Not a Real Essay

Submitted By Idislikepaying
Words: 671
Pages: 3

This book is an emotional roller coaster ride with three different stories more or less meshed into one. Emotionally this book delves into graphic detail of the truly disgusting atrocities committed over and over again by many Japanese soldiers and Japanese police against both prisoners of war and civilians of all nationalities and races that came under their control. The book also discusses the fundamental differences in culture and errors in judgment (not the least of which was the assumption that there were only 25,000 American and Filipino troops to be captured and provided for on Bataan when the actual number was closer to 100,000) that set the stage for the atrocities. Once the Death March has been completed, the book explores the diseases, starvation and neglect suffered by the prisoners in even more disgusting detail once they arrived at the prisoner of war camps. And to finally cap the horror, there is a discussion of various tortures and murders (frequently unprovoked), inflicted by the guards upon the prisoners. At the same time, the story is interspersed with all of the heroic efforts of native Filipinos and of captured doctors and clergy to save fellow prisoners.

In almost a separate parallel story we hear of “High Pockets”, one Claire Phillips, a GI’s wife who poses as a girl of Italian descent and starts the Tsubaki night club to earn money, spy on the Japanese and report to local guerrillas. Soon she is using the proceeds of the night club to buy medicine and concentrated orange juice to smuggle into the prison camps. Eventually High Pockets is caught by the Japanese secret police, tortured, and condemned to death. But for some inexplicable reason, she is placed in solitary confinement where she is found by American troops after the fall of Manila.

Sprinkled in between these two stories is the third story of the Rangers that have been given the mission of rescuing the prisoners before the Japanese decide to kill them. This is a very suspenseful story as when the 121 rangers arrive at the prison camp with about three hundred Japanese soldiers in it, they also find tens of thousands of retreating Japanese soldiers, tanks and trucks rumbling down the road next to the prison camp. The rescue is delayed for 24 hours and is then executed after a very delicate approach to the camp. Finally, after the prisoners are rescued and sent home to San Francisco, the city turns out en masse to provide a welcome that will bring tears to your eyes.

`The book as a whole is riveting. Nevertheless, the constant…