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Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides
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Ghost Soldiers

by Hampton Sides

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Great story, excellent narrator for audiobook. The only drawback is that it jumps between internal stories: the rescuers, the camps, various side stories of POWs etc... which made it hard to listen to in the car. So while it was a great story about the rescue of POWs at Kabanatwan (spelling?) it was hard audiobook to read. ( )
1 vote marshapetry | Sep 29, 2014 |
A great introduction to the Bataan Death March and subsequent prison break at wars end. This is not definitive historians history, rather more of a Band of Brothers telling true stories within a coherent literary framework. It's meant as much to entertain as to inform. I'm a fan of Hampton Sides for his skilful use of the braided narrative technique and this is another example. Other authors try it by not all succeed. The book was the basis of the film The Great Raid (2005). ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Sep 15, 2013 |
In this very readable account of a Ranger mission to rescue Allied POWs from a Japanese prison camp, Sides gets it right. This is one of the only popular books about the Pacific War which even mentions the role of Taiwanese and Korean prison guards, for example. His treatment of the Japanese is fair and he clearly attempted to understand their perspective, but his account of the trials of American POWs during their years of captivity is unsparing. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
'Ghost Soldiers' is an exciting account of the rescue of American POWs of WWII being held by the Japanese in prison camps in the Philippines. I listened to this story on audio and it was such a touching story, that it had me close to tears on more than one occasion.

It is such a gratifying feeling to know that there are people out there in this world who truly care about their fellow men. The Army Rangers and the Filipino guerrillas who went on this rescue mission risked everything to rescue these POWs. They went behind enemy lines with no support and had to maintain radio silence in order to accomplish their mission. Not even our own military knew that they were attempting this feat.

As I listened to the account, I felt that luck was always on the side of the Americans in this rescue event. That it went off as flawlessly as it did was truly amazing, and it left me with such a feeling of exhilaration when they successfully completed their mission. This is a story that truly makes one appreciate our men in the military and all they do for us. It is told with so much feeling and it is such a great story! ( )
  gcamp | Sep 28, 2011 |
This really is a gripping story about the rescue of the Bataan Death March survivors/POWs by U.S. Army Rangers and two aligned Philippino guerilla forces (not to mention, assistances from the Philippino citizens as well). The book is not new and has been summarized many times, so I won't do that again. It is a book, and real life story, that is hard to put down. It's very tragic, but also, the rescue defies a great many odds. My only complaint is while Hampton Sides is an outstanding non fiction writer and I love his work, it's a bit over the top on hyperbole and crescendo. Time and time again, he leads up to what the reader thinks will be the rescue, leave the chapter hanging, then the next chapter will be filler about another happening. After ten or so times, that got old, and it was so over-used it lost its effectiveness. It got to when the actual rescue happened, it was not very exciting. But that is a small complaint, it was his way of crafting the story to keep the reader engaged. Also, it truly is one of the most important stories of World War II. Overall, highly recommended. ( )
1 vote CarolynSchroeder | Aug 23, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sides, Hamptonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Let us not speak of them; but look, and pass on.
Dante's Inferno

[ followed by list of prisoners held at Cabanatuan at time of Ranger raid ]
Dedication
To my Mother,
for her grace and equanamity,
and for teaching me to keep my eyes open

...

And to the mothers and wives of the men of Bataan
First words
All about them, their work lay in ruins.
Quotations
In August 1944, the War Ministry in Tokyo had issued a directive to the commandants of various POW camps, outlining a policy for what it called the "final disposition" of prisoners. A copy of this document, which came to be known as the "August 1 Kill-All Order," would surface in the war crimes investigations in Tokyo. [23]
Colonel Mucci had proposed the sweetest imaginable use of force, to defend and avenge in the same act. [64]
Over time, the prisoners perfected the sport of gastrosado-masochism. At night the men would swap recipes for dishes that were ludicrously, obscenely rich -- chocolate syrup on mashed potatoes, molasses and whipped cream over a whole stick of butter. They would torment each other with elaborate recitations of the meals they were going to prepare. They'd be lying on their bunks in the dark, and without preface or provocation, someone would say, in a tone of perverse glee: Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich! Everyone would writhe and groan. A few minutes would pass, and someone would break the silence: New England clam chowder! On and on it would go until they finally became sated and drifted off to miserable sleep. [142]
In the [prison camp] hospital for the critically ill, known as Zero Ward, the doctors labored with improvised equipment and conducted operations with nothing more than what was termed vocal anesthetic ("It won't hurt much"). [151]
Rumormongering was an assiduously practiced sport around camp. The rumors spread even faster than disease. [...] It was not a malicious tendency, however. Very seldom were rumors hatched that prisoners didn't want to hear. If the rumors preyed on people's hopes, they were themselves a reflection of hope. They were spread in the spirit of certain universal understandings, the main one being that prisoners of war are not interested in the truth. [159]
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 038549565X, Paperback)

The Bataan Death March was just the beginning of the woes American soldiers captured by the Japanese army in the Philippines had to endure. The survivors of the march faced not only their captors' regular brutality (having surrendered, they were considered to be less than honorable foes), but also a host of illnesses such as dysentery and malaria. For three years these "ghost soldiers" lived in misery, suffering terrible losses.

When Army Rangers among Douglas MacArthur's forces arrived in the Philippines, they hatched a daring plan to liberate their captured comrades, a mission that, if successful, would prove to be a tremendous morale booster at the front and at home. Led by a young officer named Henry Mucci (called "Little MacArthur" for his constant pipe as well as his brilliance as a strategist), a combined Ranger and Filipino guerrilla force penetrated far behind enemy lines, attacked Japanese forces guarding Allied prisoners at a jungle outpost called Cabanatuan, and shepherded hundreds of prisoners to safety, with an angry Japanese army in hot pursuit. Amazingly, they suffered only light casualties.

In Ghost Soldiers, journalist Hampton Sides recounts that daring rescue, once known to every American schoolchild but now long forgotten. A gifted storyteller, Sides packs his narrative with detailed descriptions of the principal actors on both sides of the struggle and with moments of danger and exhilaration. Thrilling from start to finish, his book celebrates the heroism of hundreds of warriors and brings renewed attention to one of the Rangers' finest hours. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:56 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Chronicles the daring mission of the elite U.S. Army Sixth Ranger Battalion to slip behind enemy lines in the Philippines and rescue the 513 American and British POWs who had spent over three years in a hellish, Japanese-run camp near Cabanatuan.

» see all 4 descriptions

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