Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission
Ghost Soldiers The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission Author:Hampton Sides A tense, powerful, grand account of one of the most daring exploits of World War II. — 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 an attempt to rescue 513 American and British POWs who had spent three years in a su... more »rreally hellish camp near the city of Cabanatuan. The prisoners included the last survivors of the Bataan Death March left in the camp, and their extraordinary will to live might soon count for nothing—elsewhere in the Philippines, the Japanese Army had already executed American prisoners as it retreated from the advancing U.S. Army. As the Rangers stealthily moved through enemy-occupied territory, they learned that Cabanatuan had become a major transshipment point for the Japanese retreat, and instead of facing the few dozen prison guards, they could possibly confront as many as 8,000 battle-hardened enemy troops.
Hampton Sides's vivid minute-by-minute narration of the raid and his chronicle of the prisoners' wrenching experiences are masterful. But Ghost Soldiers is far more than a thrilling battle saga. Hampton Sides explores the mystery of human behavior under extreme duress—the resilience of the prisoners, who defied the Japanese authorities even as they endured starvation, tropical diseases, and unspeakable tortures; the violent cultural clashes with Japanese guards and soldiers steeped in the warrior ethic of Bushido; the remarkable heroism of the Rangers and Filipino guerrillas; the complex motivations of the U.S. high command, some of whom could justly be charged with abandoning the men of Bataan in 1942; and the nearly suicidal bravado of several spies, including priests and a cabaret owner, who risked their lives to help the prisoners during their long ordeal.
At once a gripping depiction of men at war and a compelling story of redemption, Ghost Soldiers joins such landmark books as Flags of Our Fathers, The Greatest Generation, The Rape of Nanking, and D-Day in preserving the legacy of World War II for future generations.« less
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.
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...
Tom P. (dade36) reviewed Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission on
Helpful Score: 1
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.
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.