In the Spring of 1974, 2nd Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Japanese army made world headlines when he emerged from the Philippine jungle after a thirty-year ordeal. Hunted in turn by American troops, the Philippine army and police, hostile islanders, and eventually successive Japanese search parties, Onoda had skillfully outmaneuvered all his pursuers, convinced that World War II was still being fought and waiting for the day when his fellow soldiers would return victorious.
This first-person account of those years of evading capture and trying to stay alive is filled with drama, tension, and excitement.Readers learn about Onoda's early life, his training as an intelligence officer, and his final assignment to the Philippine island of Lubang. When American forces take over the island, he retreats into the mountains and life becomes a constant battle against the elements as well as the enemy.
The description of his selfless dedication to a cause allows us a rare glimpse of the invincible spirit of the human being, and his ingenuity in adapting to primitive surroundings is a commentary on man's resourcefulness. Even after the Japanese forces surrender or are killed, courage and conviction allow him and his few comrades to continue until he alone returns to civilization.
A soldier who fought and survived the war's longest, loneliest battle, Onoda became a hero to his people and his account of events, first published in Japan in 1974 and in English in 1975, has enjoyed an approving audience ever since.
©1974 Kodansha International Ltd (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I remembered hearing about “hold out” Japanese soldiers in my youth, so I knew I had to read this once I saw it. I’m glad I did.
The story is simply amazing. Such single minded purpose and dedication is frightening and gives good insight into the culture that existed in the Japan of that era. Also amazing is the psychological aspect of the story. Mans ability for self delusion and paranoia are brought to the forefront in this story.
One aspect which disappointed was that the author glossed over or failed to mention the numerous islanders he and his band killed over the 40+ years “at war”. Obviously they were in a war mindset, but the fact that these killings are omitted for the most part indicate to me a knowledge and decided effort to avoid the dark side of this amazing story.
The narrator was very well matched, and made the story feel as if the author himself was telling it.
This book is a must for anyone interested in a unique event of the past century, or for anyone wondering what someone must be thinking when they are able to maintain a bloody minded focus for 40 or more years in the jungle.
I had wanted to read this for years and was really excited to see it has been made into an audiobook.
This story held me for the whole six and half hours. It was fascinating but frustrating to listen to. Hiroo's stubborness makes you want to scream.
It was great that the reader was also japanese. It brought Hiroo's story to life.
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