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Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides
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Ghost Soldiers

by Hampton Sides

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The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission. The forgottenepic stroy of WWII's most dramatic mission.
A breathtaking chronicle of one of WW II's most dramatic yet virtually forgotten events. On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected troops from the elite U.S. Army 6th Ranger Battalion slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty miles in a daring attempt to rescue 513 American and British POWs--the last survivors of the Bataan death march--who had spent three years... ( )
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  Tutter | Feb 22, 2015 |
This was an amazing, moving story of one of the first Ranger missions in WWII. The back-and-forth on the time line was initially confusing, but after a bit I caught the logic and it worked. I liked the inclusion of the photographs and appreciated that this wasn't historical fiction or fictionalized at all - simply a telling of history. This was a well-written book about a horrible and amazing series of events. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |
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 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:07 -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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