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Customer Review

20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Very Gripping Account, May 15, 2011
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This review is from: Escape From Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War (Hardcover)
I'm coming from the perspective of a reader who loves good "survivor" and war stories. I've read lots of true accounts of prison breaks--with World War II being one of my favorite genres.

And while I have to say that the author deserves kudos for doing such exhaustive research and for telling this important story--as a just wasn't a very gripping story. The subtitle is definitely misleading. This book should have been called: Escape From Davao: The Exhaustive Account of the Group of Men Who Escaped from an Inescapable POW Camp and Brought the World the Truth about Japanese Atrocities.

To those who have relatives or friends who were part of this story, I believe this history is extremely important and I want to be clear that I'm not minimizing that. However, the way that the author finally put pen to paper to write the story could have been done in a much better way. This book comes across more like a detailed history rather than a carefully crafted (true) story. Quite dry, quite long, and it seems to dwell on certain (uninteresting?) portions of the story while skipping other details that may have been quite interesting.

Other true accounts in this genre that I really enjoyed were:

Assault in Norway
Band of Brothers
Flags of Our Fathers
Ghost Soldiers
The Sledge Patrol
We Die Alone
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Initial post: Jun 15, 2011 12:51:39 AM PDT
I heard about the book from a DJ on a Manila talk show, a few weeks ago and finally remembered about it while in our local SM Mall outside of the old Clark Air Base. I picked it up and couldn't lay it down for the most part of 3 days I spent reading it. As an U.S. Army retiree and the reader of numerous books of military history I was not aware of the escape even after living in the Philippines for 19 years. The detail of the terrain, personalitys involved in the story, of American, Filipino, and Japanese were an added strenght to the authors ability to paint the picture of the struggle and challenges endured to make the successful escape. The 12 were able to escape the confines of the Davao Penal Colony to only find out their stories and free travel were to remain imprisoned for most of the next year when they (the Americans) returned to America and were restrained from telling their story to assist in the treatment of their still imprisoned brothers in arms.
My compliments to the author for his attention to detail, time spent talking to survivors and their relatives to unearth the buried details that had been restricted for so long during the war and then forgotten over the following decades. Its one of those books that makes you proud of our countries heritage, ethics and struggle in helping an oppressed people during a time of war so long ago.

Posted on Mar 11, 2012 3:40:25 PM PDT
I just couldn't agree with your assessment of ESCAPE FROM DAVAO. I thought it was compelling, extremely well-researched and written in a manner that humanizes the entire story. What's more interesting is your list of books that you enjoyed. I haven't read all of them but to include James Bradley's FLYBOYS is really puzzling. FLYBOYS is a fair account, at best, of the fate of airmen on Ie Shima but Bradley's attempt to use a frame of reference of early Japanese history really brings down the book's effectiveness. I think Lukac's strength in his writing was in avoiding falling into the trap of trying to discuss something in which he lacked familiarity and sticking to what he did best--and he did it very well in the Davao book.
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