In September, 1940, Jesse L. Miller, a twenty-year-old from Casper, Wyoming, entered the U.S. Army Air Corps to pursue his chosen avocation of photography. Over the next five years he experienced some of the most brutal treatment of modern warfare. His is truly a remarkable story. Miller’s book represents his World War II experiences, including the surprise attack on Clark Field in the Philippines, the Battle of Bataan, the Bataan Death March, O’Donnell Hell Camp, Cabanatuan Prison Camp #1, Bilibid Camp, his transportation aboard one of the hell ships, and his slavery in Japan; but it also represents his sermons where he spoke of those horrendous imprisonment experiences. Throughout all the pain and suffering, Miller’s faith became stronger and in some instances he hoped to be with Him, his Lord, before the day was done. Miller felt that he was spared his life to bring others to the words of Christ.
Of all the men, both Filipino and American, who surrendered at Bataan, 65% did not survive the brutal imprisonment of the Japanese Imperial Forces. Unlike my uncle Charles Gregory, a member of Jesse Miller’s 20th Pursuit Squadron, 20th Pursuit Group, U.S. Army Air Corps, Miller survived along with Charles’ other friends, Ernest Loy, Nelson Quast, and Winifred Agnes. Other friends of Charles Gregory and Jesse Miller survived as well, including Jack Elkins, Ben Steele, Bob Mailheau, and Sydney Stewart. These Air Corpsmen were part of only 35% percent that survived. I believe that they were fortunate enough to share those experiences with others. Some of them have written or been written about in several books including, Give Us This Day, Tears in the Darkness, Resolve, and Captured Honor.
This author’s story is remarkable and uplifting. His strong faith in Christ is extremely admirable. Miller suffered from beatings, starvation, dysentery, beriberi, malaria, slavery, and humiliation, but throughout it all, he became stronger and always realized that Christ had suffered far worse than he.
After Miller’s liberation and repatriation to the U.S., the author returned to The Philippines to preach the gospel. He is truly a heroic, selfless believer. Additionally, in this book, there is a great deal of first-hand artwork by Ben Steele, one of Miller’s fellow survivors. I strongly recommend this book because it can be an anchor in the storm, especially the storm, trials, and tribulations experienced in today’s society! This book brings to mind the words from Romans 5:3-4 … but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings perseverance; and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope… Prisoner of Hope is an inspiring read.