Ghost Soldiers

Version: Abridged
Author: Hampton Sides
Narrator: James Naughton
Genres: History
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Published In: May 2001
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

A tense, powerful, grand account of one of the most daring exploits of World War II.
On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected troops from the elite U.S. Army 6th Ranger Battalion slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty miles in an attempt to rescue 513 American and British POWs who had spent three years in a surreally hellish camp near the city of Cabanatuan. The prisoners included the last survivors of the Bataan Death March left in the camp, and their extraordinary will to live might soon count for nothing--elsewhere in the Philippines, the Japanese Army had already executed American prisoners as it retreated from the advancing U.S. Army. As the Rangers stealthily moved through enemy-occupied territory, they learned that Cabanatuan had become a major transshipment point for the Japanese retreat, and instead of facing the few dozen prison guards, they could possibly confront as many as 8,000 battle-hardened enemy troops.
Hampton Sides's 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 battle 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 starvation, tropical diseases, and unspeakable tortures; the violent cultural clashes with Japanese guards and soldiers steeped in the warrior ethic of Bushido; the remarkable heroism of the Rangers and Filipino guerrillas; the complex motivations of the U.S. high command, some of whom could justly be charged with abandoning the men of Bataan in 1942; and the nearly suicidalbravado of several spies, including priests and a cabaret owner, who risked their lives to help the prisoners during their long ordeal.
At once a gripping depiction of men at war and a compelling story of redemption, Ghost Soldiers joins such landmark books as Flags of Our Fathers," The Greatest Generation," The Rape of Nanking," and D-Day in preserving the legacy of World War II for future generations.

"From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews (13)

Outstanding

Written by Anonymous on September 9th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I did not want to stop listening. I knew very little about the death march and had never heard of this rescue. This book was very detailed on the horrors of war but realistic. I ready a lot of great reviews on this book but still wasn't sure what to think. It's excellent and a must read. You will not regret listening to this book especially if you like war stories and history.

Great story

Written by APDS4 from Stockton, CA on October 19th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This is a five star story that deserved to be told in the unabridged form. I read the book first, before I listed to it and this abridged version does a terrible dis-service to the story. This is a true story that needs to be told and this version was missing huge chunks of what happened. Just the same, it is a fantastic story that anyone interested in military history should read.

Ghost Soldiers

Written by Anonymous from Battle Ground, WA on October 13th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Very good, tells the story of the soldiers that were captured fighting the Japanese during WWII in the Philippines and the heroic fight to get them back.

Amazing

Written by Matthew Wood on December 9th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Better than the movie, what a great and heroic story. You can't help to swell up and be proud.

Ghost Soldiers

Written by Thom Ramsdell on October 24th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

What a fantastic listen. I cannot help but shake my head when America is vilified around the word for slapping or embarrassing a prisoner. You will hear the unspeakable horrors of the Bataan death march and captivity by the Japanese. You will hear the amazing details of a rescue of the survivors. This book had me sitting in the car in the driveway, not going inside because I had to hear the end. Parts of it literally brought tears. The descriptions are very real. Not for the faint of heart. Highly recommended.

Ghost Soldiers

Written by Barbara on December 15th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Amazing, horrifying, at times hard to listen to. It is difficult to hear the horrible things that people do to other people. Important to know but hard to hear.

Ghost Soldiers

Written by Gary Kuhlken from Stockton, CA on November 27th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 5/5

If there were more than 5 stars to rate this book, I'd have rated higher! I have always been in absolute awe of the "Greatest Generation", and this account reinforces my admiration. Ordinary Americans performed extraordinary acts of courage when confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Resiliency, inovation, and tenacity were the common denominators of prisoners as well as their rescuers. If you're not already proud to be an American, you will be after you "read" this book. The horrors and bravery of the Bataan death march are unimaginable. A movie of this story would be rivoting.

Ghost Soldiers

Written by Daparoye from Orange, CA on September 15th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This book was very difficult to listen to. The horrors these people went through. I could not finish this audiobook. I gave it three stars because the stories were riviting but too disturbing to take in and drive at the same time. I have since read this book. I found that reading it to myself was much easier and thought provoking than the audio version.

ghost soldiers

Written by Anonymous on July 20th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I hated it but I'm not much into true life history.

Absolutely Incredible

Written by Daniel Wainwright from Fresno, CA on May 5th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A very well written and rivoting story. It really brings tears to your eyes to think that this is a true story. A great book about strength, determination and survival. It would be a great movie. I truly enjoyed every part of this book and could not wait to see how it turned out.

Author Details

Author Details

Sides, Hampton

Hampton Sides, contributing editor of Outside and editor of "The Wild File," is also the author of Ghost Soldiers. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.