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Escape From Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War Paperback – May 3, 2011
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-James Bradley, author of "Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys," and "The Imperial Cruise"
""Escape From Davao" is a remarkable story that explores the heights of human courage and compassion even as it reveals the depths of brutality that one set of human beings is capable of inflicting on another. Exhaustively researched and superbly written, the book incorporates many elements of a well-crafted suspense novel. Indeed, readers may wish at times that it were fiction, rather than cruel, distressing fact."
-Bill Sloan, author of "Brotherhood of Heroes, The Ultimate Battle" and "The Darkest Summer"
"John Lukacs has justifiably brought attention to one of the Pacific War's most overlooked stories in his riveting book about the escape from Davao. Lukacs so breathes life into the tale that readers feel the d
Top Customer Reviews
I heard about this book only about a week or 10 days ago. Although I meant to wait a bit, I just couldn't (My mother always said I lacked patience!) and an order through Amazon followed. I received the book late last week.
I had read William Dyess' book [i]The Dyess Story[/i] in junior high. Then, my occasional meeting with Sam Gashio, increased my interest. I was a bit suspicious of Lukacs' credentials, since this was his first book and he is a sportswriter by trade.
Lukacs did an excellent job on the book and it sort of capped all the other stories of the escape from Davao Penal Colony in early 1943 by 10 Americans and two Filipinos. Althought the story has been told by several of the escapees, this is the first recent history. ("10 Escape From Tojo" was a gathering of the "Life" Magazine articles of 1944).
The book was divided roughly into four parts: 1) biographies of all twelve and what they did prior to the surrender. 2) The Bataan Death March and capture (a few were captured on Corregidor or on other places; 3) Life in prison camp and the escape; 4) Arriving home and the attempts to get the story of the POW camps published (one escapee was recaptured several months later and executed).
Many of the wartime accounts had to skim over what happened during the actual escape attempts until arrival in Australia. Lukacs did a good job of showing the troubles and difficulties in reaching the guerrillas and proving they were legitimate escapees. He also describes the rivalry between Wendall Fertig and other guerrilla leaders. I had always thought the escapees left together, but they were evacuated in three groups over several months.Read more ›
Lukacs elaborately documents the circumstances surrounding the Bataan Death March and the American and Filipino forces that were taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army and sent to Davao Penal Colony awaiting the imminent. However, this would be one of the successful prison breaks to occur during the war, and Major William E. Dyess would be responsible for leading the men to freedom earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and later recommended to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor but also pursuing another war, exposing the horrid conditions that thousands of individuals had to experience during the torrential ordeal that would eventually be posthumously shown in his own account Bataan Death March: A Survivor's Account.Read more ›
Lukacs brings every scene to life with recreated reality: "Leaning his angular frame against a post, Dyess struck a match to light a cigarette; the flame illuminated his hunger-chiseled features and serious demeanor. After a whispering sizzle of glowing red tobacco and burning paper, he exhaled his thoughts in hushed tones." And as the escapees listened to jungle drums in the night, "It must have seemed as though they were traveling not just through a wild jungle, but through time itself."
Lukacs puts the Japanese atrocities in stark perspective: While only one percent of Allied prisoners died in captivity, thirty-seven percent would perish at the hands of the Japanese. Lukacs also concludes that this incident would forever shape the way Americans got war news; even the most shocking news would never again be suppressed.
Here are a couple of errata for a subsequent printing: p. 77: "pastry" should be "pasty." P. 144, in two places, "Abes-san" should be "Abe-san."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Real tragedy, real men and real guts. My father was a WWII vet from the Pacific, and this is a well told account of the horrors at the hands of the Japanese and the unbelievable... Read morePublished 1 month ago by WorkerBee
I met one of the main characters in this book. He was my best friends' father-in-law. The book is awe inspiring. I won't give away the story, but WOW!!! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cindy H
Very realistic description of the treatment of POWs who were held captive by the Japanese during WWll.Published 1 month ago by Alfred J. Marcello
That was a very good and exciting story about an escape from a Japanese prison camp. One of those books you just can't put down. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alan R. Bauroth
Great historical novel that that brought back to life an important time in warfare. Made me appreciate the sacrifices made by our military.Published 2 months ago by Robert A. Cushman