Robert J. MrazekFeb 10, 2021
The Indomitable Florence Finch
The Untold Story of a War Widow Turned Resistance Fighter and Savior of American POWs
Hachette Books 2020
Robert J. Mrazek, an author of eleven books and former congressman from New York, has written a gripping account of one the most determine heroines of World War II: The Indomitable Florence Finch: The Untold Story of a War Widow Turned Resistance Fighter and Savior of American POWs (Hachette, 2020). Florence Finch was the widow of an American intelligence officer who died in the Battle of Bataan. Finch pledged to her husband’s memory that she would contribute to the effort to defeat the Japanese Army after it consolidated its control over the Philippines in 1941-42. Soon Finch was organizing fuel shipments under the Japanese occupiers’ noses and selling fuel on the black market in order to provide medicine and food for American POWs imprisoned in the Philippines. Finch did not merely play a small part in the Philippine resistance; she was central to the survival of American military and other civilian prisoners. Mrazek also tells the story of Carl Engelhart, a supervisor and friend of Finch, who became a POW from the fall of Bataan to the last days of the Pacific war. Finch’s covert supply effort was one of the reasons he survived his POW experience. Mrazek has used letters, audiotapes, an unpublished memoir, and other archival sources to present Finch’s compelling tale of resistance.
Ian J. Drake is Associate Professor of Jurisprudence, Montclair State University.