Ghost Soldiers

Ghost Soldiers

The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission

Book - 2001
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A tense, powerful, grand account of one of the most daring exploits of World War II.

On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected troops from the elite U.S. Army 6th Ranger Battalion slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty miles in an attempt to rescue 513 American and British POWs who had spent three years in a surreally hellish camp near the city of Cabanatuan. The prisoners included the last survivors of the Bataan Death March left in the camp, and their extraordinary will to live might soon count for nothing--elsewhere in the Philippines, the Japanese Army had already executed American prisoners as it retreated from the advancing U.S. Army. As the Rangers stealthily moved through enemy-occupied territory, they learned that Cabanatuan had become a major transshipment point for the Japanese retreat, and instead of facing the few dozen prison guards, they could possibly confront as many as 8,000 battle-hardened enemy troops.

Hampton Sides's vivid minute-by-minute narration of the raid and his chronicle of the prisoners' wrenching experiences are masterful. But Ghost Soldiers is far more than a thrilling battle saga. Hampton Sides explores the mystery of human behavior under extreme duress--the resilience of the prisoners, who defied the Japanese authorities even as they endured starvation, tropical diseases, and unspeakable tortures; the violent cultural clashes with Japanese guards and soldiers steeped in the warrior ethic of Bushido; the remarkable heroism of the Rangers and Filipino guerrillas; the complex motivations of the U.S. high command, some of whom could justly be charged with abandoning the men of Bataan in 1942; and the nearly suicidal bravado of several spies, including priests and a cabaret owner, who risked their lives to help the prisoners during their long ordeal.

At once a gripping depiction of men at war and a compelling story of redemption, Ghost Soldiers joins such landmark books as Flags of Our Fathers , The Greatest Generation , The Rape of Nanking , and D-Day in preserving the legacy of World War II for future generations.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2001.
ISBN: 9780385495646
Characteristics: 342 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., maps, ports. ;,24 cm.


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Aug 25, 2019

After surviving the battle of Bataan, after surviving the Bataan Death March, after surviving Camp Douglas where thousands of US POWs died of disease, and after surviving the lottery for deportation to Japan to serve as prisoner labor (risking being sunk by US bombers on while on the prison ship), 500 survivors were left at Cabanatuan prison camp to be rescued by American Army Rangers. This is that amazing story. Infiltration, raid and exfiltration with the loss of four Americans to 1,000 Japanese. Filipino guerrillas were essential to the success of the mission. True heroes all the way around in a very exciting historical tidbit.

May 29, 2016

I have been reading 4 times because i saw my grandpa was soldiers with picture book at the library Barnaby it was interesting powerful in the history. I have never been asking my grandpa long time but he passed away in 2014. He lived in USA, California but I can't far in the long distance. i lived in Canada, Vancouver. I rare visit to my
relatives in California. that's why my woman cousin visited me at Canada when she showed me for Ghost Soldiers book long times. i can't believe saw my grandpa was soldier in the Philippines with picture. My relatives had have alright know their grandpa was soldiers.

Jan 18, 2016

A book for people interest in WWII and the Philippines Bataan death march. Not a book for sissies. The US Army 6th Ranger Battalion mission was to rescue American and British POW's interned. I must admit I went to the end of the book to read who they rescued and how they survived....that was pretty grueling but at least you got to see who got out and how they lived the rest of their life.

Oct 16, 2015

Exciting, touching, made me cry several times. Chapters alternate between the prisoners' years in the camp and preparation for their rescue. Confusing at first but Sides is a good writer and he settles into a good rhythm. Nice pairing with Lost in Shangri-La.

Mar 10, 2014

This is a very well-written book! I found it hard to put down. The atrocities of war were not glossed over but the strength and determination of the human spirit was certainly evident, both in the portrayals of the American prisoners and those who were tasked with rescuing them. It was interesting to read about the beginnings of the Army Rangers and I learned a lot about the Filipino people as well.

I found numerous passages that were quite enlightening:

“Never had the U.S. Army fought against an enemy about whom it knew so little.”

“For the Rangers, the intensely pro-American loyalty of the Filipinos like Joson and his guerillas was both touching and a little hard to understand. Yes, they shared the same enemy – and if anything, the Filipinos hated the Japanese even more virulently than the Americans did. But why should the Filipinos worry over the fate of 500 American prisoners when they had their own immeasurable tragedies and sufferings to contend with? Their country was going up in flames all around them. Once again, two nations from across the seas were thrashing it out on Philippine soil, and once again, they were caught in the maelstrom. Like history’s stepchildren, the Philippine people repeatedly seemed to bear the brunt of other people’s arguments.”

I would encourage anyone who is interested in World War II history to read this book.

Dec 13, 2011

Very interesting account of the Bataan Death March and other southeast asian WWII events, as well as the horrible conditions experienced by the allied POWs. It was interesting to read the author's analysis of the Japanese psyche and reasoning for their treatment of the prisoners. Although somewhat understandable from their perspective, there is no excuse for the inhumanity shown. Easy writing style and quite a few photographs.

soundguy1999 Nov 05, 2011

A compelling story of heroism and bravery.
This book reads like a Tom Clancy novel except the story is true.
I will never understand how anyone can be so murderous and cruel to their fellow human being.

Sep 02, 2011

Story of the Allied soldiers who endured the Bataan Death March and three years in a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines.

Dec 04, 2010

I stopped reading this about 1/2 way through. I had read similar books recently, and was tiring of the depressing details of the Japanese atrocities to WWII POW's.


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Jan 22, 2014

..., the core unit of daily life at Cabanatuan was one's immediate survival group.

Jan 22, 2014

Never had the US Army fought against an enemy about whom it knew so little.

Jan 22, 2014

Swear that you'll die fighting rather than let any harm come to those prisoners.

Jan 22, 2014

The ghosts of Bataan,...

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