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Land of the Morning Review by Heidi StrawserJean McAnlis McMurdie
American Home School Publishing, LLC
PO Box 570
Cameron, MO 64429
The subtitle of Land of the Morning is A Civilian Internee's Poignant Memories of Sunshine and Shadows, and that perfectly describes this book. The author, Jean McAnlis McMurdie, starts out this book by sharing her childhood memories ("sunshine") of being born to a missionary couple serving in the Philippines. She describes her home life, her schooling, and the ethnic foods they learned to prepare and enjoy. She introduces other missionary families and even includes pictures.
The book goes on to describe how Jean's carefree childhood abruptly ended in December 1941 (when Jean was just 12 years old). Just four days after their attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded Jean's hometown, which sent Jean, her siblings, and her parents on an amazing and heartwrenching adventure few of us can even imagine ("shadows"). The McAnlis family suffered through several years of internment, humiliation, and starvation. Finally, on February 23, 1945, the day many Americans remember for the familiar "raising of the flag at Iwo Jima", Jean and her family (along with the other internees) were finally free!
I enjoyed reading Jean's story. Despite hardships I cannot even fathom, she does not complain. I believe that many lives were probably touched by watching the McAnlis family (and the other missionaries) and their reactions to their captivity and treatment. God was using them in a very special way.
It was refreshing to me to read of World War II from a different perspective than we usually hear. I know, from spending brief amounts of time in a foreign country, that we Americans tend to be sheltered when it comes to war. I would highly recommend this book to anyone of high school age and up, and I think it would make a fantastic supplemental reading during a study of World War II.