Book Review

Cover design by K. Khokholev




A Walk Through Hell
Deby Jo Ferguson
136 pages, paperback
Publisher: JoNa Books, Box 336 Bedford, IN 47421
ISBN 0-9706725-6-X

Each of us who has the good fortune to come into contact with an eye-witness to history has, in my view, a choice. What they do with the knowledge they have been privileged to have had shared with them, is the crux of the matter. All too many people make polite conversation, and let the opportunity pass.

On the other hand, Deby Jo Ferguson sat down and wrote a book.

The book didn't come easy. As each of the veterans told her their story, they became a part of her life. With each interview, Deby Jo recalls, "it became harder to hold a professional pose. As I watched tears fall from their faces, I asked God to help me through it...so the Veteran could be strong. I know my day to cry will come soon. I'll cry for every POW, who went hungry, was beaten, or treated inhuman by those of his captives," she writes.

We all say "we'll never forget," but the truth is that we do. We spend so much of our time dealing with modern problems, our jobs, our families, our kids, our bills,  that we do forget.  Memorial Day comes around, and we get a memory jog, but it's only a temporary booster shot.

A Walk Through Hell is a shared listening to the 16 veterans of Bataan and Corregidor who sat with Deby Jo and told her their story.  Their stories are simple memories, unhindered by the strictures of formal history, more in the way of a stream of consciousness than a formal sequential telling.

These are the telling of tragic tales,  seasoned by years of a polite society that has no comprehension of the meaning of barbarity.  The last thing you'd expect from a Veteran leading into a description of his trip from the Philippines to Japan on a Hell Ship as "an opportunity...to go to Japan." Yet, in a very matter of fact manner, he relates the story of six weeks with 1500 men in a space for 500, suffering a torpedo hit - in just the same tone as one might speak of a game of golf.

That's what I found most striking about A Walk Through Hell.    It's full of polite understatement.  Perhaps too much an understatement - the Veteran's are so matter-of-fact, about such extraordinary experiences, one is always left wanting to know more. 

It's a sample taste. 

This book costs $15 plus postage and is available through the author directly at

JoNa Books
Box 336
Bedford Indiana 47421













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