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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

4.3 (293 )
5 star
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4.4 (89 )
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4.2 (88 )
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Performance
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  •  
    G. Weber Glen Arm, MD United States 05-29-15
    G. Weber Glen Arm, MD United States 05-29-15 Member Since 2015

    gw4photo

    ratings
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    Performance
    Story
    "Abbreviated--left me wanting all of it. ."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada 01-21-13
    Margaret Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada 01-21-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid Bravery"

    Incredible reflections on the ability of humans to survive and overcome. Makes one think about the futility of wars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Princeton, WV, USA 09-27-05
    Rick Princeton, WV, USA 09-27-05
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    "Great"

    Awesome book, great detail, and good narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa A. Hogan 09-23-10 Member Since 2009
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    REVIEWS
    50
    1
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    "Historical "fiction" or fact?"

    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.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dweliv8 07-31-07
    dweliv8 07-31-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Monotone"

    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.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert T. Monaghan 09-03-05 Member Since 2014
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    "Ghost Soldiers"

    I found the book riveting. However I did not care for the author's attempt at times to excuse the Japanese soldiers inhuman cruelty.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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