The Fallen: A True Story of American POWs and Japanese Wartime Atrocitiesby Marc Landas
When a rumor first crossed Special Agent Philip Cheles’s desk in November 1945, there was no way to imagine the horror he would soon discover. Determined to uncover the truth behind an informant’s report of a downed B-29 planeand the assertion that one or more of the survivors had perished at the hands of local villagersCheles ultimately… See more details below
When a rumor first crossed Special Agent Philip Cheles’s desk in November 1945, there was no way to imagine the horror he would soon discover. Determined to uncover the truth behind an informant’s report of a downed B-29 planeand the assertion that one or more of the survivors had perished at the hands of local villagersCheles ultimately learned that nine soldiers had been captured and placed in the custody of the infamous Kempei Tai, the much-feared Japanese police. Further details surfaced about American POWs and their shocking fate. A benign investigation eventually exploded into the most sensational war crimes trial to come out of Japan.
The Fallen at last reveals the full story of these terrifying war crimes, which grew out of the little-known inner workings of Japan’s World War II biological warfare program. In frank, riveting detail, Marc Landas unravels the story of thirty-nine American POWs who were beheaded by the Japanese military; of the B-29 crew, who suffered an even worse fate at the hands of Japanese scientists; and of the sole American survivor, Marvin Watkins, who refused to forget about his lost comrades even when his own country simply wanted to move on.
Drawing on meticulous research, Landas deftly traces the course of the investigation, from the elaborate cover-up by Japanese soldiers to Watkins’s return to occupied Japan and his role in uncovering the crew’s ultimate fate. Landas reveals the wretched conditions of Japanese POW camps, the astonishing witness testimony at the trial, and the awful truth about the missing G.I.sthat they had served as guinea pigs in unspeakable experiments by Japanese doctors. Landas pieces together the crewmen’s horrific fate and in the process sheds new light on Japan’s biological warfare program during World War II.
To compound the tragedy, the U.S. authorities released the convicted perpetrators for political gain. Landas explains how the push to establish a lasting friendship with Japan led to the cover-up of data and the granting of clemency. The result today is that the Japanese war crimes tribunaland, indeed, the Americans who gave their liveshave all but been forgotten.
The Fallen at last reveals the truth about an episode that both Japanese and American authorities would rather have us overlook, offering an appalling, eye-opening tale of misguided science, corrupt justice, and man’s inhumanity.
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What People are saying about this
"A riveting and horrifying tale. Landas’ meticulous and imaginative detective work reconstructs a long-buried investigation that implicates not just a few rogue soldiers but Japanese scientists, professors, and politicians, abetted by an American cover-up at the highest levels. An important book that fills a gap in the story of World War II. The best part of the story is the courage of a lone American flyer, loyal to his comrades even in the face of torture, whose ordeal unfolds with vivid immediacy." —Philip Gerard, author of SECRET SOLDIERS
Meet the Author
MARC LANDAS is a freelance writer who has written for numerous Internet and print publications, including FOXNews.com and The Source. He has contributed extensively to various urban market magazines as a political reporter and book reviewer. Landas is currently writing a history of professional tennis. He lives in New York.
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This book will shock you in a way that is probably necessary. The great untold horror story of the modern world are the countless acts of torture, human experimentation, mass murder, and use of biological weapons by Imperial Japan before and during WWII. We in the US hear bits about the Nanjing atrocities and others that are always quickly watered down by pro-Japan journalists as "Chinese propaganda." But we dont think about it much anyway because the atrocities were committed against "other people." Reading this book will clarify that Americans were also victims of atrocities, in this case, biological experimentation. Unlike Germany, which faced its ugly truths, Japan remains unrepentant, unapologetic, and in bald-faced denial. This is the shame of the country and something that Americans should know about.
when i first picked this book up i wasn't sure that i'd want to read about something as morbid as 30- something beheadings and human scientific experiments. but as i got into the story i discovered an interesting side story about one of the pows who made it home and put his life (and a waiting wife) on hold just to see that justice was served. it's just the kind of uplifting sacrifice that makes that generation the Greatest Generation. i was pleasantly surprised. so far as procedurals go, it was solid as well.
I found the book to be an outstanding piece of history as it recounted, what to me, was complete and utter barbarity on the part of the Japanese during the Second World War. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. Recommended for anyone interested in World War 2 or History.