Undefeated: America's Heroic Fight for Bataan and Corregidor

( 5 )

Overview

Called "a master of the combat narrative" (The Dallas Morning News), author Bill
Sloan captures the valor, fortitude, and suffering of the American defenders of the Philippines as no other author has. Abandoned by their government, the men and women of the American garrison struggled against impossible military odds, rampant disease, and slow starvation to delay inevitable surrender by the largest American military force ever.
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Undefeated: America's Heroic Fight for Bataan and Corregidor

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Overview

Called "a master of the combat narrative" (The Dallas Morning News), author Bill
Sloan captures the valor, fortitude, and suffering of the American defenders of the Philippines as no other author has. Abandoned by their government, the men and women of the American garrison struggled against impossible military odds, rampant disease, and slow starvation to delay inevitable surrender by the largest American military force ever.
Rather than picturing these defenders as little more than helpless victims of an overwhelmingly powerful and sadistic enemy—as most previous books about the Philippines campaign have done—Undefeated credits American troops with the unexcelled heroism and indomitable spirit they displayed under the worst imaginable conditions.

Interwoven throughout this panoramic narrative are the harrowing personal experiences of dozens of American soldiers, airmen, and Marines. Sloan also provides intimate, in-depth profiles of General Douglas MacArthur,
who evacuated to Australia as the situation on Bataan worsened, and of
General Jonathan Wainwright, who succeeded him as top U.S. commander in the Philippines and himself became a prisoner of the Japanese.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sloan (The Ultimate Battle: Okinawa 1945) adds to his reputation as a chronicler of the mid-century American military experience with this account of the service men and women who fought the battles of Bataan and Corregidor in the half-year after Pearl Harbor. His perspective is unusual. The defense of the Philippines has been condemned, in the words of one poet, as “a wasted hope and a sure defeat.” Sloan tells the entire story—of military defeat but human triumph—relying heavily on participants’ interviews and accounts to describe the fighting, the surrender, and the Bataan death march. He carries the story through the squalid POW camps, the mass deportation to Japan for slave labor, and the guerrilla war fought by the few successful escapees. He concluded that survivors desperately faced mass murder as Japan confronted defeat. Yet this is not a narrative of survival. Sloan presents a story of sustained heroism under unimaginable conditions, of indomitable spirit that brought order to the chaos of prison camps and held together the human cargoes of “hell ships,” deliberately left unidentified and attacked by American submarines. Sloan demonstrates that if captivity is a state of being, defeat is only a state of mind. 16 pages of b&w photos, 4 maps. Agent: Jim Donovan, Jim Donovan Literary. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Sloan demonstrates that if captivity is a state of being, defeat is only a state of mind." —-Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
Although the title seems counterintuitive for a book on the worst military defeat in American history, Sloan focuses on the incredibly trying and undeniably heroic experiences of those caught up in the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. Before the war, being stationed near Manila was not considered a hardship, but after Pearl Harbor life changed for American soldiers in the region. Under intense pressure from Japanese army forces, American units on the island of Luzon retreated first to Manila then, as the situation deteriorated, to the Bataan Peninsula and eventually to Corregidor. A few slipped away into the countryside and organized guerrilla bands that operated—living in constant danger from Japanese soldiers, disease, and betrayal—until the islands were retaken. Very few escaped, barely, before the collapse. Survivors of these battles ended up in prison camps in Japan and Manchuria, where they endured torture and starvation. A Pulitzer Prize-nominated former reporter, Sloan (The Darkest Summer: Pusan and Inchon 1950) interviewed survivors and makes extensive use of oral histories in this personal look at what soldiers experienced as their comfortable garrison lives disintegrated. VERDICT This accessible narrative will appeal to many military history fans for its themes of bravery, sacrifice, and patriotism. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/11.]—Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS
Kirkus Reviews
A skillful step-by-step description of the brutal and heroic but mismanaged 1941–42 campaign in the Philippines. Veteran military historian Sloan (The Darkest Summer: Pusan and Inchon 1950, 2009) delivers his usual vivid, energetic battle account. Using reminiscences from a dozen survivors, he introduces prewar Philippines, a tropical paradise with an army led by the imperious General Douglas MacArthur, who insisted a Japanese invasion was impossible. Learning of Pearl Harbor, he remained curiously idle, allowing Japanese planes to destroy his air and naval defenses. After the December invasion, Philippine and American forces retreated to the Bataan peninsula, fighting valiantly until April 1942. The island fortress of Corregidor surrendered a month later. Readers should steel themselves for what followed as Japanese forces treated captives despicably during the Bataan death march and then starved and abused them in prison camps. No revisionist, Sloan delivers the traditional image of MacArthur ("brilliant general with inflated ego"), yet no brilliance is detectable as MacArthur neglected to supply Bataan until it was too late. As a result, starvation and disease decimated his troops. Safe on Corregidor, he allowed subordinates to conduct operations while sending out a torrent of press releases containing dramatic, heartwarming and often fictional accounts of how his genius was frustrating overwhelmed Japanese forces; in fact, his forces outnumbered theirs two to one. Aided by a fawning media, he emerged a national hero when commanders of all other early World War II debacles (Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong, Singapore, Burma, Dunkirk) were disgraced. Sloan writes expertly of the soldiers' courage battling the Japanese, but readers must search elsewhere (Richard Connaughton, H.P. Willmott) for the latest insight into the competence of their leader.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439199657
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/18/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 401
  • Sales rank: 698,684
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Sloan

Bill Sloan is an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of more than a dozen books, including The Ultimate Battle and Brotherhood of Heroes.

Michael Prichard is a professional narrator and stage and film actor who has played several thousand characters during his career. An Audie Award winner, he has recorded well over five hundred books and has earned several AudioFile Earphones Awards. Michael was also named a Top Ten Golden Voice by SmartMoney magazine.

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Table of Contents

1 A $36-a-Month Paradise 1

2 Paradise Lost 24

3 A Black-and-Blue Christmas 49

4 The Last Bridge to Nowhere 75

5 Victory, Retreat, and a Final Charge 100

6 Abandoning the Battling Bastards 125

7 Chaos on a Collapsing Front 149

8 Through One Hell to Another 175

9 The Rock—"A Shining Example" 201

10 O'Donnell and Other Horrors 229

11 Hell Ships—Voyages to Oblivion 258

12 Escape—The Ultimate Revenge 285

13 A Race Between Freedom and Death 312

14 New Lives, Old Scars 338

Sources and Notes 365

Bibliography 377

Acknowledgments 383

Index 385

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 24, 2012

    Strong Recommendation

    The well written story deals with WWll with focus on Bataan and Corregidor and on U.S. forces beginning in 1941 through the end of the war. Very detailed account of what our forces experienced during those very dark days as well as a glimmer of what happen as well to the people of the Phillipines. The timeline covers the battle and the afterevents of life as a Japanese POW through the end of the war. Full of interesting facts about the American leaders actions, sucesses, and failures. Heroic men and women faced with insurmountable odds and totally alone as Americans first had to face the threat of Germany in Europe. There are some parts that are hard to read because of the nature of the events but enlightening nonethe less. Understanding these events is necessasy to learn the whole of the U.S, in a world war on 2 fronts and perhaps a precusor to the potential events of the 21st century

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    Fantastic. Tells the events leading up to and following the batt

    Fantastic. Tells the events leading up to and following the battle of Bataan through the accounts of countless eye witnesses and records. Stop reading this review and read this book

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

    Posted June 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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