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Ghost Soldiers | [Hampton Sides]

Ghost Soldiers

At once a gripping depiction of men at war and a compelling story of redemption, Ghost Soldiers joins such landmark works as Flags of Our Fathers and The Greatest Generation Speaks in preserving the legacy of World War II for future generations.
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Publisher's Summary

On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected troops from the elite US Army 6th Ranger Battalion slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty miles in an attempt to rescue more than 500 American and British POWs who had spent three years in a surreally 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 US 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' 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 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 unspeakable tortures; the violent cultural clashes with Japanese guards and soldiers steeped in the warrior ethic of Bushido; and the complex motivations of the US high command, some of whom could justly be charged with abandoning the men of Bataan in 1942.

©2001 Hampton Sides; (P)2001 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Divison of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[It] took me on a queasy journey deep into the realm of pure evil - then rescued me in a blaze of heroics and righteous vengeance. There's grief, despair, and terror here, but there's also adventure, courage, and joy. (Erik Larson, author Isaac's Storm)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (257 )
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4.3 (57 )
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4.1 (56 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jesse Seattle, CA, USA 05-21-03
    Jesse Seattle, CA, USA 05-21-03 Member Since 2003
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    "Beautifully written"

    Why hasn't Hampton Sides written more? After hearing this book I amazed by his writing talent. His talent reminds me of Barbara Tuchman (whose books should be on audible.com!) . And what an awful ordeal these heroes had to endure. In spite of the subject, this book should have much wider appeal for its brilliant description of humanity and evil in war. I look forward to more material from this author.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zach New York, NY, USA 09-07-03
    Zach New York, NY, USA 09-07-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ghost soldiers"

    Some books are interesting, others engrossing and other's tell stories sure to be remembered for quite some time. This book falls into all three categories. What a profoundly moving book! Excellent narration. Learned a lot about WWII at the same time!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Picarillo 03-08-03 Member Since 2002
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    "Fantastic Story"

    If you are looking for a "book" that will take you to both extremes of the human capabilities (humane v. merciless) then this book will fit the bill. The story demonstrates both human courage and evil from one chapter to the next. Further demostrates that the greatest generation is indeed great.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas hendersonville, NC, USA 03-13-03
    Douglas hendersonville, NC, USA 03-13-03
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    "Uplifting, fulfilling"

    This is an excellent story of character, courage, and heroism. I'm not a fan of war stories, but this book isn't about war, it's about people. Hampton Sides writes from the perspective of individuals, and doesn't allow the tale to get overtaken by times, dates, or tactics. The result is an absorbing, very human account of a remarkable real-life event in history.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. T. Antonelli Jr. Lynchburg, VA United States 04-16-12
    J. T. Antonelli Jr. Lynchburg, VA United States 04-16-12 Member Since 2008

    thriller fiend

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    "Condensed Isn't the Best Option"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would certainly recommend this audiobook but would encourage an outright purchase of the book. The audio version was condensed and missed some of the drama and suspense that the full version gives.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It truly captured the pain, anguish, drama and risk of the mission and the personalities of those that lived it. You can feel the oppressiveness of the jungle, the haunting hopelessness of the prisoners and the elation of the rescue.


    What about James Naughton???s performance did you like?

    Mr. Naughton gave a superb rendition of the story. His emotional inflections made the story come alive and allowed the listener to actually experience the drama.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The brutality that the prisoners endured, the mindless, senseless treatment by the capturing forces and the despair that they must have felt made the story that much more inspiring. War is hell.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope Rockingham DC, Australia 04-02-12
    Hope Rockingham DC, Australia 04-02-12

    I love learning about new things, theories and history by way of audible. I like reading actual books for fiction :)

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    "Great book"

    This is one of the first books I listened to on Audio that wasn't a personal development book.I've read a number of other military books, wasn't sure how I'd go listening to one, but it was pretty good... brilliantly written / narrated, the author gives you every detail of what it is like to be a POW for so many years... it's sad and horrific in so many ways, but it's a part of history we all should know about.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil San Francisco, CA, United States 05-13-10
    Neil San Francisco, CA, United States 05-13-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Amazing story"

    This was an amazing true story. Great detail by the author, and I felt I was there with the Rangers. Narration was dry in the beginning, but once the story unfolded the narrator was ideal. If you like war stories this is a winner.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Nolensville, TN, USA 12-25-05
    Stephen Nolensville, TN, USA 12-25-05 Member Since 2005
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    "One of the best"

    One of the best books I've ever read. An absolute must!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 04-28-10
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 04-28-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Hampton Side Does it Again"

    Hampton Side has taken on the Western Expansion and the life of Kit Carson. In broad strokes and using wonderfully exciting prose, his Kit Carson and the virtual ruin of the Navajo nation come to life.

    The reading of James Naughton, the writing of Sides, and the story make this a worth while listen. Some will not agree with Side's point of view, but no one can complain that he hasn't done everyone a favor by bringing this bygone era to the modern reader's attention.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Les Dallas, TX, USA 02-05-04
    Les Dallas, TX, USA 02-05-04
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    "Gruelling tale"

    This exhausting story of the Japanese army's cruelty to American prisoners of war needs telling. Not the kind of recording you will listen to over and over, but well worth an initial hearing.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
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