I was engrossed in this book from the beginning. It isn't written like a reference or documentary. It is a very sensual book. You can feel the hunger, the heat, and the boredom of the captured soldiers in the Japanese concentration camp in the Phillipines. It's been a couple of years since I read this book. It was so good I'm putting it back on my list to read again.
Before reading this book, I had expected a chronologed, step-by-step documentary. Which in itself would be informative.
However, what I read was a well researched, documented and well thought out "story" of such proportions that the act or reading this book invoked every emotion I have inside of me.
It is obvious that Hampton Sides interviewed as many survivors of this historical event as was humanly possible for him to do. He uses quotes from the survivors in a way that drew me into the book, as though I was there in the heat of battle and within the prison walls with the books characters.
I have to be honest here, after reading the Prolouge I was unsure that I wanted to read the rest of the book at all. (Frankly, it scared the hell out of me!!). However, I am pleased that I charged forward and read the entire book. Mr Sides words pulled me into the book to a point where I did NOT want to put it down.
If you have read, and liked, other books about the exploits of war and the men and women who were involved, you will like this book.
By the way, as scary as the Prolouge, the Epiloughe is 180 degrees different. I was uplifted by those words at the end of the book.
Get it, read it, and enjoy it.
This book was an amazing read, not only because the writer is quite talented with words, but also because it's true. Hollywood cannot even compete with the heroism, audacity, and commitment of the characters involved in this story that comes straight out of the history books. I liked the fact that the author goes into detail, not just with what happened, but why it happened. Why the Rangers were even formed. What made them exceptional. Why the islanders were so important to the mission of these men. It truly makes one appreciate the veterans of our country and the plight of the prisoners, the islanders, and those who were desperate to emancipate a grueling war camp.
Very compelling narrative. Even if you think you already know the story of the Bataan Death March during WWII, you have never experienced it like Hampton Sides takes you. It's actually 2 stories: the American POWs who survived the Death March and the Japanese Prison Camp on Luzon Island in the Philippines, and the story of the 121 men of the U.S. Army's 6th Ranger Battalion who were sent 30 miles behind enemy lines to rescue the last survivors. A daring raid in which they were assisted by villagers and Filipino guerillas. More than an account of their bravery, sacrifice and suffering, the author's descriptions and narration pull you into this amazing true story.
An incredible book! Hesitant to begin, but once I did, I was thoroughly engrossed. Hampton Sides paints an incredible portait of the horrors of the Bataan Death March and its POW survivors rescue near the end of World War II without being overly dramatic. Well researched (I assume, history is not one of my strong suits), the experiences of soliders en masse as well as individual tales are recounted in an extremely articulate, sensitive fashion. Mr. Sides writing style is crisp, vivid, and direct, with little wasted effort in the sharing of this incredible snapshot of history. In the end, "Ghost Soldiers" was hopeful, even motivating. At the very end of the "boomer" generation, I, like so many others like me, have paid little attention to World War II history other than the basics we were taught in school, but I will be looking to read, learn more soon.
Very well written account of an incredible rescue of 500 American POWs on Japanese occupied Philippines at the end of World War II. Although this is a true-life history, taken from journals and live interviews it reads like a novel -- fast paced, suspenseful and hard to put down. Highly recommended.
I read this book with my husband. He wants to rate it four stars and I would have given it two stars. So I am averaging the two to three stars. I have a hard time reading about the brutalities of war. I felt there were too many characters that came and went through the narration and I felt that the story was slow as it went back and forth between the past and present. That may be though because it took us a long time to read this book as my husband and I only have snatches of time together.
An absolutely vivid detail of the ordeals, tragedies, and triumphs relating to the men who were subjected to the cruelties of war in a Japanese prison. A riviting book that is hard to put down. The Rangers who rescued the remaining soldiers were truly a rare breed of men to place themselves in constant danger to take on this mission. The author has done extensive research and managed to keep the human element visible at all times and at a high priorty. You feel as though you were there in the midst of it all. An excellent read.
This is a great historical source about a secret ranger mission to free the American prisoners of war in the Philippines--the survivors of the Bataan death march. It is a quick read and full of interesting details. Something I had never been aware of.
Recommended for anyone who has the privilege to salute the American flag.
Some parts are really difficult to read, not because of writing style, but because of the inhuman treatment of POWs by Japanese soldiers.
Even today I find it inexcusable. Otherwise, it is an excellent story written by an excellent writer.]
ON Jan.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 in a hellish prison camp,among them the last
survivors of the infamous BATAAN DEATH MARCH. A great story of a
brave bunch of men who were successful in their dangerous task.
Highly readable, with flowing text that truly draws you into the experience, the book does not flinch at telling the suffering and cruelty experienced by the survivors of the Bataan death march by the Japanese. In spite of the difficulty of reading about the experiences, the book is compelling and almost impossible to put down.
The author draws on his interviews with survivors to construct a suspenseful and moving book that left me in tears, and I do not often cry when reading history.
Highly recommended for anyone at all, not just those who are interested in World War II or war stories in general. An absolute must read.
Tom P. (dade36) reviewed Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission on
There is only one book I can actually say I had trouble putting down once I started and this is it. Extremely well researched and written, this is the story of WWII American POWs captured by the Japanese in the Philippines after MacArthur's surrender and their eventual rescue. This is really two stories, the POW's and the team sent to rescue them. Alternately written from both sides, the book inexorably leads to the final mission. But this is no Hollywood climax, just the culmination of an incredible story. The entire book is a climax, it is that well written. The style and content make this the best book by far I have read on the Bataan Death March.
My respect for what our WW II vets went through never ends, this book is not for the faint of heart. The POW's of the Japanese were put through hells we can't imagine. A factual and stirring book of Bataan, and the fate of the POW's, and the mission that rescued the survivors in the Philippines. A good read for WW II buffs...
This was one of the best WWII books I have read. Gripping,edge-of-your seat suspense! A great and enspiring story. Unlike some WWII accounts, it doesn't get bogged down with details of numerous battles and strategies.
Loah H. (zuphoto) - reviewed Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission on
A great read with the best history account. This book has been read by a number of others so is looking warn but the cover is great and I glued the side back nice and binded again. Even with the used look I sugget read it even if not from myself.