Books in Review

This is Really War: The Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines

by Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, PhD

The book focuses on Dorothy and the navy nurse POWs who were prisoners of Japan in WWII. Under the direction of Chief Nurse Laura Cobb, the “Twelve Anchors” maintained rank and provided care to inmates at Santo Tomas prison camp and then Los Banos prison camp.  Most accounts of this time period focus on the army nurses, the “Angels of Bataan.”  My book is the first to focus on the navy nurse POWs. These women were truly the anchors who stopped so many ailing prisoners from drifting.  All twelve women nursed until the end. All twelve nurses came home.

The end of the book documents how Dorothy sought mental health treatment from the navy psychiatrist after liberation. The psychiatrist told her that she was lying about her experience. He said she was neither a sailor nor a soldier and she did not suffer. His response shut her down for decades. In the 1990s, she began documenting her experience and wanting to record the history.  The last line of the book describes how Dorothy died in 2001 and the Navy Nurse Corps performed a flag passing ceremony in her honor. In doing so, they acknowledged her experience and effectively said, “I hear you.”

Make Way for the Lady EnsignAn American Memoir 

by Kay Thompson Baxter

CreateSpace Independent Publishing PlatformMay 4, 2016 – 100 pages


In 1991, Kay Thompson Baxter’s adult children asked her to write her memoir. They wanted to know more about their mother’s life growing up on a farm in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and her experiences as a United States Navy Nurse during World War II. Twenty-five years later, her book remains an eloquent personal history. This powerful, slim volume offers important insights into the military servicewomen of America’s Greatest Generation. Educational, funny, and poignant, MAKE WAY FOR THE LADY ENSIGN: An American Memoir is the autobiography of a gracious and courageous woman. Sally M. Tibbetts: A Bookworm in Cyber Space

Vietnam War Nurses: Personal Accounts of 18 Americans

Eighteen nurses who served in the United States military nurse corps during the Vietnam War present their personal accounts in this book. They represent all military branches and both genders. They served in the theater of combat, in the United States, and in countries allied with the U.S. They served in front line hospitals, hospital ships, large medical centers and small clinics. They speak of caring for casualties during a conflict filled with controversy—and of patriotism, of the nursing profession, of travel and the adventure of friendship and love.

Quiet Heroes: Navy Nurses of the Korean War 1950-1953, Far East Command

by Frances Omori

Navy nurses serving in the Korean War 50 years ago were called, saved lives, and came home quietly.

Military Nursing Books 

An annotated bibliography of  books written by military nurses while serving in wartime, Ellen K. Duvall, member at large, NNCA.