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The "Greatest Generation"-Again
on September 25, 2002
"Ghost Soldiers" is the tale of the American POWs from the Bataan Death March in WW2, their ordeal, and the eleventh hour commando rescue of SOME of them. GS is well written and well researched. Author Sides strikes a solid balance between the suffering of the POWs and the dangers facing the rescuing US Army Rangers. As of the writing of this review, GS is one of the New York Times paperback bestsellers. It is quick and interesting reading. The problem is that there is nothing new here! Author Sides takes us over previously well trod ground-to little historical end. I dislike using the review of one book to promote another but I would recommend Donald Knox's "Death March" for an earthier approach to this unpleasant but vital piece of American military history. I recognize that WW2 vets are currently in vogue and that hundreds are dying daily. There is an urgency to recognize them "while we still can". This promotes sales and perhaps this is as it should be-as long as GS is not listed with true epic WW2 efforts. This is no "Naked and the Dead", "Battle Cry" or "Cruel Sea"! I have to close with a query: Where were these Rangers in Vietnam where POWs lingered longer than on Bataan with only ONE rescue attempt in eleven years? Where was the steadfast resolve to rescue those POWs? Therein lies the difference between the "good war" versus Korea and Vietnam.