Keywords: Norbert, Mercado, Korea, 38th Parallel, War, 1950s, PEFTOK
In 1951, best friends Pete Alvarez and Jose Aban, young men with adventurous goals and ambitions, have joined the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) along with other Filipino soldiers in the 19th Battalion Combat Team. What experiences await the two in the Korean War?
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Dr. Norberto L. Mercado, DD, yearns to help bring peace to his war-torn country, the Philippines, through a unique "water for fire" strategy. The youngest graduate in the history of the National Defense College of the Philippines stresses that the strategy being adopted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in confronting communist insurgency and Muslim separatism is "heroic", but it is a sure formula of defeat.
"In this age of revolution, the contemporary writer should utilize the pen for the preservation of peace," Norberto L. Mercado, a Filipino author, stressed. This is the reason why all the 13 books he had written in 37 months, an average of one book in three months, as well as the anthologies he has written and published, unapologetically assert the indispensability of peace in a nation’s progress.
The author has written more novels than any Asian writer has in just a brief period of time. In fact, he has surpassed the number of novels written by world-renowned novelists like Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn (winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1970) and American authors Ernest Hemingway (winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1954) and William Faulkner. Solzhenitsyn has four novels to his credit, while Hemingway has eight.
His style of writing is simple and succinct, but poignant and colorful. Hemingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, which won for him the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature, is as simple as I DON’T NEED A THRONE, Norbert’s novel about the love story of the Princess of Thailand. Said novels are just as simple as Solzhenitsyn’s ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DESONOVICH. "The simpler the novel, the better," he said.
In line with Japanese Yasunari Kabawata’s writings about the Japanese way of life, most of Norbert’s novels focus mostly on the current situation in his country. Kabawata is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968.
His books present hope to the Filipino, especially