On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty rugged miles to rescue 513 POWs languishing in a hellish camp, among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March. A recent prison massacre by Japanese soldiers elsewhere in the Philippines made the stakes impossibly high and left little time to plan the complex operation.
In Ghost Soldiers Hampton Sides vividly re-creates this daring raid, offering a minute-by-minute narration that unfolds alongside intimate portraits of the prisoners and their lives in the camp. Sides shows how the POWs banded together to survive, defying the Japanese authorities even as they endured starvation, tropical diseases, and torture. Harrowing, poignant, and inspiring, Ghost Soldiers is the mesmerizing story of a remarkable mission. It is also a testament to the human spirit, an account of enormous bravery and self-sacrifice amid the most trying conditions.
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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 McNameeFrom the Back Cover:
“[Sides] liberates his story from documentary and turns it into epic. . . . More than any monument, Ghost Soldiers is the memorial both prisoners and liberators deserve.” — The Seattle Times
“The greatest World War II story never told.” — Esquire
“[A] beautiful account of heroism . . . Sure to be a classic.” — Men’s Journal
“Riveting and patriotically stirring without ever slipping into mawkishness or sentimentality.” — The New York Times
“Thoroughly researched and artfully told. . . . A compelling story filled with colorful characters.” — The San Francisco Chronicle
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Book Description Anchor, 2002. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "[Sides] liberates his story from documentary and turns it into epic. . . . More than any monument,Ghost Soldiersis the memorial both prisoners and liberators deserve." The Seattle Times "The greatest World War II story never told." Esquire "[A] beautiful account of heroism . . . Sure to be a classic." Men's Journal "Riveting and patriotically stirring without ever slipping into mawkishness or sentimentality." The New York Times "Thoroughly researched and artfully told. . . . A compelling story filled with colorful characters." The San Francisco Chronicle. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_038549565X
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Book Description Anchor. 1 Paperback(s), 2002. soft. Book Condition: New. On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-picked U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines, ahead of the main American force. They marched 30 rugged miles in a single day, hoping to rescue 513 POWs from a hellish Japanese camp (among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March) and prevent another prison massacre like the one at Palawan. Outside magazine columnist and contributing editor Hampton Sides vividly re-creates this daring raid, offering a minute-by-minute narration that unfolds alongside close-up portraits of the prisoners and their lives in the camp. Sides shows how the POWs banded together to survive, defying the Japanese authorities even as they endured starvation, tropical diseases, and torture. "More than any monument, Ghost Soldiers is the memorial both prisoners and liberators deserve."—Seattle Times"Among the plenitude of wartime horrors, the Japanese treatment of POWs in World War II was among the most horrific, the Bataan Death March being one of the most notorious examples of the victors' brutality. By January 1945 a few hundred survivors were in a squalid work camp on Luzon, and Sides' book recounts a gung-ho military raid to rescue them—and to assuage American humiliation for their surrender in 1942. Sides opens with the proximate motivation for the mission: the Americans' fear that as they closed in on an increasingly beleaguered Japanese military, the Japanese would vengefully massacre their prisoners. Just such an atrocity had been perpetrated in December 1944 upon about 100 American POWs on Palawan. So as the Americans fanned out on Luzon, a unit of army rangers with Filipino support was sent ahead of the front line. Their plan, laid and led by Henry Mucci, worked perfectly, as does Sides' skillfully modulated narrative of the atmosphere, courageousness, and human cost of the operation."—Booklist 344. Bookseller Inventory # 62238
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