FROM JAPAN WITH LOVE, text and photos by Mary Ruggieri, foreword by Richard Ruggieri. San Rafael, CA: Portsmouth Publishing, 2008, 264 pp., 400 monochrome photos, $24.95 (paper)

From the autumn of 1946 to the spring of 1948 Mary Ruggieri was stationed in the Women's Army Corps as a member of the Allied Occupation of Japan. During this time she kept a journal, wrote many letters home, and took 4,000 photos. This activity was not demanded by her position. She had no particular position and was temporarily stuck in a clerical slot in Yokohama. But she had a real interest in where she was and what was happening around her.

She thus created a valuable record. Though much has been written about the general aims and occasional accomplishments of the Allied Occupation, there has not been much reporting and almost no remembering of the texture of Occupation life, on both sides. In her letters, diaries, and her photos, Ruggieri does remember, preserving what she experienced back then.

For example, what it was like to take the train: "Being a member of the Allied forces, you need no ticket other than your non-slanting eyes and your gigantic stature. You make your way to the safe little fenced in area labeled 'Allied Forces Only.' When the train pulls in, you board the one white-streaked car and sit down in comfort and peace while you watch the Japanese grunt and push, trying to get at least a toehold in one of their very crowded cars."