HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 10 no. 2 (2010)

Fiction as Fact: False Memories of WWII in the Philippines

Michael J. Houlahan

Discipline: History, Philippine



This book is a personal account of abuse to the author and her mother by the Japanese during World War II in the Philippines. It covers the author’s childhood, concentrating on slightly more than three years ending when she was 11. During this period, Ms. Finch writes that she and her mother were held as civilian Prisoners of War (POW) and slave laborers in a series of camps in the Philippines, China and Japan. Her tale is lively, interesting, and reasonably well-written. However, it contains descriptions of alleged Japanese atrocities that did not happen. It also contains “eyewitness” testimony that is impossible to believe. The author appears to have conflated, exaggerated, and sometimes invented events in the Philippines and elsewhere, and then placed herself and her mother in the midst of them.