Rising from the Shadow of the Sun

Rising from the Shadow of the Sun ebook 300 Publication Date: November 14, 2015
ISBN/EAN13: 1519299583 / 9781519299581
Page Count: 400

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The audiobook for Rising from the Shadow of the Sun came out in December 2018! Here’s the YouTube video for it:

Kirkus Review says Rising from the Shadow of the Sun is

An unflinching account of one family’s fight to survive Japanese occupation during World War II.

“Herman de Jong, a Dutch immigrant to the United States, chronicles how she; her mother, Netty; and her younger sister, Paula, survived imprisonment by Japanese forces on the Indonesian island of Java. Using her deceased mother’s diary entries about the war, the author recreates her wartime childhood.

“Before the war reached the island, the author’s father, Fokko Herman, was a pilot with the Dutch naval air force. Netty, a homemaker, made sure that the children had birthday parties and visits from St. Nicholas, despite growing global tensions. There were daily air raid drills, then bombings. When Japanese forces occupied Java in 1942, Fokko was forced to go to war and leave his family behind.

“Netty, Paula, and the author faced illnesses, monsoons, and other difficulties while interned by the Japanese. In 1944, they were transferred to a particularly brutal camp, and Netty’s recollections describe scenes of suffering: Prisoners lived on strict portions of rice, slept in crowded barracks, and often died from malnutrition, edema, or torture.

“The account of Netty’s fight to keep herself and her children alive is intercut with Fokko’s desperate search for his family members. Overall, Herman de Jong delivers a shocking story of sacrifice, brutality, and faith in these pages.

“Her writing, alongside Netty’s diary entries, is consistently strong over the course of the book, although some of the later chapters begin to feel overlong. Even so, readers will cheer when the family is reunited at the end of the war, and they’ll admire Netty, an ordinary woman who refused to give up in the face of cruelty. Along with family snapshots, Herman de Jong includes photos and other documentation of the Java camps, which are educational and sobering.

“An eye-opening remembrance that focuses on a courageous mother and her children.” — Kirkus Reviews


Rising from the Shadow of the Sun brings the horror and losses of World War II on Java off the battlefields and military POW camps and into the world of Ronny Herman, who is barely three years old in 1942 when the Japanese conquer Java and force her family into prison camps where they would suffer until 1945.

This second edition of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, A Story of Love, Survival and Joy exemplifies the power of positive thinking, of hope, of perseverance even in the most perilous and life threatening situations and of a mother’s love for her children, surpassing even the tragedy of death.

Jeannette Herman-Louwerse, Netty, a young mother incarcerated by the Japanese on the island of Java during World War Two with her two little girls Ronny and Paula, endures starvation, harsh punishments and diseases for almost four years. They barely survive.

In a secret diary, at the risk of being tortured and killed had it been detected, Netty writes letters to her parents in the German-occupied Netherlands, and gives an accurate historical account of the Japanese invasion and the lives of women and children interned under the brutal regime of the Japanese. She describes the years of physical and psychological suffering, but also the hope, faith, solidarity and resilience that keep the imprisoned women alive.

Netty’s husband Fokko, a pilot with the Dutch Naval Air Force, stationed in Surabaya, escapes with his squadron hours before the Japanese submarines encircle the island. Working under British command in Sri Lanka, Fokko’s story is chronicled along the same timeline as that of his wife and children; he, too, survives.

Ten years after the war Ronny continues her education in the Netherlands. She earns a B.A. in English Literature from Leiden University and marries an ambitious young man. After the birth of two daughters and a son they emigrate to California in 1972. The close-knit family serves as a strong basis for the ups and downs in Ronny’s life.

Setting goals and fulfilling dreams, Ronny frequently visits her parents in the Netherlands. She translates her mother’s diary and based on that publishes her first book In the Shadow of the Sun in 1992. After her father passes away the bond with her mother grows even stronger.

The first edition of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, A Story of Love, Survival and Joy, published in 2011 includes Ronny’s memoir and the Japanese War Crimes Files. This second edition commemorates her mother’s life: it’s the complete story.

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Trailer for Rising from the Shadow of the Sun