We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan

We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan

by Elizabeth Norman
4.5 21


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We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth Norman

In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and dinners under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs began raining down on American bases in Luzon, and this paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, the nurses set up field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan and the tunnels of Corregidor, where they tended to the most devastating injuries of war, and suffered the terrors of shells and shrapnel.
But the worst was yet to come. After Bataan and Corregidor fell, the nurses were herded into internment camps where they would endure three years of fear, brutality, and starvation. Once liberated, they returned to an America that at first celebrated them, but later refused to honor their leaders with the medals they clearly deserved. Here, in letters, diaries, and riveting firsthand accounts, is the story of what really happened during those dark days, woven together in a deeply affecting saga of women in war.
Praise for We Band of Angels
“Gripping . . . a war story in which the main characters never kill one of the enemy, or even shoot at him, but are nevertheless heroes . . . Americans today should thank God we had such women.”—Stephen E. Ambrose
“Remarkable and uplifting.”—USA Today
“[Elizabeth M. Norman] brings a quiet, scholarly voice to this narrative. . . . In just a little over six months these women had turned from plucky young girls on a mild adventure to authentic heroes. . . . Every page of this history is fascinating.”—Carolyn See, The Washington Post
“Riveting . . . poignant and powerful.”—The Dallas Morning News
Winner of the Lavinia Dock Award for historical scholarship, the American Academy of Nursing National Media Award, and the Agnes Dillon Randolph Award

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812984842
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 44,398
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.83(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth M. Norman, R.N., Ph.D., is a professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is the author of Women at War: The Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam, and co-author with Michael Norman of Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath, which made The New York Times list of top ten nonfiction books in 2009 and was named a 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Her awards include an official commendation for Military Nursing Research from the U.S. Department of the Army.

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We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
mtmNE More than 1 year ago
Very moving book. I am embarrassed that my knowledge of WWII history was so lacking. I had no idea about what happened in the Philippines at that time.
BookishBlonde More than 1 year ago
I can rate this book while still reading because this will be the second time I've read it. If you're a nurse or have served in the military this is a must read. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines during WWII ninety-nine American army and navy nurses without any combat training found themselves suddenly behind enemy lines. They spent months working under appalling conditions in hidden field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan, moving frequently to stay ahead of Japanese. Eventually an evacuation was executed. However, when these nurses learned that only they were to be evacuated while the injured men in their care were to be left behind with only a handful of medics to see to the most basic care the vast majority of them refused to get on the ships and stayed behind to continue caring for their patients; over seventy of these nurses voluntarily remained on Bataan. After some months they and their patients were captured and became part of the infamous Bataan Death March. The nurses survived the Death March and endured three years of captivity in a POW camp. We Band of Angels is a story of dedication, compassion, and courage. This is a part of our history that has received too little attention, give these women and nurses the recognition and honor they deserve and read their story.
MimiMA More than 1 year ago
One of the main characters grew up in my town and yet many people knew nothing of her. We Band of Angels became a "One Book, One Community" selection for Bridgewater, MA. The book is so well written and shows the amazing strength of these WWII women. The author, Elizabeth Norman, spoke to the townspeople and added other interesting facts to what we had already learned. Anyone who has some knowledge of WWII or had a relative serve, should read this book.
wabisabi More than 1 year ago
Not only does this book tell you what the nurses endured during their time as prisoners of war but it shows you that being a prisoner of war affects you for the rest of your life. The Japanese starved their prisoners and this temporary malnutrition had a lifelong affect, making it virtually impossible to completely forget their years of imprisonment. These ladies were amazing - nursing other prisoners while they, themselves, were suffering from beri beri, dysentary, malaria, and other horrible diseases.
caribird More than 1 year ago
I've just started reading it but loving it. I am a nurse and my grandmother was a nurse at Pearl Harbor after the bombing so this was the closest I may come to her story. It is written well with many details unique to these women there and as always the inspiration of how the human spirit rises above and survives unbelievable atrocities. I will probably recommend it for my bookclub as well as it brings up so many issues in life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone interested in WW2 history in the Pacific or in the history of Women on the front lines
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a nurse i was honored to read about the true heros of my profession. I met on veterans day 2012 Mrs Diane Carlson Evens,RN, and heard of her life as a nurse in Veitnam and her life following the war. I learned of her fight to get, not only her and her contemporaries recognized for there service to our country, but also all women who had been in war. She is the founder and Chair of the Vietnam Women's Memorial. Talking with her light in me a passion to find out and learn about these women and to bring voice to there stories. I found this book very informative and truly a blessing to read. These women were angels, then and today. Nurses in war are Angels for in that moment they are a little peace of heaven because of there dedication amd love for there patents. Thank you for righting this book to set the story streaght.
kcsTX More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Norman has crafted a highly readable, very enlightening book on the little know plight of the U.S. Army and Navy Nurses trapped in the Philippines for the duration of WWII. The courage, dedication and fortitude of these women should stand as and example to all.
dmcjr4 More than 1 year ago
An incrredible story of World War Ii in the Phillipines before the Phillipines,Bataan and Corregidor fell, and the suffering these nurses endured and the prisoners they cared for....Truly INSPIRING !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This piece of history about women who did great and ordnary things in extrodinary cirunstance.
USMCproudmom More than 1 year ago
What an amazing tale of sacrifice, duty, honor and grace. The nurses in this true story are true heroes! It is too bad that their individual and collective actions were not acknowledged sooner. They truly paved the way for those of us women veterans who came later. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude for their service.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These ladies are great heros of WWII. Left to fend for themselves and they came out on top with class.
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This was an interesting read regarding the nurses who were held as POWs in WWII. A must read for those that are interested in real life stories of WWII POWs, especially the nurses that were involved and their hardships they underwent as POWs.
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