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I Am Alive!: A United States Marine's Story of Survival in a World war II Japanese POW Camp Mass Market Paperback – June 3, 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (June 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345449118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345449115
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,815,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In the bleak and bitter cold of a copper mine in northern Japan, a Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy was given an opportunity to write a prisoner-of-war card for his wife. He was allowed ten words?he used three: ?I AM ALIVE!? This message, classic in its poignancy of suffering and despair captures only too well what it meant to be a prisoner of the Japanese Army.

Now, acclaimed military historian Major Bruce Norton USMC (Ret.) brings to light a long-forgotten memoir by a marine captured at Corregidor in the spring of 1942 and interned for three devastating years by the Japanese. With unflinching prose, the words of Marine Sergeant Major Charles Jackson describe the fierce yet impossible battle for Corregidor, the surrender of thousands of his comrades, the long forced marches, and the lethal reality of the P.O.W. camps. Joining some of the most important eyewitness accounts of war, I AM ALIVE! is a testament to the men who fought and died for their country. Jackson?s unembellished account of what his fellow soldiers endured in the face of inhumanity pays tribute to the men who served America during the war?and shows why we would ultimately prevail.

About the Author

Charles R. Jackson was born in Virginia in 1898. After receiving a degree in civil engineering, he attended West Point, graduated, and served in the U.S. Army until he resigned in 1925. He enrolled in the U.S. Marine Corps as a private in 1927.

During World War II, Jackson was captured on Corregidor and spent more than three years in Japanese prison camps. Besides receiving a Purple Heart and a Gold Star, he had the distinction of receiving a Silver Star for valor from the U.S. Army.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edward Hall on June 14, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I AM ALIVE! is a collection of short stories told by Marine Sergeant Major Charles R. Jackson, a West Point graduate who resigned his Army commission, in 1926, to become a Private in the United States Marine Corps. Fifteen years later, he was a sergeant major in the 4th Marine Regiment, fighting for his life on Corregidor, and later dealing with life as a POW in the bottom of a copper mine in northern Japan for nearly four years.
Much credit is due to Major "Doc" Norton,USMC, who edited this work and ow presents this story as a masterpiece of World War II experiences. I know the phrase, "I couldn't put it down," is well-worn, but that is exactly what happened to me. One story leads to another, each one better than the last. The finished product is a marvelous collection of observation of fellow Marines, soldiers, Japanese officers, and even Shoo Chow the mongrel mascot of the 4th Marine Regiment, who also survived being a "guest of the Emperor."
I have read many of Major Norton's books, but this is without question his best effort yet. There is no doubt in my mind that this is an award-winning book. I would encourage every veteran, every parent, and every service man and women, to read
this great book. They will immediately learn where their military heritage comes from. Without doubt, a 5-Star book. I'll buy 25 copies as Christmas presents.

found himself
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was somewhat disappointed in that the author seemed to focus more on times before capture than times inside the prison camp and mine. The book seemed to jump around alot and the writing styles seem to change from chapter to chapter which detracted from the stories the auther told. Over all though, he went into great detail in describing to the readers about what made each man unique. The author shows an incedible talent in portraying each man's stengths and weaknesses. He shows how even the Japanese guards that tormented them had human and good qualities that kept him from hating them outright. This book seems to focus more the human soul than the life of a prisoner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on December 22, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"I Am Alive!: A United States Marine's Story of Survival in a World War II Japanese POW Camp," by Charles R. Jackson, has been edited by Bruce H. Norton. The introductory materials of the book note that Jackson graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served as an Army officer. He resigned his commission in 1925 and enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps in 1927. He rose to the rank of sergeant major and was made a warrant officer before retiring. This book draws on his experiences as a prisoner-of-war held by the Japanese in the Philippines and Japan.

This is a remarkable book. While firmly in the tradition of the American military narrative, it is quite different in tone from any military true-life story I have ever read. Jackson's voice is that of a folksy storyteller. In the book he specifically mentions the tradition of military oral folklore, and his own style draws on that tradition.

Most of the book is structured as a series of interconnected character sketches. The gallery he presents is a very diverse group: officer and enlisted, as well as civilian; Japanese, Filipino, and American of various ethnic groups; Christian and Jew; even non-human. I found some of the most striking pieces to be the following: "The Story of Lieutenant Asaka," about an enigmatic Japanese prison commandant who is respected as a "real soldier" by his own enemies; "The Story of the Old Swede," about a Marine first sergeant who is an alcoholic; and "The Story of First Sergeant Santaleses," about a formidable soldier of the Philippine Scouts. But my favorite tale is "The Story of Soochow," about a little mongrel dog who becomes a Marine mascot, and stands by his Marines in battle and in prison.

Jackson's sketches bring all of these characters to life.
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Being the daughter of a POW all stories have special meaning. I have the honor to know. personally know 20 of these men. We don't know how many of them are left. Please read ad there stories. Tell your friends, family and children of their sacrifice. We will never forget !
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