Tears in the Darkness

Monday, July 06, 2009

Michael Norman, a former New York Times reporter, and Elizabeth Norman, author of Women at War, give a gripping account of the 1942 battle for the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines, the surrender of 76,000 Americans and Filipinos to the Japanese, and the infamous Bataan Death March. Their book Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath focuses on American POW Ben Steele, whose sketches are included in the book.


Elizabeth Norman and Michael Norman,

Comments [7]


I was very impressed with the authors. This book is next on my list, as soon as the audio book version gets to Audible.

Jul. 10 2009 04:05 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Japan never signed the Geneva Convention of 1929. They butchered soldiers and civilians alike. They beheaded 1/4 million Chinese and practiced cannibalism as ritual and to supplement food sources. Their leaders were insane and had no regard for the lives of their own people, let alone others. They did not respect or understand surrender and treated prisoners incredibly harshly. Many more Japanese field officers were executed after WWII then even Germans. They are our friends and wonderful people now, but were animals then.

Jul. 06 2009 01:58 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

FDR and Truman promised to make all Filipino soldiers who fought with us in WWII American Citizens. They never did. They were promised veteran benefits which they never received. Of course this was the same bunch of Democrats that blocked civil rights for 100 years following Reconstruction. The Democrat Party has always been the party of racism even now with its interest group politics promising the world but only handing out crumbs to minorities while handing 100s of billions of dollars to corporate America.

Jul. 06 2009 01:58 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Mac's order to hold Bataan was consistent with combat theatre needs of the day. The Brits and French held positions and fought rear-guard battles to tie up large amounts of enemy resources as the Allies reorganized. Unlike the evacuation from Dunkirk, there was no possibility to evacuate large amounts of troops from Bataan.

“On 23 December 1941, only two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, General MacArthur - then commanding American forces in the Philippines-made one of the most difficult and important decisions of his long and famous military career. Under the threat of impending disaster, he determined on that day to withdraw his forces on Luzon to the Bataan Peninsula, to declare the Philippine capital, Manila, an open city, [saving thousands of civilians] and to transfer his headquarters to the tiny island of Corregidor. The successful execution of this plan had far-reaching results: it saved the 75,000 troops on Luzon from immediate defeat, delayed the Japanese timetable for conquest by four months, and kept large Japanese combat forces tied up in the Philippines long after Malaya, Singapore, and the Indies had fallen.” This was a master stroke accomplished with skill. It was an “elaborate maneuver - a double retrograde movement.” From Louis Morton’s “The Fall of the Philippines” University Press of the Pacific (October 8, 2004)

Jul. 06 2009 01:57 PM
Ozie from NY

There was a plan to give up the top half of Australia.

Jul. 06 2009 01:27 PM
Ivey from Brooklyn

My grandfather was a prisoner there.

He is 5'7" and when he left he weighed only 90 lb, his stories are outstanding, I can't wait to read this book.

Jul. 06 2009 01:16 PM
Robert from Garden City, New York

A provision tucked inside the recent stimulus bill that President Obama signed calls for releasing $198 million that was appropriated last year for 15,000 Philippine and Philippine-American veterans that fought along side American veterans in World War II. Those who have become U.S. citizens will receive $15,000 each while non-citizens get $9,000. For decades, Filipino activists and their supporters have fought for the full benefits. They've petitioned and picketed. Is this too little, too late?

Jul. 06 2009 01:15 PM

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