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.
"[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)
A great story and very well written. As such, I would have liked to have heard the parts that were cut out.
The horrors of the Bataan death march and life as a POW of Imperial Japan are laid out in gruesome detail without caricaturing all the Japanese as heartless monsters. The account of the raid itself is tense, exciting and clearly rendered. The narrator uses unobtrusive accents and vocal inflection to make dialog easy to follow.
Loses a star because a couple of minor plot threads were mentioned and then lost, no doubt due to the abbreviation. There's also a production error where a passage is repeated.
Incredible reflections on the ability of humans to survive and overcome. Makes one think about the futility of wars.
Ghost Soldiers is a historically based account of an important event in WW2 history written in popular style. For those wanting to hear an exciting story this book delivers, but for history buffs who want to know exactly what is fact and what is fiction it can be frustrating. The author claims to have hundreds of references but does note which parts of the story are written exactly how they happened and which parts, if any, come from his imagination. In all it is an attention grabbing piece and an inspiring story from our nation's history.
The narrator made it very hard to keep interested. Although the subject matter is intriguing and captivating, the monotone drone made my mind drift. May be better to actually read this one.
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