Great Raid on Cabanatuan: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor

Overview

From the critically acclaimed author whom The Wall Street Journal called "a first-class historian," here is a riveting account of one of the most spectacular rescue operations in history. On January 30, 1945, American troops staged a successful raid on Cabanatuan, a notorious Japanese POW camp where thousands of prisoners had been tortured and died. Based on interviews with the heroes who survived the raid, this book brings to life in electrifying detail the dramatic events that...

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The Great Raid on Cabanatuan: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor

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Overview

From the critically acclaimed author whom The Wall Street Journal called "a first-class historian," here is a riveting account of one of the most spectacular rescue operations in history. On January 30, 1945, American troops staged a successful raid on Cabanatuan, a notorious Japanese POW camp where thousands of prisoners had been tortured and died. Based on interviews with the heroes who survived the raid, this book brings to life in electrifying detail the dramatic events that took place on that historic day.

Praise for William B. Breuer and his books

"A first-class historian." —The Wall Street Journal

"Fast-paced, detailed, and satisfyingly dramatic." —World War II Magazine on Devil Boats

"Another smasher by Breuer, who specializes in thrilling reports of WWII spycraft and warfare." —Kirkus Reviews on Race to the Moon

"Vivid . . . skillfully written." —Los Angeles Times on Retaking the Philippines

"Brings to life how airborne soldiers survived, how the human will prevails . . . against overwhelming enemies, tactical failures, and even death."—The New York Times on Geronimo: American Paratroopers in World War II

Early on the morning of January 28, 1945, a small detachment of volunteers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Henry A. Mucci, leader of the 6th Ranger Battalion, embarked from their base in the Philippines on the most audacious rescue operation ever undertaken. Their objective: Penetrate thirty miles behind enemy lines and liberate 511 POWs from Cabanatuan, the notorious Japanese POW camp where thousands of American prisoners had been brutally tortured and killed. Little did Mucci's Rangers know when they got under way that morning that over the next few days and nights they would be making history.

Written by acclaimed military historian William B. Breuer, The Great Raid on Cabanatuan is a riveting account of that rescue mission and the gallant soldiers who carried it out against overwhelming odds. Based largely on interviews with the heroes who survived the operation, and featuring twenty-eight previously unpublished photographs—many of them taken while the raid was in progress—it brings to life in electrifying detail the dramatic events that took place on the night of the raid, January 30, and during the harrowing days that followed.

In sketching out the many roads that led to Cabanatuan, Breuer brilliantly combines oral history with dramatic narrative to bring to life some of the most spectacular events of the war in the Pacific. We relive the hellish battles for Bataan and Corregidor, where in 1942 American and Filipino soldiers fought bravely to hold back the Japanese invasion force. We experience firsthand the horrors of the Bataan Death March on which tens of thousands of prisoners lost their lives en route to Cabanatuan. And we learn of the American underground and guerilla operations in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation from the men and women behind them, including Margaret Utinsky, leader of "Miss U's underground," and Claire Phillips, the glamorous lounge singer turned spy- master.

A gripping chronicle of one of the most harrowing rescue missions ever undertaken as told in all its gritty detail by the heroes who made it happen, The Great Raid on Cabanatuan is both a first-class piece of military scholarship and a thrilling adventure story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Breuer (Hitler's Undercover War) tells the story of the successful U.S. raid on Cabantuan prison camp in the Philippines in January 1945. Rangers and Alamo Scouts, the latter an ancestor of today's Delta Force, liberated several hundred U.S. prisoners and then brought most of the half-starved inmates safely back behind U.S. lines. Breuer relies heavily on interviews with surviving participants to describe the fall of the Philippines in 1941 and the subsequent conditions of Japanese captivity. He offers interesting sidebars on guerrilla activity there and on the underground connections between Cabanatuan and the outside world. His account of the raid itself is an exciting narrative presented by a first-rate storyteller. Of significance to specialists-but for buffs and beginners, a useful acquisition. Illustrations. (Sept.)
Roland Green
The prolific Breuer's latest popular military history is less focused than some of the others but makes absorbing reading nonetheless. The title refers to its climax, the highly successful 1945 commando raid that rescued the last American POWs in the Philippines from the Japanese. Before we hear that story, we learn a great deal about the fall of the Philippines, the atrocious treatment of American and Filipino POWs, the heroic and frequently dangerous work of both Americans and Filipinos in the resistance, and the role of Douglas MacArthur in the whole story. The book's great virtue is that it allows a number of the rapidly diminishing band of survivors of the whole experience to have their say. In so doing, Breuer has not, on the whole, fallen substantially below his previous high standards.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471037422
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/30/1994
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 258
  • Sales rank: 595,193
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Meet the Author

WILLIAM B. BREUER is the successful author of twenty WWII-related books, eight of which were main selections of the Military Book Club. Some of his other books include Race to the Moon: How Hitler's Rocket Scientists Put America on the Moon, Hitler's Undercover War, Geronimo: American Paratroopers in World War II, Retaking the Philippines, and Devil Boats.
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Table of Contents

Deep in Hostile Territory.

Roosevelt Abandons the Philippines.

Legion of the Living Dead.

Sixty Miles of Atrocities.

&'grave;Situation Fast Becoming Desperate''.

&'grave;You Are Enemies of Japan!''.

Miss U and Her Underground.

Secret Radios and Boxcar Smugglers.

An Audacious Escape.

Manila's Notorious Club Tsubaki.

Alamo Scouts and Rangers.

Thumbs Down on a POW Rescue Scheme.

Eagles Soar Over Cabanatuan.

Hell Ships and Vanishing Guards.

A Perilous Mission.

Cross-Country Dominos.

Creeping Up on a Dark Stockade.

Pandemonium Erupts in the Night.

Stealthy Trek by Carabao Caravan.

Hamburgers, Tears, and Freedom.

Epilogue.

Notes and Sources.

Index.

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