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Chilling book on Bataan Death March

By Jessica Schneider Jun 17, 2009, 14:29 GMT

Chilling book on Bataan Death March

For the first four months of 1942, U.S., Filipino, and Japanese soldiers fought what was America’s first major land battle of World War II, the battle for the tiny Philippine peninsula of Bataan. It ended with the surrender of 76,000 Filipinos and Americans, the single largest defeat in American military history.The defeat, though, was only the beginning, as Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman make dramatically clear in this powerfully original ...more

“Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath” is the newest title by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman.

The AP describes the book as: “A new account of the Bataan Death March, in which more than 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were victims of appalling barbarism — a particularly grim episode of World War II following Japan's invasion of the Philippines.”

To give a bit of background about the authors, the AP mentions: “The Normans spent a decade in research and writing, interviewing more than 100 surviving American veterans and relatives of scores of others, and traveling to Japan to track down the most elusive and difficult sources — some 20 former soldiers who were involved in the march and a guard from one of the miserable camps where more captives died from sickness, torture or starvation.”

Booklist states: “Readers learn how news of Japanese atrocities inflamed an American passion for vengeance and justified horrific bombing raids—incendiary and then nuclear—against Japanese cities. But readers will find it hard to view such raids as fitting punishment of a bestial enemy after reading the Normans’ chronicle of the bitter experiences of very human and often guilt-wracked Japanese soldiers. The narrative even humanizes the anguished Japanese commanders condemned by a victors’ justice that held them accountable for offenses of out-of-control subordinates. An indispensable addition to every World War II collection.”

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 480 pages. More info can be found courtesy of the AP article, as well as Amazon.

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