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Song of Survival: Women Interned [Paperback]

By Helen Colijn, Turi King, David Hey, M. Steegen (Editor) & Robert Bayley (Contributor)
Our Price $ 13.56  
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Item Number 294063  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 1997
Publisher   White Cloud Press
ISBN  1883991145  
EAN  9781883991142  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Song Of Survival, Helen Colijn's account of her wartime experiences, is a window into a largely overlooked dimension of World War 2 -- the imprisonment of women and children in Southeast Asia by the Japanese and how these prisoners of war responded to their dire circumstances. Held in captivity for nearly four years, more then a third of the women in Helen's camp died of disease or starvation. Yet their courage, faith, resiliency, ingenuity, and camaraderie provide us with enduring lessons on living. Though they had no musical instruments, the women had their voices, and from memory scored classical works for symphony and piano to sing. The music that helped sustain them while in captivity is a lasting and precious gift from these women to a world that has witnessed far too much war. Helen's story reached a mass audience via the motion picture Paradise Road, which is based on the events chronicled in Song Of Survival.

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4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Women   [5402  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Song of Survival  May 31, 2008
This book was educational as well as an enjoyable book to read. I used this book when studying stories of survival. My students really enjoyed listening and reading it.
Stories of women in WWII  May 9, 2007
This is a testimony to the strength of women and the power of music to soothe the soul. Music is a common ground for all people and this true story illustrates how beautiful sounds calm and restore our spirits and, in this story, that of the oppressors. There must be thousands of heroic folks who lived through this terrible war with strength and dignity. I am always glad to find another inspiring story.
Song of Survival  May 3, 2004
I have not yet read the book, certainly plan on reading it. I have however attended aplay this past Friday evening. A local Community Theatre presented it and I was in great awe of their performance. They did great justice to the story line and I am so pleased to have been present. At the end I so wanted to stand up with/for them as they closed with The Captive's Hymn. The message of strength, courage, and spirit were felt by all in attendance. Such strength these women had, makes me proud of my female sisters!
A Moving Message of Faith  Apr 11, 2004
It wasn't long ago that America watched "Paradise Road" in movie theaters across the country. Audiences were captivated with the story of a young girl and her family's struggle to survive imprisonment by the Japanese. Like many moviegoers today, the audience may not have read the inspirational work behind the motion picture. Helen Colijn's Song of Survival is a real story. The experiences that Coljin documents in her work are real. The author gives her readers a glimpse of her life, and that of the other women imprisoned in Southeast Asia by the Japanese during World War II. Readers follow Colijn through the experiences of a shipwreck, being captured, and being imprisoned for three-and-a-half years.

Based on her original manuscript written just after her imprisonment, Colijn's story is one of hope and perseverance. Many other books written by soldiers and survivors of World War II are laden with hardship and sadness especially those books detailing the accounts of brutality of the Japanese during their quest to expand their empire westward through Asia such as The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang. Colijn's story is unique in that it details true survival of not just the body of the imprisoned, but the soul as well. The women of the camp in which Colijn was imprisoned used music to life their spirits and "free their souls" from detainment.

Reading a book such as Song of Survival can open up a new door to the way in which we learn about prisoners of war. Colijn describes disease and starvation leading to the deaths of more than one-third of the population of the camp (Colijn 159-169). "Before our internment was over, twenty-six Dutch children lost their mothers," she says (Colijn 162). But all the while, the women kept their spirits from breaking entirely through singing classical songs and even performing vocal concerts among themselves (Colijn129-146). Colijn gives her readers an idea of the sisterhood within her camp among the prisoners. This feeling of family is often discussed within the realm of the formation of a brotherhood-such as is seen in Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose--of soldiers, but is rarely seen in accounts of imprisonment. The work is so poignant because Colijn is able to draw from true personal experiences.

The author teaches her readers that even during imprisonment, with just a little faith and a little music, souls will have the ability to wander free. By using an effective autobiographical format, Colijn tells her story from a very personal perspective. She recalls the events so vividly that it is impossible for readers not to feel the same emotions that the prisoners felt. Colijn's work is so well crafted that even her feelings of optimism shine through the seemingly unpromising situation. As trite as it may seem, Colijn notes that several women even made "liberation dresses" to wear for the day that their camp was liberated by the Allied forces (Colijn 129).

A book such as Colijn's is an important element in any study of World War II as it not only brings to light the idea of hope in spite of hardship, but it also shows what seems to be a neglected area of war accounts-the struggle of women as prisoners of war. A personal account of the struggles of being imprisoned by the Japanese that is so seasoned with hope is rarely seen. Colijn serves the women of her camp well with Song of Survival. With the work of one author, hundreds of women's stories will live on to be read by future generations who will bear witness to the events taking place-the immense struggle-during World War II. Song of Survival will live on long after the last survivor passes away. It will carry a message of faith and perseverance for the women in Colijn's camp who kept hope alive through their immense personal strength.

Men might not have prevailed like this heroines.  Apr 8, 2003
When one reads of the hardships that Colijn and her fellow inmates lived through, one expects that they would have focused on survival, and thrown all other concerns to the wind. There were some who did, but not others. Many strove to keep a modicum of loveliness in their lives. Sometimes, all they could do was escape to memories of their past, either through daydreaming or conversation. There were instances, however, of actual impact on their current situation, including a refusal of some inmates to lick their plates(though food was scarce), struggles to live in peace and harmony with fellow inmates, and, most of all, the musical peformances.

You might imagine that if you were living in a filthy prison camp where people were dropping like flies, you would owe it to yourself to fight for your survival tooth and nail, even against the other inmates, and the furthest thing from your mind would be music. You would need to look out for number one, period. Colijn believes that many more of them might have perished, or, at least, might not have come out as well, had there not been a commitment to community and beauty in that abject misery. In a sense, this book tells about war heroines.


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