Under the Java Moon by Heather B. Moore: 4.5****

What a fantastic book! Author Heather B. Moore has done a marvelous job blending the true story of Rita Vischer into a gripping historical fiction novel about the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) just prior to the Japanese attack and occupation of what is now known as Indonesia. This is a story that needs to be told, about survival and courage and by using the actual events and people in the NEI we see a part of WW2 that is never seen or covered here in the US. We follow the Vischer family and the horrid plight of the women and children in a prison camp. It is tough to read, but not gory. But it is what these people had to put up with for 3 years of Japanese occupation. We also follow George for portion of the book as he is ordered by the navy to try and make a desperate attempt to get to Australia and help form a counter attack. That fails and we see the privation that he is also subjected to. Each chapter begins with a quote from an actual survivor of one of the NEI camps which leads into the focus of each chapter. Men, women, children are all subjected to brutal conditions, and we also see the crazed command of Captain Sonei, who is pure evil and subjects the women and children to roll calls two to three times per day, some lasting as long as 6-hours. This is a book you need to read.. As the prisoners are reduced to one meal per day of porridge, and even must go so far as eating or using grass for sustenance. On minor infraction can lead to multiple days of no food,. The conditions were inhumane and I wonder how they compared to life in the Nazi camps, or even the US Civil War camp at Andersonville, GA? Even after the Japanese surrender the problems persist as native Indonesians attack and kill anyone they can find who is Dutch. Yes it is war and, yes war his Hell, but mans inhumanity to man is here in this book and we need to confront this issue. For the Vischer family goodness and hope survive but for so many others the outcomes were just brutal, A spectacular book in my opinion. 4.5****

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