The defeat, though, was only the beginning, as Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman make dramatically clear in this powerfully original book. From then until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the prisoners of war suffered an ordeal of unparalleled cruelty and savagery: forty-one months of captivity, starvation rations, dehydration, hard labor, deadly disease, and torture-far from the machinations of General Douglas MacArthur.
The Normans bring to the story remarkable feats of reportage and literary empathy. Their protagonist, Ben Steele, is a figure out of Hemingway: a young cowboy turned sketch artist from Montana who joined the army to see the world. Juxtaposed against Steele's story and the sobering tale of the Death March and its aftermath is the story of a number of Japanese soldiers.
The result is an altogether new and original World War II book: it exposes the myths of military heroism as shallow and inadequate; it makes clear, with great literary and human power, that war causes suffering for people on all sides.
This stunning, in-depth account of one of the most horrific chapters of World War II history tells of the experiences of over 70,000 American and Filipino soldiers who had surrendered to the Japanese army during the Battle of Bataan in 1942. These soldiers experienced starvation, disease, torture, and forced labor, and many died before they were liberated at the end of the war. Michael and Elizabeth Norman tell the story through the focus of Ben Steele, an American soldier, as well as through the memories of those from both sides whom they interviewed for this well-researched, well-told military history.
- History, Political Science
- History + Theory, Military / World War II
- March 2, 2010
- March 2, 2010
- Michael Norman, Elizabeth M. Norman