We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, May 1, 2000 - History - 352 pages
288 Reviews
Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as a "grippingly told" story of "power and relevance," here is the true, untold account of the first American women to prove their mettle under combat conditions. Later, during three years of brutal captivity at the hands of the Japanese, they also demonstrated their ability to survive. Filled with the thoughts and impressions of the women who lived it, "every page of this history is fascinating" (The Washington Post).

We Band of Angels

In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and evenings of dinner and dancing under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs rained on American bases in Luzon, and the women's paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, the nurses set up field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan and the tunnels of Corregidor, where they saw the most devastating injuries of war, and suffered the terrors of shells and shrapnel.

But the worst was yet to come. As Bataan and Corregidor fell, a few nurses escaped, but most were herded into internment camps enduring three years of fear and starvation. Once liberated, they returned to an America that at first celebrated them, but later refused to honor their leaders with the medals they clearly deserved. Here, in letters, diaries, and firsthand accounts, is the story of what really happened during those dark days, woven together in a compelling saga of women in war.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

A gem: well researched and good writing. - Goodreads
Interesting facts, boring writer. - Goodreads
I found the story telling device a bit of a slog. - Goodreads
This book hooked me from the introduction. - Goodreads

Review: We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan

User Review  - Amy - Goodreads

A valuable piece of American History that is little known. The basic story is this: Approximately 100 Army and Navy nurses, looking for adventure, transferred from hospitals in the US to work in ... Read full review

Review: We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese

User Review  - Hahncris - Goodreads

I am glad that I read this book. It was well written. The subject matter was at times very painful to read. I am in awl of the nurses, doctors and soldiers who fought, died and survived on Bataan and ... Read full review

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2000)

Dr. Elizabeth M. Norman is an associate professor of nursing and the director of the doctoral program at New York University's Division of Nursing in the School of Education. Her specialty is nursing history. The recipient of many honors and awards, she has written Women at War: The Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam and numerous articles. She lives with her husband, Michael, and their two sons, Joshua and Benjamin, in New Jersey.

Bibliographic information