There are many unsung heroes in wartime. World War II is perhaps the best example of this. The Indomitable Florence Finch tells the story of one such heroine.

Book cover of the The Indomitable Florence Finch by Robert Mrazek.
The Indomitable Florence Finch by Robert Mrazek

This book, as the name suggests, covers the story of Florence Finch. She was a woman who worked with the Filipino Resistance after her husband was killed. She did this by diverting fuel and supplies from the Japanese. Robert Mrazek’s book covers this heroine’s entire life.

What I Enjoyed About Florence Finch

But for the first time, she realized there was a chance to help more of the American POWs in Cabanatuan along with her friends interned at Santo Tomas.

Robert Mrazek, The Indomitable Florence Finch, p. 141

Unlike The Last Battle, I enjoyed the way this author wrote The Indomitable Florence Finch. Mrazek writes his book in much the same way as a novel. His narrative flows very well. He does an outstanding job of connecting the pieces of his story in his writing. It is a book that I was able to read through quickly and easily.

Furthermore, I enjoyed the fact that Robert Mrazek covers much more than merely her actions during the war. It also talks about her life before and after World War II. As a result, Florence Finch covers a lot of ground. It gives the reader much more of a sense of Finch’s personality. Mrazek writes in a way that does not make the story hard to read.

Lastly, his writing brings the reader into the moment. What I mean by this is that the story is very good at creating emotions. It feels like you are living the events of the book through his writing. As a result, Florence Finch feels much more real than many other history books I have read. He explains very well how this heroine did her work.

Problems With Florence Finch

Map of the Japanese Invasion of the Philippines, December 1941.
Map of the Japanese Invasion of the Philippines.
Image from the United States Army Center of Military History.
Wikipedia Commons

The book does not have many problems with it. However, it is not perfect by any means. The biggest issue with Mrazek’s writing is that I don’t think it gives enough context regarding the outside influences on Japan’s actions. However, this is minor, as he does occasionally reference what is going on.

I also think he could have mentioned the earlier occupation a bit more. He talks about the events, but only in passing and doesn’t mention the Japanese atrocities until the end of the book. Discussing the occupation could have added more context to the heroine’s actions. Although doing this might have disrupted the narrative.

Both of these issues are ultimately minor concerns. They do not damage the book’s credibility for me in any way. Finding things about Robert Mrazek’s writing to nitpick was very difficult. That, to me, is a sign of a good book.

Takeaways From Florence Finch

General Douglas MacArthur of the United States Army walks ashore during the US invasion at Leyte, Philippines, October 20, 1944.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur walks ashore at Leyte, Philippines, Oct. 20, 1944.
Photo by US Army Signal Corps Officer Gaetano Faillace.
Wikipedia Commons

Florence Finch’s story indicates to me the power of perseverance. She dealt with a very emotional experience in losing her husband and used it to drive her. She also dealt with severe reprisals from the Japanese and yet survived to tell the tale.

Another lesson is simple humility. She did not tell the tale until the honors given forced it from her. She was comfortable keeping her heroism from her family and friends. She only told them when the Coast Guard named their Pacific Headquarters after her. She even kept her Medal of Freedom citation hidden. Humility is a significant sign of a hero or heroine.

The best lesson here, though, is of pure, moral bravery. She was not content with doing nothing. She decided to do what she could to help a cause she knew was just. The potential dangers did not matter to her sense of right and wrong.

“Heroism had not defined her but it defined how she lived her life”

Florence Finch’s daughter, Betty, in an interview with the New York Times after her death. Robert Mrazek, The Indomitable Florence Finch, pg. 309

The Indomitable Florence Finch is a story of a heroine and her courage. It is a very well-written book that shows some of the best of human nature. Many of her traits go far beyond the war she fought in. The book Ordinary Men showed humans at their worst. The story of this heroine shows them at their best.