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Bookshelf: Life on Guam after the liberation

Don Farrell

By Bryan Manabat

Tinian— The historian and author Don Farrell has begun working on “The Reconstruction of Guam: 1944-1950, Volume IV of the Pictorial History of Guam," the last in a series of visual documentation of the island.

Much happened during those six years, Farrell said.

"‘The Reconstruction’ will complete the series and fulfill a moral obligation I owe to my friends on Guam. I have been feeling guilty that I did not finish the ‘Pictorial History of Guam Series’ a long time ago. I am feeling good about getting started, and I think the people of Guam will be pleasantly surprised when they see the final product.”

Giving a preview of the project, Farrell said the last of the pictorial history series “will bring smiles” to some, and “tears” to others. “The younger generation will enjoy the old photos of their grandparents. For the elders, it will bring memories of hard times, deadly times," he said.

The retired educator said the book will provide an excellent opportunity for the elders to sit with the youth and describe what life on Guam was like after liberation.

The Navy and Army Air Force were then reconstructing Guam to become the ‘Gibraltar of the Pacific,’ while the postwar political leadership attempted to reconstruct their political status with the United States.

Farrell said the new book project covers the entire period of the U.S. Naval administration of Guam.


"The time from start to finish of one volume has always been a function of how much I can accomplish during evenings and weekends. I still have to make a living and pay bills,” Farrell said. “The time and money it takes to get to the archives, whether in D.C., California, or Alabama, dictates the schedule. Because I have already done the archival research, ‘The Reconstruction of Guam’ will be finished and ready for publication late this year.”

“The Reconstruction of Guam” will conclude the four-part series which was preceded by “The Americanization of Guam: 1898-1918 (1984),” “The Sacrifice: 1919-1943” and “Liberation: 1944.”

In December last year, Farrell had a book-signing event at Jeff's Pirates Cove in Talofofo. "That day at Jeff's was one of those events that gave me great satisfaction. So many of my friends from days gone by came in and not only bought a copy of the reprint of ‘Liberation:1944,’ but also copies of my other books for signing that they had purchased long ago. Jeff has been one of my steadfast supporters and I always enjoy an afternoon there, whether I have books to sell or not." he said.

Farrell arrived on Guam on Jan. 1, 1977, as a high school teacher. In 1987, he moved to Tinian, where he continued teaching.

"We, my wife, our family, and I are very proud to have been able to contribute to the published history of the Marianas, and I expect to continue writing and publishing for the rest of my life," he said.

"There is no significant money in it, unfortunately. The words of gratitude I receive from the people who have read my books are sufficient satisfaction. More importantly, ensuring that future historians have a sound basis for what they may choose to publish, instead of outdated hearsay, is also a major driving force behind my passion for the history of the Marianas," Farrell added.

Farrell previously published “Modern History of the Northern Marianas Islands” for the CNMI Public School System” and “Tinian and The Bomb.”

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