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New Book to be Released: Coming of Age in War-Torn Guam

Justo and his family starting their journey from their ranch home in Machananao for the concentration camp in Mangenggon. Image copyright by Judy Selk Flores.

The WWII Memoirs of Justo Torre Leon Guerrero

Told from his memories through a child’s viewpoint, forced into manhood too quickly, his story is one of humble compassion and surprising insight.”
— Judy Selk Flores

HAGATNA, GUAM, USA, April 22, 2021 / -- Guamology Inc. is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Coming of Age in War-Torn Guam, the WWII Memoirs of Justo Torre Leon Guerrero. This 116-page, full color, hardbound book recounts the experiences of a twelve-year-old Chamorro adolescent through his transition to a war-worn teenager of 15 years-old.

At 91, Tun Justo shares his WWII experiences that impacted the choices he made in later life. Like many war survivors, he did not speak of his experiences until late in life. This is one of only a handful of published eyewitness accounts to the plight of residents of Guam during the war. It is a valuable resource for future generations.

His story starts as he was anticipating playing with his friends and the food his mother was preparing for the feast of Santa Marian Kamalin. Instead, the day would end with his family fleeing the Hagåtña home for their ranch in Machananao, Northern Guam. Over the next three years he would learn how to live in uncertain times under a foreign Japanese administration. Like many, his family endured the tragedy of the death of extended family members, the torture and near death of his older brother and his own forced labor.

Figure 1: Justo and his family starting their journey from their ranch home in Machananao for the concentration camp in Manenggon. Image copyright by Judy Selk Flores.

The book also contains a preface by Nicole Calvo, author of The Ragdoll and the Marine, a foreward, by Shannon Murphy, Editor Emeritus of and an introduction by his daughter, Jillette Leon-Guerrero. The book contains historical images of Guam during WWII and is illustrated with original artwork by Judy Selk Flores. Flores spent time speaking with Tun Justo while driving him around the island to revisit the locations and memories he describes in the book. Local artists Ric Castro and Odyessa San Nicolas also contributed artwork. The book was designed and laid out by Ron and Mary Castro.

Guamology Inc. launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to be able to donate copies of the book to island school libraries both public and private. This was made possible through the generous donations of many on and off island supporters.

Pre-sale of the book is currently underway at the discounted rate of $30.00. The regular retail price of the book is $40.00. Pre-sales of the book can be ordered at until 8 May. The books are expected to arrive on island by Monday.

A socially distanced book launch is planned for 1 May 2021 at the Lobby Lounge, Dusit Thani. Pre-sale orders can be purchased and picked up at the book launch. They can also be mailed or delivered after the book launch. A silent auction of the original batiks by Judy Flores will be held at the event. Tun Justo will be in attendance to sign books. All social distancing protocols will be observed. Because of social distancing restrictions only 50 people will be allowed in the area at one time. For more information please email or call Carina Fejerang at 671 482-0875 or Jillette Leon-Guerrero at 687-3167.

Jillette Leon-Guerrero
Guamology Inc.
+1 671 687-3167
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