BN.com Gift Guide

Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission

( 214 )

Overview

On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty rugged miles to rescue 513 POWs languishing in a hellish camp, among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March. A recent prison massacre by Japanese soldiers elsewhere in the Philippines made the stakes impossibly high and left little time to plan the complex operation.

In Ghost Soldiers Hampton Sides vividly re-creates this daring raid, ...

See more details below
Paperback (1 ANCHOR)
$9.87
BN.com price
(Save 38%)$16.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (431) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $7.00   
  • Used (419) from $1.99   
Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty rugged miles to rescue 513 POWs languishing in a hellish camp, among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March. A recent prison massacre by Japanese soldiers elsewhere in the Philippines made the stakes impossibly high and left little time to plan the complex operation.

In Ghost Soldiers Hampton Sides vividly re-creates this daring raid, offering a minute-by-minute narration that unfolds alongside intimate portraits of the prisoners and their lives in the camp. Sides shows how the POWs banded together to survive, defying the Japanese authorities even as they endured starvation, tropical diseases, and torture. Harrowing, poignant, and inspiring, Ghost Soldiers is the mesmerizing story of a remarkable mission. It is also a testament to the human spirit, an account of enormous bravery and self-sacrifice amid the most trying conditions.

Winner of Barnes & Noble's 2001 Discover Great New Writers Award for Nonfiction

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
This haunting, moving and highly evocative account of one of the most dramatic aspects of the War in the Pacific powerfully redefines our understanding of the nature of heroes, heroism, and sacrifice, while it eloquently explores the triumph of the human spirit.

Hampton Sides, a gifted writer, masterfully interweaves a complex tapestry of three stories. The first recounts Japan's initial military triumphs throughout Asia and the South Pacific and the subsequent emergency evacuation of Allied troops from Bataan in 1942. The second describes the horror faced by those who were captured, as they struggled to stay alive in the POW camp at Cabanatuan as survivors of the hideous Bataan Death March. The third story re-creates the daring liberation of the 513 British and American soldiers who clung to life in the infamous camp at the jungle's edge. This January 1945 rescue mission was led by the U.S. Army's Sixth Ranger Battalion, which grappled with a retreating Japanese Army that possessed a vast superiority in numbers.

Richly detailed and deeply evocative, Ghost Soldiers stands as a meaningful testimonial to those who served and those who were sacrificed, as well as a stark reminder that even in the darkest hours, humanity can exhibit one of its greatest skills: the ability to persevere against all odds.

Ghost Soldiers opens with the kind of horror that only war can create; it closes with the triumph of hope and courage and the imperative that the memory of nightmarish events endure, in the hope that they may never recur. (Summer 2001 Selection)

From the Publisher
“[Sides] liberates his story from documentary and turns it into epic. . . . More than any monument, Ghost Soldiers is the memorial both prisoners and liberators deserve.” —The Seattle Times

“The greatest World War II story never told.” —Esquire

“[A] beautiful account of heroism . . . Sure to be a classic.” —Men’s Journal

“Riveting and patriotically stirring without ever slipping into mawkishness or sentimentality.” —The New York Times

“Thoroughly researched and artfully told. . . . A compelling story filled with colorful characters.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

Kirkus Reviews
An extraordinary tale of bravery under fire and the will to endure. When the Philippines fell to Japan in 1942, hundreds of the Allied troops who survived the Bataan death march were imprisoned in the jungle camp of Cabanatuan. Some would be tortured, others executed without cause; all suffered starvation and illnesses such as "dengue fever, amoebic dysentery, bacillary dysentery, tertian malaria, cerebral malaria, typhus, typhoid." For three years, the "ghost soldiers" of Cabanatuan lived in an earthly hell, and they would have remained there longer had an elite group of Rangers fighting with Douglas MacArthur's invading army not planned and executed a rescue operation of tremendous emotional but doubtful strategic value—and one that could easily have ended in a costly disaster. Led by a young colonel named Henry Mucci (called "Little MacArthur" not only because he smoked a pipe incessantly but also because "he had, like the Supreme Commander, a firm grasp of the theatrics of warfare"), the Rangers penetrated deep within Japanese-controlled territory, mounted an attack on the Japanese troops and tanks surrounding the camp, and led hundreds of Allied prisoners to safety—with thousands of enemy soldiers in hot and vengeful pursuit. Amazingly, the operation cost only a handful of casualties. Justly celebrated in its time ("Every child of coming generations will know of the 6th Rangers, for a prouder story has not been written," declared one combat correspondent of the rescue), the Cabanatuan rescue has since been all but forgotten. Sides (Stomping Grounds) restores the episode to history in a thoroughly researched and reported narrative that is careful in its attention todetail and never short of thrilling. Far more worthy than the celebrity-driven narratives of recent seasons, this is an exceptionally valuable addition to the popular literature surrounding WWII.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Popular writer and Outside columnist Sides (Stomping Grounds) interviewed participants in one of WWII's little-known exploits the rescue of 500 American and Allied POWs from Cabanatuan prison camp on the Philippine island of Luzon. This gripping account intertwines the tale of these prisoners, who were survivors of the horrible Bataan Death March in 1942, and 121 officers and men of the army's Sixth Ranger Battalion. Led by Colonel Henry Mucci and Captain Robert Prince, these Rangers, who had yet to taste active combat, trekked 30 miles behind Japanese lines to effect the rescue, haunted all the while by the knowledge that if their secret mission was leaked, the POWs would probably be massacred by their captors. Sides includes the heroic efforts of Claire Phillips and other resistance fighters to keep the Americans supplied with accurate intelligence, and the scores of villagers who helped the POWs to safety. Some Alamo Scouts and two Filipino guerrilla groups provided no small assistance to Mucci and his men. The raid itself was almost anticlimactic as the Rangers burst into the POW compound, eliminating the garrison and bringing out the inmates in less than half an hour. It's a tale worthy of a Hollywood movie (and film rights have been optioned by Universal). The author's excellent grasp of human emotions and bravery makes this a compelling book hard to put down. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Sides, an author and a contributing editor for magazine, has reconstructed the story of the WWII raid by American Rangers on the Japanese prisoner of war camp at Cabanatuan in Bataan in the Philippines. The horrific situation of the prisoners, the story of the Rangers' raid and its ultimate success are related here not as a detached military account but as the gripping story of the individuals involved. Sides reconstructed the raid from research into archives both in the US and Japan and his interviews of many of those who were there. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
An extraordinary tale of bravery under fire and the will to endure. When the Philippines fell to Japan in 1942, hundreds of the Allied troops who survived the Bataan death march were imprisoned in the jungle camp of Cabanatuan. Some would be tortured, others executed without cause; all suffered starvation and illnesses such as "dengue fever, amoebic dysentery, bacillary dysentery, tertian malaria, cerebral malaria, typhus, typhoid." For three years, the "ghost soldiers" of Cabanatuan lived in an earthly hell, and they would have remained there longer had an elite group of Rangers fighting with Douglas MacArthur's invading army not planned and executed a rescue operation of tremendous emotional but doubtful strategic value—and one that could easily have ended in a costly disaster. Led by a young colonel named Henry Mucci (called "Little MacArthur" not only because he smoked a pipe incessantly but also because "he had, like the Supreme Commander, a firm grasp of the theatrics of warfare"), the Rangers penetrated deep within Japanese-controlled territory, mounted an attack on the Japanese troops and tanks surrounding the camp, and led hundreds of Allied prisoners to safety—with thousands of enemy soldiers in hot and vengeful pursuit. Amazingly, the operation cost only a handful of casualties. Justly celebrated in its time ("Every child of coming generations will know of the 6th Rangers, for a prouder story has not been written," declared one combat correspondent of the rescue), the Cabanatuan rescue has since been all but forgotten. Sides (Stomping Grounds) restores the episode to history in a thoroughly researched and reported narrative that is careful in its attention todetail and never short of thrilling. Far more worthy than the celebrity-driven narratives of recent seasons, this is an exceptionally valuable addition to the popular literature surrounding WWII.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385495653
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/7/2002
  • Edition description: 1 ANCHOR
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 948
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Hampton Sides is a contributing editor to Outside. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, DoubleTake, The New Republic, The Washington Post and on All Things Considered. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Dr. Ralph Emerson Hibbs lay delirious in a ditch at the tattered edge of the jungle, his teeth clicking with chills. The malarial attack came over him suddenly, as they always did, the strength dropping from his legs like an untethered weight. In their thousands the parasites were reproducing inside him, Plasmodium vivax bursting from his liver and into his bloodstream. The doctor had nothing with which to treat himself. He couldn't work, he couldn't think. He had to ride out the fever as everyone else did, helplessly, shivering in a ditch by the side of a battle-pocked road. An Army captain and a graduate of the University of Iowa Medical School, Dr. Hibbs was the surgeon of the 2nd Battalion of the 31st Infantry Regiment, a man responsible for the health of some 700 soldiers in the field, but he had no quinine. On the anopheles-infested peninsula of Bataan at the end of the first week of April 1942, there was virtually no quinine to be had.

Along with thousands of other malarial men, Dr. Hibbs had been walking out of the mountains down the zigzag road toward Mariveles. In great haste and confusion, the men were stumbling south to escape the turmoil and the butchery of the front lines, where for the past week the Japanese onslaught had been merciless. One participant later described the exodus: "Thousands poured out of the jungle like small spring freshets pouring into creeks which in turn poured into a river." As they walked, the soldiers picked their way around bomb craters and bits of embedded shrapnel. The jungle smoked all about them. Overturned wrecks of jeeps and half-tracks lay smoldering in the creeper ferns. The rattan vines were singed, the tree leaves wormed with bullet holes, the canopy torn open by artillery shells, letting the late-afternoon sun seep through.

The word had come from somewhere or other that General King would offer his surrender in the morning. Hibbs reacted to this news with as much relief as sadness. Everyone knew the situation was hopeless. "We were participants in a lousy game," Hibbs later wrote. "We couldn't live much longer, let alone fight." The men were gaunt, shell-shocked, addled with nerve fatigue. They were so exhausted, as one soldier put it, "that even our hair was tired." They were fighting with improvised weapons, living on improvised food. Day by day the regular had devolved into the irregular. Sailors were serving as infantryman, firing machine guns fashioned from parts cannibalized from crashed airplanes. Corned beef had segued to hardtack, and hardtack to iguana, and iguana to grubs and silkworms. Army veterinarians who under ordinary circumstances were supposed to care for the health of the pack mules and horses had instead been overseeing their slaughter for "cavalry steak." The lines had broken so many times it was absurd to persist in calling them lines anymore. The men of Bataan had fallen back to the place where there was no more back to fall back to. Densely packed with hospital patients, ammunition dumps, military hardware, and the scattered remnants of the troops, the southern tip of Bataan had become so crowded, recalled one American officer, that "bombers could drop their payloads at almost any point or place and hit something of military value." Whether one wanted to call it a retrograde maneuver, or a strategic withdrawal, or some other euphemism for retreat, they simply had nowhere to go. At their front was the Fourteenth Imperial Army, at their rear was the South China Sea.

And above them, Zeros. For weeks and months, the skies had droned with Mitsubishi engines. The bombing and strafing runs had been relentless, chewing up the little nipa huts in the Filipino barrios, leaving the brown grass fields and canebrakes, especially combustible in the dry season, consumed by enormous fires. Photo Joe, as the Americans called the enemy surveillance planes, had circled overhead with impunity, radioing the exact disposition of the Fil-American forces so the Japanese artillerymen on the ground could rain shells upon them with deadlier precision. There was even a doddering surveillance blimp which for some reason the Americans couldn't seem to bring out of the sky.

The planes not only dropped bombs, they dropped words. As the battle dragged on, propaganda sheets had fluttered down from the skies. One leaflet depicted a voluptuous woman beckoning soldiers to bed down with her. "Before the terror comes, let me walk beside you . . . deep in petaled sleep. Let me, while there is still a time and place. Feel soft against me and . . . rest your warm hand on my breast." More recently the propaganda had turned from a tone of clumsy prurience to one of dark ultimatum.

Bataan is about to be swept away. Hopes for the arrival of reinforcements are quite in vain. If you continue to resist, the Japanese forces will by every possible means destroy and annihilate your forces relentlessly to the last man. Further resistance is completely useless. You, dear soldiers, give up your arms and stop resistance at once.

Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Forces

Yet for the men of Bataan, disease was the real enemy, killing them and sapping their morale with even greater efficacy than the Fourteenth Army. Old diseases that modern medicine had long since learned how to treat. Diseases of vitamin dearth, diseases of bad hygiene, diseases of jungle rot, diseases of sexual promiscuity, and, of course, the vector-borne diseases of the Asian tropics. Their bodies coursed with every worm and pathogen a hot jungle can visit upon a starved and weakened constitution-dengue fever, amebic dysentery, bacillary dysentery, tertian malaria, cerebral malaria, typhus, typhoid. The field hospitals were rife with gas gangrene, spreading from wound to wound to wound. The men's joints ached with the various odd swellings of incipient beriberi, an illness of vitamin B deficiency which, as one soldier described the condition, left the legs feeling "watery and pump[ing] with pains" and made the racing heart "thump like a tractor engine bogged in a swamp."

Working at the front lines with the 31st Infantry, Dr. Hibbs had seen all of these conditions, and many others of even greater exoticism, but increasingly he'd found it impossible to treat the sufferers. It was a medical defeat. The hospitals overflowed to the point that the nurses were setting up outdoor wards among the gnarled folds and aerial roots of ancient banyan trees.

Of all the various units and outfits spread over Bataan, the 31st had seen a disproportionate share of sickness and death, especially in the last few weeks of the siege. Not only were its men in the thick of battle, but they generally ate less well than supply units situated closer to the quartermaster. It is an old hard fact of war that rations mysteriously shrink as they make their way to the front. And so the proud 31st, which before the war had been known as the Thirsty-first for its reputed drinking prowess, then came to be known as the Hungry-first, the most starved of all the American units on Bataan.

During the last few weeks of the fighting, the bloodshed had been horrific. Dr. Hibbs's memory of the last battles was a blur of despair and carnage. One morning Hibbs had found himself holding a leg whose owner could not be located. On another day, he had treated a kid with a ghastly shrapnel wound to the head, a wound large enough so that gray matter was protruding from his skull. Hibbs had declared the young soldier a goner, but then he had miraculously rallied, only to lapse into a coma. The battle raged so intensely that the whole unit was forced to pull back, but the medics had no litters or ambulances with which to transport casualties. Hibbs never forgot the sight of the blood-smeared boy dangling over the shoulders of the medics like a sodden rag doll as they retreated into the jungle. They would set the kid down on the ground and resume the fight, then pick him up and withdraw again, then set him down and fight some more. This went on all day, with the boy becoming like a terrible mascot of the retreat. It hardly seemed worth the effort; the boy's brains were pushing out of his head, the color had washed from his face, his pulse was barely there-yet he kept on breathing. For Hibbs, the scene was a metaphor for what the fighting on Bataan had become, a heroic struggle to prolong a hopeless cause.

At night, when the fighting subsided, a lieutenant named Henry Lee would dash off lines of poetry from his foxhole. Universally beloved by members of the Philippine Division Headquarters Company, Lee was from Pasadena, California, and had been educated at Pomona College, where he first cultivated his literary aspirations. On Bataan he fought with the elite Filipino soldiers known as the Philippine Scouts. Whenever he wasn't holding a gun, he could usually be found with a pen in his hand. There was one snippet of Lee's verse that especially caught the spirit of the last weeks. Entitled "Prayer Before Battle," it was written as an homage to Mars.

Drained of faith

I kneel and hail thee as my Lord

I ask not life

Thou need not swerve the bullet

I ask but strength to ride the wave

and one thing more-

teach me to hate.

Defeat had come slowly, steadily, over a period of four months. As in all great sieges, the fall of Bataan was not so much an emphatic decision of arms as it was an epic drawdown marked by increments of physical, spiritual, and material depletion. As John Hersey wrote at the time, the truth had come to the men of Bataan "in mean little doses." Hibbs had begun his tour of Philippine duty with a sunny nonchalance, even as the threat of war loomed. Manila was considered the easiest post in the Army, the "Pearl of the Orient," where officers lazed away the heat of the day and danced away the nights dressed in natty sharkskin suits, drinking gin and tonics and San Miguel beer at the Jai Alai Club. Hibbs had had a love affair with a Manila society girl named Pilar Campos, a beautiful young mestiza who was the daughter of the president of the Bank of the Philippine Islands. "Neither of us," Hibbs wrote, "sought help in finding the moral path." In late November, less than two weeks before the first Zeros came to attack Luzon, Hibbs had written a chipper note to his parents back in Oskaloosa, Iowa. "Things are peaceful here," he wrote.

Life in the Orient is easygoing with emphasis on the mañana and siesta ethic. With the tremendous military buildup here, a Jap attack seems unlikely. If I had it to do over again, I would have gone to England. There's nothing going to happen here.

Love, Ralph

By January, Hibbs recognized how misplaced his insouciance was, but he tried to put the best face on the situation. An optimist by nature, he endeavored to look for hope in the shadows, to ascribe the non-arrival of promised arms and medicines to honest mistakes that could be easily redeemed. A slender, bespectacled man with some of the bearing and affable features of the young Jimmy Stewart, Hibbs kept his sense of humor no matter how grim things got, his eyes always lit with a suggestion of mischief. In February, Hibbs sent another letter to his folks, which proved to be his last communication from Bataan-a letter notable for its facade of good cheer where plainly none existed.

Life is not too bad. I have a bamboo bed, a blanket, plenty of water, a few too many mosquitoes. The food is fair-carabao, monkey, and occasionally mule. Everyone is content and in fairly good health. No need to worry.

We have plenty of room in which to maneuver and fight and we have plenty of it left in us. Turn the calf out to pasture. I'll be delayed a while.

Ralph

The letter ran prominently, and without a hint of irony, in the Des Moines Register under the headline "Things Are Not Too Bad."

In truth, Hibbs had found monkey to be considerably less than fair. The meat was unappetizing in hue and appearance, and if one had to clean and prepare the animal, consuming it made one feel rather like a cannibal. Hibbs later wrote, "After chewing on a piece it seemed to increase in size, requiring resting of the masseter muscle. Most monkey meat got placed back in our mess kits pretty much undisturbed." As trying as monkey was, the menu on Bataan grew progressively stranger. Meals consisted of cats, slugs, rats, various dried insects, and the meat and eggs of python. Some Filipinos were known to eat dogs; the bow-hunting Igorot tribesmen who'd been brought in to teach the soldiers jungle survival skills were especially fond of a dish that might be described as hound haggis. "It was a custom to eat the stomach of a dog that had been gorged with rice before sacrificing it," Hibbs remembered. "The warm rice mixed with the mucus of the stomach was supposedly a delicacy."On the evening of April 8, 1942, "things" were most assuredly bad for Dr. Hibbs. As he sat shivering in the ditch, half lost in the throes of his fever, the vast volcanic jungle clinked and snapped and exploded with the sounds of an army deliberately destroying itself. With surrender imminent, the men had been given the order to ruin their weapons and sabotage any hardware that might prove valuable to the enemy. Men were firing their last rounds of ammunition into the air, detonating their grenades, covering their gun emplacements with brush, dismantling their rifles and mortars and artillery pieces part by part and scattering the miscellaneous components into the jungle. Troops were pouring sand into the gas tanks of jeeps and armored vehicles, or pulling the drain plugs from the oil pans while the engines were left running. On the labyrinthine network of tiny trails that spread like capillaries over the southern tip of Bataan, the soldiers were not so much casting down their weapons as they were obliterating them, in preparation for General King's expected announcement of capitulation.Suddenly the night erupted in a series of explosions that Hibbs described as "apocalyptic." He was hearing, and feeling, the dying gasp of the U.S. Army Forces of the Far East: The demolition squads were blowing up the last of the big American ammunition dumps to keep them from falling into Japanese hands. For a time that evening, the southern tip of Bataan took on the sheen of day, and one could limn the complex outline of the peninsula, with its deep ravines and extinct volcanoes, its innumerable points and promontories fingering out into the sea. The mighty island fortress of Corregidor could be seen shimmering in Manila Bay. Cringing in his ditch, Dr. Hibbs tried to shield himself from the rain of dirt and rocks and shell fragments that fell out from the explosions. The dumps contained several million dollars' worth of explosives-hundreds of thousands of rounds of small-arms ammunition and artillery shells. The detonations of TNT were unimaginably powerful, and they more than aroused Hibbs from his febrile stupor. "It was the biggest fireworks display I'd ever seen, even bigger than the Iowa State Fair," Hibbs said. "With each blast, my body would bounce clear into the air."

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 214 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(152)

4 Star

(45)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 215 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 26, 2010

    A Must Read

    This is a disturbing book, well written and hard to put down. The publisher's notes and other comments make it clear what the story is about. My main comment: Why does no one know of this raid/rescue mission? I've read WWII history all my life, been in the military 20+ years, and never heard of it. It is almost as if it has been erased from our history. Was the US Army so ashamed at how it abandoned the Bataan prisoners that it indeed drew a cloak over the survivors? I don't know...but I do know this is a story every American should become familiar with. Also a movie...not as good as the book, but has actual video footage of the survivors at the end.

    18 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    Ghost Soldiers recognizes not only those that were captives, but those that strove to bring them home

    An engrossing read, though sometimes I had to put it down because I was truly troubled by the treatment our soldiers endured. Well written account -- a story that had to be shared

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 21, 2010

    A thought provoking novel that offers insight to the trials and tribulations of the American POWs during World War II

    The novel takes the reader on an emotional journey while following the horrific experiences of the American soldiers stationed on the Philippine island of Bataan during World War II. With help from American not arriving, the soldiers are forced to surrender to the Japanese Imperial army. From here the reader is shown horrific personal accounts of innumerable war crimes committed against these Americans. While recalling these hellish experiences in a story like manner, Sides gives readers equal insight to the army group known simply as the Rangers. These men were called upon when the American army returned to the island of Bataan three years later. They were given an intricate precarious mission that would finally prove themselves as an elite fighting force. The mission's main objective was to secure all of the POWs in the Japanese death camp known as Cabanatuan. Yet to get there the men would have to march countless mile deep into enemy territory all the while keeping the element of surprise. The entire mission proves to be gripping and highly suspenseful, that will make it hard for readers to put the book down. Sides masterfully shows how cultural differences, racial aggression, and new found power come together to form a deadly cocktail that consumes thousands of American lives. The suspense of the novel takes a fare amount of chapters to develop, but the wait proves to be worth it in the end. The realistic elements of the novel, such as interviews and army documents add to the authenticity of the story, yet also add gruesome and sometimes gory scenarios. Due to these situations, if readers are offended by gore and fowl language, this book might not be suited well for them. Sides is also the author of Stomping Grounds and Americana and lives up to his reputation in Ghost Soldiers. This novel truly deserves all the accolades it receives which is why it deserves five stars.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Ghost Soldiers would definitely be one of the top three books I have read in my life. It surpassed my expectations. Had me in tears as I read it. My professor even said that my book review made her cry. If you are debating on buying this book, buy it. I am planning on keeping mine and having my kids read it when they get older.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    A must read

    I loved reading this book. Hampton Sides did such a great job describing the surroundings, characters and emotions that it was difficult for me to continue to read the book because I was an emotional mess. And because it was so heart wrenching I could not stop reading because I needed to know what was going to happen next and how it would end. I highly recommend this book but be warned that it is very detailed and emotional.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great Story of courageous people

    Most people would recognize and understand what the Bataan Death March was and who was involved. Also most Americans would not know why it happened, how many people there were, and where was support from America to help these men and women. The author tells us about the men who were on the Death March, their lives as POW¿s on Bataan and the rescue mission by Army Rangers in 1945 of Cabanatuan POW Camp on Bataan. From this book I attained a deeper appreciation for the Filipino guerilla soldiers who were left behind by McArthur, and the determination of the American soldiers who marched, died and endured during this time. Many of these men and women felt ¿abandoned¿, lied to and discarded; but they never gave up. The rescue mission was a brilliant tactical operation attempting to free these forgotten soldiers.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Perfectly Written!

    This is an absolute must read! I love reading about the wars, but even people not interested in military history would have to enjoy this story! It is heroic and exciting! It bounces around perfectly to provide the reader with the bigger picture! This book never drags, and I would recommend it to anybody!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Graphic

    The book that I am reviewing is Ghost Soldiers. The author of the book is Hampton Sides. The book takes places in World War 2.
    This book is about the prisoners of war (POW) and about a rescue mission. This book will tell you what it was like in World War 2 as a POW. Also it will get in depth into how they were treated.
    My personal reaction to this book is that I enjoyed it. The reason I enjoyed the book is because of all the action that happens throughout the chapters. There are some disgusting parts in this book, like when a soldier digs out a women's fetus with a butane. The book has a lot of graphic scenes. I think this book is a must read for people who enjoy history, action, and war books

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    A moving testimony of a small slice of the "Greatest Generation"(s) sacrifice.

    I read Mr. Sides' "Blood & Thunder" a year or so ago and enjoyed it so much I did an E-book search and bought "Ghost Soldiers". I'm glad I did.
    I don't even know how to describe this book other than to say it's unbelievable what those men survived. Well written and painstakingly researched, it is an excellent book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Great Story!!!!

    A great story and good detail about the people helping the POWs. Very moving descriptions of the good and bad during war.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2014

    maine reader

    Very eye opening about Bataan and disturbing the way the Japanese treated it's prisioners -- shame on them!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2011

    Very awsome book!! Highly Recommended!!!!

    Ghost soldiers... is a thrilling World War 2 book and Mr. sides tells the story very well giving the captives, captures, and rescuers personalities alike. My opinion is that this book is vibrantly, powerful and seems alive on the page. This book is a thrilling tale of American courage and heroism ghost soldiers Hamton side brings to life a fogotten rescuer mission that changed the lives of 513 POWs in a hellish POW camp This rescue mission alone is one that you will always remember. This book is recommended to childern interested in America's greatist World War 2 rescue mission.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2009

    WOW!!! A Historical Masterpiece That Every American Should Read

    An exceptional book, it gives the reader a non-stop adventure from start to finish. It provides a full & heartfelt perspective of the heroic men and women from the beginning of the end at Bataan up to one of the most perfectly executed raids in American history. Mr. Sides' research and ability to express what these great men and women went through in war is a true gift to the reader. It combines courage, love, heroism, patriotism, humility.........and so much more. The veterans of Bataan, the brave Filipino guerillas, the courageous men of the Alamo Scouts and 6th Ranger Battalion, the dedicated women like "High Pockets"...... WOW!!You're talking real-life heroes here, not "Rambo" crap.The worst thing about this book is that it ends; you don't want to stop reading it. It's regretable there's not a higher rating, because giving this book a five star rating doesn't do it justice. Reading it is a gift from the author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2014

    What can I say

    All I can say is I cried a lot this is a most read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2014

    Mr. Sides tells history like a liberal

    Years of reading American history have taught me to separate author opinions from facts. I ignore the veiled opinions mixed with fact, but this authors opinions make me mad that i bought this book. He makes vicious treatment and decapitations of prisoners out to be a normal reaction from the Japanese, who had reason to hate us. Surely, a better book written on the subject is out there. Mr. Sides uses great vocabulary words, some rather archaic to appear modernly relevant, but it feels more smoke and mirrors than anything. Makes the content appear more scholarly than it actual probably is.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I expected

    Sorry, I thought this would be better, read it because nothing else at
    that time, Sorry. Yankee Tony

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 29, 2014

    Best book I've read in years.

    Very touching story of endurance and the victory of good over evil. That's a poor description, but what else can I say? When I came to the end of the book I was disappointed because it was done. It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book this much.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    Excellent book. The stories are earth shattering. This is not a

    Excellent book. The stories are earth shattering. This is not a Hollywood book of made up facts. The authors are the real heroes who lived and died thru this hell. It's a "heavy" book to read, but, unfortunetly, it's also our history. Could not put the book down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Me

    Male 12years old. Tall solidly built blond hair outgoing personality likes to read and eat . Talkative

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Alex's bioooooo {did it cuz i was bored}

    //Name: Alexandrea Controe// Age: 13// Gender: &female// Description: A very skinny girl, with red boy short hair (the one thats like..always messy), SUPER pale, big hazel eyes, long eyelashes, yadda yadda yaddaa//Personality: Hotheaded, trustworthy, enthusiastic, rebelious, i speak up for what i think is right, goofy, outgoing// Partner: Ren!!// Crush: Someone// Boyfriend: Pshhhh aint nobody got time fo dat// Family: Marceline, Emiline, Clovis, Lucious, Emmareese, Ally, Cinniatus, Quintus, Caleb (mah puppy dog), and REN (i know hes my partner but i consider him my fam.), and Sammi Bluue (Sam)// Likes: pie, music, scary movies, Pewdiepie, Shane Dawson, Smosh, anime, and FUN PEOPLE!!// Hates: Commanders cranky days, Kim Kardashian..actually make that all the Kardashians, sl<_>uts, people who think theyre all dat//Scars: one across my torso//Other: I see dead people and i have boy short hair cuz i had colon cancer (irl)//

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 215 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)