Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jun 9, 2009 - History - 480 pages
11 Reviews

Tears in the Darkness is an altogether new look at World War II that exposes the myths of war and shows the extent of suffering and loss on both sides.

For the first four months of 1942, U.S., Filipino, and Japanese soldiers fought what was America's first major land battle of World War II, the battle for the tiny Philippine peninsula of Bataan. It ended with the surrender of 76,000 Filipinos and Americans, the single largest defeat in American military history.

The defeat, though, was only the beginning, as Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman make dramatically clear in this powerfully original book. From then until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the prisoners of war suffered an ordeal of unparalleled cruelty and savagery: forty-one months of captivity, starvation rations, dehydration, hard labor, deadly disease, and torture—far from the machinations of General Douglas MacArthur.

The Normans bring to the story remarkable feats of reportage and literary empathy. Their protagonist, Ben Steele, is a figure out of Hemingway: a young cowboy turned sketch artist from Montana who joined the army to see the world. Juxtaposed against Steele's story and the sobering tale of the Death March and its aftermath is the story of a number of Japanese soldiers.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - setnahkt - LibraryThing

Dad was living in Maywood, Illinois when he was drafted in 1943; Maywood was home to the 192nd General Headquarters Tank Battalion of the Illinois National Guard, which was federalized in 1940 and ... Read full review

Excellent Historical Read

User Review  - sparky23456 - Overstock.com

A very vivid depiction of an American p.o.w.s life in a Japanese concentration camp during WW II. Highly recommend. Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Michael Norman, a former reporter for The New York Times, teaches narrative journalism at New York University. His is also the author of the memoir These Good Men.

Elizabeth M. Norman, the author of We Band of Angels and Women at War. She teaches at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education.

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