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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)