Monday, August 5, 2013


A review of Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission (2001)

(Rating 4 of 5)

Ghost Soldiers is duel story of soldiers who were captured in the Philippines, made prisoners of the Japanese for years—many forced to undergo the Bataan Death March—, and the team of soldiers that rescued them.  It is a story of human suffering, war, inhumane cruelty, and heroism.  

Sides tells a great tale and writes incredible book.  Nevertheless the book is a difficult read, and despite being only three hundred pages, it took me almost a month to get through it.  The reason it is difficult is not due to a complicated structure of the book, quite the contrary, Sides has a beautiful smooth flowing narrative.  The actual reason is the horrendous war crimes depicted in this book by the Japanese against the American POWs and the Filipino civilians is difficult to stomach. I often found myself having to put the book down in anger. 

I don’t want to make it appear that the Japanese are inherently evil and the Americans and Filipinos are saints.  The fact is every culture has bad parts in its history and this book does make an effort draw attention to some Japanese officers who were opposed to what was going on.              

 If Hollywood is looking for fresh movie ideas it should turn here.  It is like Schindler's List with a military rescue mission.  I would encourage anyone to read it.

{Video was posted by VeteransInService}

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