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Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

Ghost Soldiers

by Hampton Sides

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In January of 1945 the US Army 6th Ranger division infiltrated enemy lines in the Japanese held Cabanatuan prison camp in the Philippines to rescue the hundreds of American soldiers who had been held there for three years. The prisoners, many of whom had survived the Bataan Death March in 1942, were being held in barbaric conditions with little food, water, medicine or humane treatment. Rumors of mass executions of American prisoners at other camps made the rescue attempt by the Rangers urgent but extremely dangerous. The Rangers marched 30 miles in one day to reach Cabanatuan where just over 500 prisoners remained from an original number in the thousands. The author tells story after story of bravery and courage amidst horrendous conditions of war and the reader gets to know some of the prisoners and the Rangers very well. At times the tales were hard to hear as they crossed the line into inane cruelty. It is ultimately a book of hope and honor to the men who lived through this terrible ordeal. This one is highly recommended. ( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 23, 2016 |
Another great WWII story about man's resilience. Army Rangers have to break into a Japanese prison camp and free the POW's. Problem is the prison is in the middle of nowhere with flat terrain all around and the rangers want to be able to get the POW's out alive. This is a great story for anyone who enjoys WWII stories. ( )
  JWarrenBenton | Jan 4, 2016 |
Another great WWII story about man's resilience. Army Rangers have to break into a Japanese prison camp and free the POW's. Problem is the prison is in the middle of nowhere with flat terrain all around and the rangers want to be able to get the POW's out alive. This is a great story for anyone who enjoys WWII stories. ( )
  JWarrenBenton | Jan 4, 2016 |
One of my favorite stories of World War II of all time. Masterfully written by Hampton Sides ( )
  Dodgerdoug | Sep 30, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (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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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 ]
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.
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.

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