Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

I think that as a generation entertained by movies and flashy things, it is becoming exceedingly difficult for us to grasp the concepts of sacrifice and valor….I will be the first to admit that growing up in the 80’s was not a bad time….There were tube socks with colored stripes on them, there were tight-rolled jeans, there was Back To The Future, and Ronald Reagan…..The 80’s was the time that I was growing up, completely ignorant of the fact that four decades previous, there was a certain group of people who had been faced with one adversity after another…..The Great Depression and then World War II…..

If you haven’t read my previous Book Reviews, then you probably don’t know that my reading has taken a turn towards the Pacific battlefront in World War II….I’m sorry but the brutatlity and barbarics of the Japanese just astounds and amazes me…..I have read each book ( Flags of Our Fathers, and In Harms Way) with a certain fascination and morbid curiousity as to how the Japanese could be so hateful yet so proud of killing either themselves or our American soldiers so heinously….It just baffles the mind…..

Anyway, “Ghost Soldiers” is the story of an absolutely insane rescue mission to save 500+ POW’s, some of whom were the survivors of the Bataan Death March (several click-worthy links included here, here, and also here )….The mission was headed up by Henry Mucci and Robert Prince and involved over 100 Army Rangers along with several dozen Filipino guerillas raiding the POW camp at Cabanatuan to free several hundred fellow soldiers who had surrendered to the Japanese and were being treated horrendously….

The author, Hampton Sides, writes the story with a “novel” feel to it….I had an impossible time putting it down and what made it even more poignant is the fact that it is a true story of these men (prisoners AND the liberators) who were made of something special, some kind of moral fiber that is absent in alot of people these days….We have become spoiled and have absolutely no idea how good we truly have it….The generation that grew up 50 years ago are the people that we should be listening to, the people who have the best advice because so many things we find of great importance are trivialities to them….They’ve seen worse, they’ve experienced worse….

So now that my self-loathing rant is complete what are you waiting for? Go out and get this book and read it…..As a sidenote it appears that there is a movie being made about this whole story…

Thanks to Jennifer and Jim for letting me borrow this book!

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