Rutgers Grads Michael and Elizabeth Norman Receive Ambrose Oral History Award

Rutgers Grads Michael and Elizabeth Norman Receive Ambrose Oral History Award


The Rutgers Living History Society will present its Stephen E. Ambrose Oral History Award today to Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman, authors of the best-selling book Tears in the Darkness: the Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2009).  

The Rutgers Living History Society is comprised of participants in the Rutgers Oral History Archives program. At its annual meeting, the society inducts new members and presents the Stephen E. Ambrose Oral History Award

The story of the Bataan death march – the forced march of 76,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war to prisoner-of-war camps following the surrender of American and Filipino forces on the Phillpines’ Bataan Peninsula in April 1942 – has been documented by many authors since the end of World War II.  The Normans, however, spent nearly a decade interviewing hundreds of survivors and witnesses – Japanese, as well as American and Filipino – to help readers “see, smell, feel. and hear” what happened during the march, and during the successive horrors awaiting people who survived it.  

The Normans took the wealth of detail those interviews yielded and wound it around one particular story – that of Ben Steele, who survived the battle, the march and everything that came afterward to become a professor at Montana State University. 

Michael and Elizabeth Norman are both Rutgers graduates. He graduated from the Newark College of Arts and Sciences in 1972, and she from the College of Nursing the following year. Both now teach at New York University. 

The Normans join Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps; documentarian Ken Burns; journalist Rick Atkinson; the late journalist Studs Terkel; film maker Steven Spielberg; and broadcaster Tom Brokaw as recipients of the Stephen E. Ambrose Award. Elizabeth Norman is also the author of We Band of Angels: the Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese (Random House, 1999), and Women at War: the Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990).

Media Contact: Ken Branson
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