Trustworthy, loyal, obedient, clean and reverent...
Publisher: Dissident Voice
Date Written: 19/06/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21121
Book review of 'The Hotel Tacloban' by Douglas Valentine.
The history of the prisoner-of-war camp known as "Hotel Tacloban", because of its proximity to the eponymous provincial capital of the Philippine island of Leyte, might never have been told. Douglas Jr. and Douglas Sr. were not on the best of terms--quite aside from the generational conflict and the political turmoil caused by the war against Vietnam. The author's father was not among those proud veterans with stories or anecdotes (real or fabricated) from their days in "the War". He belonged to none of the typical veterans' organisations, viewing them more with contempt than respect. Had Douglas Sr.'s GP not prescribed telling his story as a way to relieve his illnesses -- after multiple heart attacks, open heart surgery and decades suffering from malaria (which officially he never had), he may never have lived to tell. Father and son had to create a basis of communication virtually from scratch. This is probably why the book is so successful in its aim to present the story accurately and why it is free from the sentimentality that makes treacle out of most memoirs. Although unsentimental The Hotel Tacloban is saturated with unstated but real empathy for the person whose story is recorded. In fact, this empathy was so powerful that former CIA director William Colby granted Douglas Valentine the key interview that would lead to his landmark study The Phoenix Program.