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Memories and family stories weave together to provide a personal understanding of the WWII Japanese invasion and occupation of the Philippines. Married at age twelve to a thirty-year-old American, Hipolita bore nine children before her husband’s death. The young widow faced the 1941 invasion of Leyte alone, taking her American looking family into hiding in the mountains before being forced to live under Japanese occupation. Her youngest daughter chronicles the atrocities of war, the surprising skills needed to survive, and the unlikely love that created a family strong enough to come through each devastating turn of the war. First-hand memories of the grim realities of occupation, the bloody assault of the U.S forces for the liberation of Leyte; MacArthur’s landing at Red Beach, the desperate struggle by the Japanese forces to take back the island, and the ongoing bombings by the Japanese on the American-held island are a legacy of war that this powerful memoir ensures will not be forgotten. Though the fearsome Kempetei, the Japanese secret police, ravaged her beautiful home, Hipolita and her family returned and rebuilt, an iconic example of the strength of family to overcome even the most desperate times.
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The wife of the late Leonel J. Castillo, one of the co-founders of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Houston International University, Evelyn survived the Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands during WWII. Evelyn lives in Houston, Texas, and spends her time with her children and nine grandchildren.
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