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The Stragglers
The Stragglers
Author: E. J. Kahn, Jr.
Their fellow Japanese called them zanryusha (stragglers), and after Japan surrender in August of 19045, singly and in small groups they escaped into the jungle. Many of them set up secret communities on various Pacific Islands, either finding it impossible to surrender or too ashamed to return home in defeat. — The Stragglers is the remarkable st...  more »
ISBN: 373845
Publication Date: 1962
Pages: 176
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

3 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Random House
Book Type: Hardcover
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Published in 1962, this is a easy to read, almost folksy narrative about some of the Japanese stragglers who were discovered still fighting or hiding out on Pacific islands years after the war ended. The author covers the men from their pre-Army days to their actions in the war to what happened to them after many returned home. Left out, and really not missed, is what they might have done as Japanese soldiers to the civilians and soldiers of other armies they fought during the war.

I picked up this book as a counterpoint to the many books I have read about Americans left or who stayed behind on the islands to fight the Japanese as guerrillas during the war. While very interesting, it does not go into great detail. I suspect that other, later books on this topic might do so.

The best part is the author's retelling of how these men, who grew up in civilized Japan or Korea, managed to survive in deep jungle environments, some over many years, without contact with the rest of the world. Would you or I be able to do this?

Copies will probably be hard to find here, but are available on Amazon, However, you will have to use the advanced search feature there to input the title AND the author's name to find them.