They Fought Alone: A True Story of a Modern American Hero

They Fought Alone: A True Story of a Modern American Hero

by John Keats


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They Fought Alone: A True Story of a Modern American Hero by John Keats

When the American forces in the Philippines surrendered in May 1942, a mining engineer named Wendell Fertig chose to take his chances in the jungle. What happened to him during nearly three years behind enemy lines is the amazing story that John Keats tells in They Fought Alone.

With the aid of a handful of Americans who also refused to surrender, Fertig led thousands of Filipinos in a seemingly hopeless war against the Japanese. They made bullets from curtain rods; telegraph wire from iron fence. They fought off sickness, despair and rebellion within their own forces. Their homemade communications were MacArthur’s eyes and ears in the Philippines. When the Americans finally returned to Mindanao, they found Fertig virtually in control of one of the world’s largest islands, commanding an army of 35,000 men, and bringing a measure of hope to a beleaguered people.

John Keats, who also served in the Philippines, captures all the pain, brutality, and courage of this incredible drama. They Fought Alone is a testament to the ingenuity and sheer guts of an authentic American hero.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630260767
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Pages: 442
Sales rank: 1,262,533
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

John Keats (1921–2000) was the author of eleven books, including The Crack in the Picture Window, School without Scholars, and The Insolent Chariots. He wrote the award-winning television play Conformity, and his articles have appeared in more than thirty national magazines.

Read an Excerpt

For the three Americans, each step was a wrench and pull, for their shoes sank into the suck and squelch of the trail; the foot ahead, sinking, could find little purchase from which to pull up the foot that followed; meanwhile the warm rain beat down through the billion leaves of the forest and ran down their collars and, mingling with their sweat, collected inside their waists at their belts, and soaked through the canvas packs. They worked through the wet and the muck in a stifling heat, swinging bolos to clear the new vines that had looped across the trail since the last travelers had come that way, and by noon on their first day they were tired beyond caring.

They had also reached that point of fatigue where no man will admit to another that he is tired, each subconsciously thinking if he can make it, so can I, and the sight of the spindly barefoot children was a constant reproof that drove them (and, of course, the children) for yet another hour through the mold-smelling wet tangle of the jungle web.

Each of the three Americans was a proud, powerful man. Fertig was tall, deep-chested, with the long flat muscles of the trained athlete that he still was in his early forties; Hedges, outwardly a wisp of a man, was yet compounded of sinews bound together by anger; Offret was a stocky engine built for . brutal wear. Yet this jungle through which Fertig could not stride; which Offret could not smash; which Hedges could not sear or lay waste—this thing of ooze and give and grip; this steaminess and wet slap of leaves; this all-surrounding, dark, unending one-foot-at-a-time wrench and skid—brought all thought to nothing and spent their strength on nothing.

Table of Contents

Book One: Surrender / 3

Book Two: Decision / 75

Book Three: The Dragon’s Teeth

Book Four: Harvest / 169

Book Five: Morgan / 263

Book Six: War / 315

Envoi / 433

Appendix / 447

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