Hampton Sides' vivid minute-by-minute narration of the raid and his chronicle of the prisoners' wrenching experiences are masterful. But Ghost Soldiers is far more than a thrilling saga. Hampton Sides explores the mystery of human behavior under extreme duress - the resilience of the prisoners, who defied the Japanese authorities even as they endured unspeakable tortures; the violent cultural clashes with Japanese guards and soldiers steeped in the warrior ethic of Bushido; and the complex motivations of the US high command, some of whom could justly be charged with abandoning the men of Bataan in 1942.
©2001 Hampton Sides; (P)2001 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Divison of Random House, Inc.
"[It] took me on a queasy journey deep into the realm of pure evil - then rescued me in a blaze of heroics and righteous vengeance. There's grief, despair, and terror here, but there's also adventure, courage, and joy. (Erik Larson, author Isaac's Storm)
Some books are interesting, others engrossing and other's tell stories sure to be remembered for quite some time. This book falls into all three categories. What a profoundly moving book! Excellent narration. Learned a lot about WWII at the same time!
Why hasn't Hampton Sides written more? After hearing this book I amazed by his writing talent. His talent reminds me of Barbara Tuchman (whose books should be on audible.com!) . And what an awful ordeal these heroes had to endure. In spite of the subject, this book should have much wider appeal for its brilliant description of humanity and evil in war. I look forward to more material from this author.
If you are looking for a "book" that will take you to both extremes of the human capabilities (humane v. merciless) then this book will fit the bill. The story demonstrates both human courage and evil from one chapter to the next. Further demostrates that the greatest generation is indeed great.
This is an excellent story of character, courage, and heroism. I'm not a fan of war stories, but this book isn't about war, it's about people. Hampton Sides writes from the perspective of individuals, and doesn't allow the tale to get overtaken by times, dates, or tactics. The result is an absorbing, very human account of a remarkable real-life event in history.
"Condensed Isn't the Best Option"
I would certainly recommend this audiobook but would encourage an outright purchase of the book. The audio version was condensed and missed some of the drama and suspense that the full version gives.
It truly captured the pain, anguish, drama and risk of the mission and the personalities of those that lived it. You can feel the oppressiveness of the jungle, the haunting hopelessness of the prisoners and the elation of the rescue.
Mr. Naughton gave a superb rendition of the story. His emotional inflections made the story come alive and allowed the listener to actually experience the drama.
The brutality that the prisoners endured, the mindless, senseless treatment by the capturing forces and the despair that they must have felt made the story that much more inspiring. War is hell.
This is one of the first books I listened to on Audio that wasn't a personal development book.I've read a number of other military books, wasn't sure how I'd go listening to one, but it was pretty good... brilliantly written / narrated, the author gives you every detail of what it is like to be a POW for so many years... it's sad and horrific in so many ways, but it's a part of history we all should know about.
This was an amazing true story. Great detail by the author, and I felt I was there with the Rangers. Narration was dry in the beginning, but once the story unfolded the narrator was ideal. If you like war stories this is a winner.
"One of the best"
One of the best books I've ever read. An absolute must!
This exhausting story of the Japanese army's cruelty to American prisoners of war needs telling. Not the kind of recording you will listen to over and over, but well worth an initial hearing.
"Hampton Side Does it Again"
Hampton Side has taken on the Western Expansion and the life of Kit Carson. In broad strokes and using wonderfully exciting prose, his Kit Carson and the virtual ruin of the Navajo nation come to life.
The reading of James Naughton, the writing of Sides, and the story make this a worth while listen. Some will not agree with Side's point of view, but no one can complain that he hasn't done everyone a favor by bringing this bygone era to the modern reader's attention.
"Not the full book but a great story"
I really enjoyed the original book but I was disappointed that the audio version was abridged. Obviously it includes the main action and is worth a listen but go for the book for the extra details.
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