James and Reginald Bollich on ‘Luck or Miracle’
This Veterans Day, the Modern History Press is proud to present the autobiography of one of the oldest surviving World War II veterans. Luck or Miracle: A World War II POW’s Survival Story (Modern History Press, November 2023) tells the story of 102-year-old Jim Bollich, of Louisiana, and the memories of his younger years when he overcame the fear of death he faced every single day during his years spent as a Prisoner of War (POW), as narrated through the pen of his cousin, Reginald Bollich. Here’s a brief Q&A with the Bollichs about the book.
What gave you the strength to survive the suffering and kept you going each day in those years of captivity?
James: During captivity, I could not imagine not making it home, especially for my mother’s sake. So, my strength to survive hinged on nightly prayer for the welfare of my family, the will to live, and to not be defeated.
Do you believe your survival and return to your country was a miracle by divine intervention?
James: I cannot say that my survival was a miracle. In the prison camp, religion was not discussed mainly because the Japanese forbid the practice of religion. But I prayed, as most other POWs did, as individuals, not in group prayer. I feel the hand of God was on me and the other POWs who also prayed. Otherwise, what would be the point of me praying every night if I did not believe that God cared?
Did you seek counseling or mental health therapy for the trauma after you returned to America? If so, how long it took you to heal from the trauma?
James: No. I enrolled directly into college using the GI Bill.
Tell a bit about the process of the book writing and how long it took.
Reginald: I, James’s cousin, recorded 10 hours of interviews. The narrative was written from the recordings including the information for verification. The process began on July 28, 2023 and finished around September 15, 2023, when I asked Victor Volkman if he’d be interested in publishing the narrative.
Does the book have any maps, pics, illustrations etc.?
Reginald: The book has maps and pictures. Maps were drawn with Microsoft PowerPoint. Pictures were selected to highlight the theme and the main historical events.