Nelson Mandela famously defined courage as “triumph over fear.” For World War II veteran Jim Bollich, courage lives in 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). Now the 102-year-old veteran’s story of living through the war is out in his biography Luck or Miracle: A World War II POW’s Survival Story (Modern History Press, November 2023).
Narrated through the pen of his cousin, Reginald Bollich, Luck or Miracle gives the first-hand account of courage, fortitude, and the will to survive three years of frostbitten captivity as a POW in Manchuria. Those were the years putting Jim’s endurance to test through a series of trials from the Bataan Death March to encounters with thirst, starvation, diseases, a month-long perilous sea voyage, and aerial bombings.
The book’s narrative was written from the 10 hours of interview recordings, including the information for verification, carried out by the author. The months-long process completed in September 2023, when Reginald inquired with Victor Volkman, founder and publisher at the Modern History Press, for possibly publishing the true story as a book.
Patriotic Values in Luck or Miracle
Major General Bob “Hawk” Hollingsworth, USMC (retired), calls the service of James Bollich “a perfect example of dedication and the love of country that has kept this country free.” For James, his survival and return to his homeland was more than a battle with the enemy on the field. It was a time to reach in for one’s soul and feel the presence of the higher power watching over HIS children.
“In the prison camp, religion was not discussed mainly because the Japanese forbid the practice of religion,” recounts James, a resident of Lafayette, Louisiana. “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?”
Luck or Miracle includes maps and pictures selected to highlight the theme and the main historical events relevant to James’s story that inspires courage, hope, and faith – the core qualities to embrace on Veterans Day.