Fugitives: Evading and Escaping the Japanese

Overview

When the Japanese Imperial Forces invaded the Philippine Islands at the onset of World War II, they quickly rounded up Allied citizens on Luzon and imprisoned them as enemy aliens. These captured civilians were treated inhumanely from the start, and news of the atrocities committed by the enemy soon spread to the more remote islands to the south. Hearing this, many of the expatriates living there refused to surrender as their islands were occupied. Fugitives, based on the memoir of Jordan A. Hamner, tells the ...

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Overview

When the Japanese Imperial Forces invaded the Philippine Islands at the onset of World War II, they quickly rounded up Allied citizens on Luzon and imprisoned them as enemy aliens. These captured civilians were treated inhumanely from the start, and news of the atrocities committed by the enemy soon spread to the more remote islands to the south. Hearing this, many of the expatriates living there refused to surrender as their islands were occupied. Fugitives, based on the memoir of Jordan A. Hamner, tells the true story of a young civilian mining engineer trapped on the islands during the Japanese invasion. Instead of surrendering, he and two American co-workers volunteered their services to the Allied armed forces engaged in the futile effort to stave off the enemy onslaught. When the overwhelmed defenders surrendered to the invaders, the three men fled farther into the disease-ridden mountainous jungle. After nearly a year of nomadic wandering, they found a derelict, twenty-one foot long lifeboat in a secluded coastal bay. Hoping to sail to freedom in Australia, the trio converted the craft into a sailboat, and called it the "Or Else." They would make it to Australia — or else. With only a National Geographic magazine map of the Malacca Islands for navigation, Hamner, his two compatriots, and two Filipino crewmen sailed their unseaworthy craft fifteen hundred nautical miles over seas controlled by the Japanese navy, touching land only briefly to replenish meager rations or evade enemy vessels. After thirty perilous days at sea, marked by nearly disastrous encounters with hostile islanders, imminent starvation, and tropical storms, the desperate fugitives reached the welcome shores of Australia.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An intriguing tale of wartime adventure, bravery and luck. The narration is admirable: clear, direct, and moving." — Bernard Norling

"Stahl's short, agreeable book adds considerably to the knowledge of the World War II experience of American expatriate civilians in the Philippines." — Booklist

"The description of his odyssey makes fascinating reading." — Canadian Military History

"Although numerous books have been written during and after World War II on a variety of subjects, comparatively little attention has been paid to American expatriates who were caught up in the war and who desperately tried to survive. A worthy companion on any World War II bookshelf." — Douglas E. Clanin

"It is unique in that the civilian side of the Americans under Japanese threat or worse is fully and firmly portrayed; the determination and courage of these men and women is undeniable." — Frank F. Mathias

"Tells the true story of a daring flight toward freedom." — McCormick (SC) Messenger

"Recounts many gripping episodes — including brushes with Moro tribesmen, encounters with the guerrilla chieftain Morgan, a 'thieving, murdering, power-mad rogue,' and a miniature Bataan Death March that took place around the Fourth of July, 1942." — Military History of the West

"One of the most incredible escape voyages of WWII. The success of this open-boat journey from the Philippines to Australia enabled General MacArthur to confirm the existence of an active guerrilla presence on Mindanao. This account is long overdue and Stahl has given us an important contribution to the history of the resistance movement — as well as a jolly good yarn." — Peter Parsons

"Hammer's story is unique in that they were the first Americans to successfully escape from Mindanao." — Reviews of Historical Books

"The first Americans to succeed in escaping from the Philippine Islands.... An exciting account." — Virginia Quarterly Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813122243
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 11/11/2001
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 0.50 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps vi
Preface vii
Introduction xi
Prologue 1
1. Manila 5
2. Masbate 12
3. Evacuation 22
4. Back to the Mine 29
5. Panay 44
6. Mindanao 52
7. Into the Jungle 69
8. Preparing to Sail 93
9. To Australia 100
10. Brisbane 124
Epilogue 135
Appendix War Department Letter 139
Further Reading 141
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