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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Holocaust of World War II
Donald Knox wrote an excellent oral history of the experiences of the survivors of the surrender of Bataan and Corregidor. He did this while many of these men (now in the 70s and 80s) were still able to remember vividly their experiences. They detail in their own moving words the starvation, ill-treatment, executions and torture suffered in 3-1/2 years of...
Published on February 24, 1999 by Richard Slater matteson@sos.net

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hoped it would be better.
Although it contained a great deal of detail I found it to be repetitive. Good read though.
Published on April 19, 2002


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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Holocaust of World War II, February 24, 1999
By 
Richard Slater matteson@sos.net (A school librarian from Camano Island WA) - See all my reviews
Donald Knox wrote an excellent oral history of the experiences of the survivors of the surrender of Bataan and Corregidor. He did this while many of these men (now in the 70s and 80s) were still able to remember vividly their experiences. They detail in their own moving words the starvation, ill-treatment, executions and torture suffered in 3-1/2 years of imprisonment (Indeed, the famous beach scene from "Saving Private Ryan" could have been replicated on the Bataan Death March, only it was Japanese soldiers doing the dirty work to helpless prisoners). One statistic is telling: less than 2% of Americans captured by the Germans perished in captivity. Over HALF of Americans captured by the Japanese failed to return. Knox details how normal American soldiers sometime descended into almost-animal behavior in order to survive. It has been my great privilege to meet and write with many of these quiet, grandfatherly heroes. Their only wish is to have their sacrifices remembered. Knox did an outstanding job of accomplishing this. How about a "younger" version for students? This is history that needs to be remembered, just like Hiroshima.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A connection with a past the world has chosen to forget, November 19, 1996
By A Customer
My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese when Corregidor fell in the spring of 1942. He spent three and a half years in POW camps in the Philippines and Japan. He has rarely spoken of this time, and I have always wondered what he went through and how he survived.
Donald Knox's book reveals a story just as pitiful, just as filled with villains and heros, just as horrifying yet inspiring as "Schindler's List". It is the story of the fall of Bataan and Corregidor to the Japanese in the opening months of WWII - but more importantly,
it is the story of the survivors, the American and Philippino troops taken prisoner by the Japanese. It tells the story, largely in the words of the survivors themselves, of the living hell they survived - created by the hatred or indifference of the Japanese. It is a
story the world has known, but ignored, for 50 years. It is a story that should be told and recognized while the few remaining survivors, now in their 70's and 80's, are still alive. It is not a polemic. Not all Japanese are villains, not all Americans are heros. It is
an indescribable experience that has shown me why my father is the man he is - why neither success nor failure, happyness or sadness has been able to destroy him. He is a survivor. He has lived through a hell that could of destroyed his life, but has managed to turn his
back to it and go on with his life. I understand, at least a bit more, why he has no need to walk in veterens parades or wear his medals - even why he has no particular animosity towards the Japanese. Few things can scare or bother you in this life when you have already
lived in hell.

I wish Spielberg could read this book - it is a story that cries out to be retold to the world, not in vengence against the Japanese, but in vengence against war and stupidity themselves.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A First-Hand Account of the Atrocities of War, June 5, 2003
This review is from: Death March: The Survivors of Bataan (Paperback)
Author Donald Knox has taken personal narratives from over sixty survivors of the Bataan death march and combined them into this gripping story of the struggle to survive. On April 9, 1942, the penninsula of Bataan fell into Japanese hands. The surrendering Americans were then subjected to a ninety mile march without adequate food or water. Men were shot and bayonetted for sport by the Japanese. Once the Americans reached their prison camp, they were herded into a tiny area with only two water spigots. Hundreds of men died each day from dysentery, malaria, and starvation. Many healthy men were soon reduced to skeletons. Others simply refused to go on any further. Still others found that the only way they could survive was to find a friend to help them get through.
After two to three years of living in this nightmare, the American forces returned to liberate the Philippines. Fearing that the prisoners would be liberated by the returning Americans, the Japanese loaded the surviving POWs into "Hell Ships"; massively overcrowded freighters to be transferred to the Japanese home islands. Some of the men went mad, while others drowned when their ships were sunk by American submarines. Once in Japan, the men were forced to work long hours in Japanese factories and mines while still receiving little in the way of food or medical care. The conditions in the Japanese labor camps were as unimaginable as they were in the Philippines; little food and water and constant beatings by the Japanese guards.
I've read several oral history books about World War II, and this book is one of the best. Knox lets the survivors' stories create this book. I was in awe of the horrible conditions that these men were forced to survive under. It is a true testament to the human spirit that these men were able to overcome the merciless beatings and the extermely meager food and water rations they received to survive and return home. Anyone who questions why the Americans used the atomic bomb should read about the Bataan prisoners and what they were forced to endure. I highly recommend this fine piece of oral history. Read it and understand what some of the true heroes of World War II did for their country.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reflections, July 3, 2000
This is a most remarkable narrative. The stories that Mr. Knox was able to record and then write is a most incredible journey. The reflections of the POW's and their sincerity, their ability to retell heart throbbing history. It is a truly incredible walk through history. The fact that there is almost zero public knowledge about this vital historical era is incredulous. As a member of a family that has been part of this significant section of history it has opened my eyes to what transpired. The book is filled with names of men who survived as well as those who perished at the hands of the Japanese cruelty. Through this book I have found information about a family member,and have been able to contact members of this group of American heroes. They may be fogotten by the American Public due to the economic policies of our own government, but will never be forgotten by the families of the survivors. Mr. Knox has perfromed a great deed for our society. His book should be on the shelves of all historians. Hopefully a second narrative will be done in the future with the notes that he received from these great Americans. On this eve of the fourth of July 2000, our prayers for the future, and to the health and safety of the survivors and their families.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource of first hand acccounts., July 14, 2001
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This amazing collection of first-hand accounts of the survivors of the Bataan Death March is brutal but compelling reading. Donald Knox has interviewed an extensive collection of survivors and persuaded them to tell the excruciating details of their capture, their time in the camps and on work details and their release. Their stories are alternately shocking and inspiring. The book is an invaluable historical resource, and any student of the war in the Pacific will find it fascinating reading. Since it is presented as a collection of interviews from different sources, some familiarity with the story of Bataan and American POWs in Japan will help the reader place each story in the right context. These testimonials can be gruesome, but it's important that the POWs' stories be told.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Definite Must Read, August 7, 1998
I wanted to learn more about the Death March and I found this book among my husbands books. I started reading and I couldn't put it down. From the very start of the events on the Bataan Peninsula to the liberation of the POW's...everything is described in this book.... how the POW's were treated, everything they had to endure. These first hand accounts from those who were there tell the real story of the Death March. It's a definite must read for anyone..and a necessary addition to your library.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING ... COULDN'T PUT THE BOOK DOWN!!!!, March 15, 2003
By 
Brad B. Morales (Chicago, Illinois, USA) - See all my reviews
As a descendant of soldiers who were in the Philippine Scouts (they survived the March by escaping into the jungle), I found the first hand accounts of Americans who were there fascinating. It gave me a feeling of being there. It's a story about survival and the indomitable spirit of man.It's amazing what men will do to survive in stressful conditions and adversity. It separates the men from the boys, the strong from the weak.
I'm not accustomed to reading books in the first hand account style, but I found it more interesting to read the text as opposed to the typical factual style that a history book would have.
This a great read for you military history buffs out there! It's almost as good as sitting down with the vets and hearing them telling you their experiences.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A passport to a world so terrible that none but a few could imagine it...", April 19, 2010
By 
RNS (Murfreesboro, TN USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Death March: The Survivors of Bataan (Paperback)
On April 9, 1942, Maj. Gen. Edward P. King, Jr. surrendered his Luzon Force in the Philippines to the invading Japanese forces. In doing so, he placed the fate of his nearly 10,000 American soldiers into the hands of a ruthless enemy. By war's end, three and a half years later in 1945, nearly 6,000 to 7,000 of this group had died in captivity.

Pvt. Roy Diaz, Capt. Theodore Bigger, Lt. Mark Herbst, M.D., Lt. John Posten, Lt. Eunice Young, and 55-65 others, tell their stories of what they saw, and how they survived the Bataan Death March of April, 1942. Their stories are voices speaking for the dead. Stories of how beatings, torture and death were commonplace and "the horror of what it took to survive." The men, most merely boys in the late teens or early twenties, found themselves living "in a wilderness that had no rules." Daily survival was hit-or-miss, being in the right place (or wrong place) at the right (or wrong) time.

The stories are shadows of nightmares, many of which tell of unbelievable cruelties. Of men left with physical and emotional scars from the abuse and hard labor they endured as slaves. Yet, they do not see themselves as heroes. They were simply men who endured "for one moment more," than their fellow soldiers, who could not.

This is a first-hand, on the battlelines and in the camps account. Their stories are pieced together to provide readers with a chronological story to provide a continuous narrative. Of men aboard ships bombed by American fliers; of a captive thrown before a tank and crushed; starving solders beaten to death; malaria, dysentery, jungle rot and insects making every moment one of misery; of men coming home to wives that had remarried; verbatim acounts of savagery, friendship, hatred and love that serves as a patchwork social history of their experience.

For broader views, readers may want to read Hero of Bataan: The Story of General Jonathan M. Wainright by Duane Schultz; or, Some Survived: An Eyewittness Account of the Bataan Death march by Manny Lawton. For other good books with different perspectives of being a prisoner during World War II, try: Lost Childhood: My Life in a Japanese Prison camp during World War II by Annalex Layson (a Dutch civilian); Taken Captive: A Japanese POWs Story by Shoka Ooka (a Japanese soldier in an American camp); and, Captives of Empire by Greg Leck (about civilians in Japanese camps in China).

These accounts that Donald Knox, a documentary film maker, has compiled for this book make this oral history an essential purchase for college and public libraries supporting students and scholars writing about the Bataan Death March.

R. Neil Scott
Middle Tennessee State University

Note: This review is written in memory of my old friend, Sgt. Pasquale S. DiGiacomo, of Brooklyn, New York. Captured as a Japanese prisoner of war at age 29 on Bataan on April 9, 1942, "Pat" participated in the "Death March," was imprisoned at Camp O'Donnell and then shipped to Japan where he was a slave-laborer in the Osaka Camp steel mill. Beaten almost daily, starved, and suffering from malaria and broken bones, by war's end he had worked 3-1/2 years of his life as a slave for the Japanese. Now deceased, Sgt. DiGiacomo never understood why he never received a penny of reparation or an apology of any kind from the Japanese government.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping AND Complete!, August 24, 2007
By 
Gail Raye (Norwich, CT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death March: The Survivors of Bataan (Paperback)
This book is both Gripping AND Complete. It may not be conventional in the way it is written, but it certainly carries you every step of the way. It will grip your soul and force you to see the depths of humanity. Both the good and bad. This is a must read for anyone who is even slightly contemplating reading it. My heart goes out to all servicemen and servicewomen past, present, and future. As well as thier families. Thank you for your sacrifices!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a great book., December 13, 2004
This review is from: Death March: The Survivors of Bataan (Paperback)
I am a college student and I originally picked this book up to due research for a project of the Japanese atrocities of WWII. While I specifically picked up for the accounts on the Death March, I ended up reading it cover to cover. The more I read more it became useful for information on the Hell Ships and the conditions of the labor camps. It's a shame that while the stories of the concentration camps of Nazi Germany are told and retold the horrors in the Pacific Theater are barely talked about. The stories that the soldiers tell of struggle and hardship show the true heroism. I often find myself with them hoping them on. I completely recommend this book for anyway with any interest.
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Death March: The Survivors of Bataan
Death March: The Survivors of Bataan by Donald Knox (Paperback - December 16, 2002)
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