is told primarily from first-hand reports, diaries, journals, and scraps of paper, often buried and later recovered or hand carried to liberation. The few twenty-five word POW cards that arrived from the camps are shared. Letters to the family from surviving friends give glimpses of life, friendships made, and stories told. The author examines the war years within the hopes, concerns, and feelings of both POWs and families at home. The author tells of his own journey over these years as his research and memory provided it.
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Navy Captain Duane Heisinger (1930-2006) May 7, 2006
Capt. Heisinger does a fabulous job of researching and writing about a subject that needs more telling in today's society. His research is produced from personal diaries, letters, war crimes trials, and many recently released public documents.
It is an emotional and powerful account of the atrocities commited by a brutal Japanese enemy against American POW's during WWII. The treatment accorded by the Japanese resulted in the mutilation and/or death of a very high percentage of our young POW's - including the author's own father.
Through his exellent research and writing Capt. Heisinger helps us learn - and remember - the World War II prisoners of war who endured torture and captivity on Japanese ships between 1944 and 1945. Capt. Heisinger was also instrumental in the building of a memorial in the Philippines to these POW's.
We are to be forever grateful for this fine piece of work done during the final years of Heisinger's life. Sadly, we learn of his recent death.
Captain Duane Heisinger, USN (Ret) of Centreville, Virginia passed away May 2, 2006, at age 75 from lung cancer. He was born in 1930 and raised in Fresno, Calif. After two years at Fresno State College and a year in the Air Force, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, and then served 30 years in the Navy. He served on two ship commands and three combat tours in Vietnam and had more than 11 years in overseas intelligence assignments including three years as defense attache in London, England.
A powerful, gripping and well researched book Aug 19, 2003
Father found is a well-written, thoroughly researched and powerful account of the life of Americans who served in the Philippines during WWII and their subsequent years as prisoners of the imperial japanese. Most of the accounts from this period of time are told in the first person, by those few who survived (Give Us This Day, by Sidney Stewart, for example). What sets this book apart from others is that it is a historical perspective told from the notes, diaries, stories of several survivors; rather than one. Thus, one gets a more robust picture of POW existence. The author's goal in writing the book is to try and trace his father's life from just before WWII until his death a few months before the surrender of Japan. While the initial parts of the book are focused on the author's father exclusively, the presentation of the material makes for reading that any reader can relate to. As the war progressed the author found less and less first hand information from his father and the book slowly becomes an historical perspective on POW survival under the most grizzly and barbaric conditions imaginable. The author makes a strong effort to understand how any group of people could carry out such atrocities on another. Although he finds no justification for the actions of the japanese authorities toward the prisoners, he delves into many of the radical differences between the American and the Japanese cultures which contributed to the extreme conditions. The author did an excellent job of researching his topic; from diaries, national archives, war crime trial transcripts and interviews. As a final personal triumph the author is able to track down where his father's remains were buried in Hawaii. Thus, the book is a triumph for the author in two ways: he finds out more about who his father was and he finds his final resting place. Be advised this book is not for the faint of heart. The conditions endured by the POWs are worse than any words can describe.
Excellent Jun 4, 2003
Father Found is a son's quest to know his father who was killed as a POW in the Philippines during WW II. The book is very well-written and extremely well-researched. The author, Duane Heisinger, gives a very broad description of the POW experience at the hands of the Japanese. He offers a fresh perspective of how the war challenged ordinary men thrown into the conflict of war and how these men answered the call to be extraordinary. He is very fair in his account describing how challenged men succeeded and at times failed. The author describes what happened in the context of why it happened and the effect it had on those involved. By using a wide spectrum of resources including first hand interviews, diaries, and unpublished military documents, Mr. Heisinger gives an extremely broad account of the POW experience that is more universal than many of the autobiographies written. As a researcher of my own grandfather's experience, I find the material new, accurate and comprehensive. While Mr. Heisinger is unable to answer many haunting questions regarding his father, he is honest and avoids any temptation to embellish. I believe the reader will find the author's efforts inspirational and an excellent tribute to these fine men and the families who loved them.