Some of you World War II buffs might be interested in this book: Survivor, written by Joplin native and long-time Bolivar resident John Playter, is described by the Library of Congress as a "personal memoir of one soldier's experience in the battle for the Philippines, the Bataan death march, Japanese slave labor camps & escape from the Japanese hell ship, the Shinyo Maru." The 158-page book was published by Southwest Baptist University in 2000. The Library of Congress Control Number is 00711399.
An artillery officer in the Philippines when World War II started, Playter survived 27 months of Japanese captivity and disease only to regain his freedom when an American submarine torpedoed and sank the Japanese prisoner-of-war ship he was on in September 1944. Playter was among 82 survivors; more than 650 American lives were lost. After returning to Missouri Playter married Charlene, his wife of 38 years who died in 1983, whom he met while stationed at the O'Reilly General Hospital in Springfield. He went on to a career that included 25 years as the city engineer for the City of Bolivar. The 85-year old World War II veteran resides in Polk County.
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