As a child, my grandfather would read the newspaper and say things like, "Those damn Japs, trying to take over
Twenty-some years later, I think I understand why he held such long-standing hatred of the Japanese. This book details the atrocities of American prisoners-of-war, and it is so emotionally choking that I had to read it in spurts.
In 1942, American and Filipino soldiers fought for months against the Japanese over a sliver of land called the Bataan peninsula. Ben Steele of the United States Air Force became adept with his rifle, as did many others (cooks, machinists, pilots), but the battle ended with the surrender of 76,000. This is the largest defeat in American military history.
The book mixes biography with heart-wrenching journalism. As we follow Ben Steele's fight for survival - first, the Bataan death march, which was a 66-mile horror; next, the series of POW camps - readers are also told of the struggles of other people, as told through diaries, interviews, and painstaking research.
While Germany is often the "bad guy" of WWII and Japan is considered guilty of Pearl Harbor, this shows another detailed history of the war. It should not be missed by anyone. The beautiful, poignant writing and organization of the material only adds to the powerful tone of the book.
4.75 out of 5.0 Teas.