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 suicidal bravado 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.
Challenging previous accounts, Geoffrey Megargee shatters the myth that German generals would have prevailed in World War II if only Hitler had not meddled in their affairs. Indeed, Megargee argues, the German high command was much more flawed than many have suspected or acknowledged. Inside Hitler's High Command reveals that while Hitler was the central figure in many military decisions, his generals were equal partners in Germany's catastrophic defeat.Megargee exposes the structure, processes, and personalities that governed the Third Reich's military decision making and shows how Germany's presumed battlefield superiority was undermined by poor strategic and operational planning at the highest levels. His study tracks the evolution of German military leadership under the Nazis from 1933 to 1945 and expands our understanding of the balance of power within the high command, the role of personalities in its organizational development, and the influence of German military intellectuals on its structure and function. He also shows how the organization of the high command was plagued by ambition, stubbornness, political intrigue, and overworked staff officers. And his a week in the life chapter puts the high command under a magnifying glass to reveal its inner workings during the fierce fighting on the Russian Front in December 1941. Megargee also offers new insights into the high command crises of 1938 and shows how German general staff made fatal mistakes in their planning for Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Their arrogant dismissal of the Soviet military's ability to defend its homeland and virtual disregard for the extensive intelligence and sound logistics that undergird successful large-scale military campaigns ultimately came back to haunt them. In the final assessment, observes Megargee, the generals' strategic ideas were no better than Hitler's and often worse. Heinz Guderian, Franz Halder, and the rest were as guilty of self-deception as their Fuhrer, believing that innate German superiority and strength of will were enough to overcome nearly any obstacle. Inside Hitler's High Command exposes these surprising flaws and illuminates the process of strategy and decision making in the Third Reich.
This landmark study was first published in English by the Naval Institute in 1955 and was added to the Classics of Naval Literature series in 1992. Widely acknowledged for its valuable Japanese insights into the battle that turned that tide of war in the Pacific, the book has made a great impact on American readers over the years. Two Japanese naval aviators who participated in the operation provide an unsparing analysis of what caused Japan's staggering defeat.
Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the first air strike on Pearl Harbor, commanded the Akagi carrier air group and later made a study of the battle at the Japanese Naval War College. Masatake Okumiya, one of Japan's first dive-bomber pilots, was aboard the light carrier Ryujo and later served as a staff officer in a carrier division. Armed with knowledge of top-secret documents destroyed by the Japanese and access to private papers, they show the operation to be ill-conceived and poorly planned and executed, and fault their flag officers for lacking initiative, leadership, and clear thinking. With an introduction by an author known for his study of the battle from the American perspective, the work continues to make a significant contribution to World War II literature.
They are the men of C-for-Charlie company--"Mad" 1st Sgt. Eddie Welsh, Pvt. 1st Class Don Doll, Pvt. John Bell, Capt. James Stein, Cpl. Fife, and dozens more just like them--infantrymen who are about to land, grim and white-faced, on an atoll in the Pacific called Guadalcanal. This is their story, a shatteringly realistic walk into hell and back.In the days ahead, some will earn medals, others will do anything they can dream up to get evacuated before they land in a muddy grave. But they will all discover the thin red line that divides the sane from the mad--and the living from the dead--in this unforgettable portrait that captures for all time the total experience of men at war. Foreword by Francine Prose
"Brutal, direct, and powerful . . . The men are real, the words are real, death is real, imminent and immediate."--Los Angeles Times "A rare and splendid accomplishment . . . strong and ambitious, spacious, and as honest as any novel ever written."-- Newsweek
" A] major novel of combat in World War II . . . reminiscent of Stephen Crane in The Red Badge of Courage."--The Christian Science Monitor
"The Thin Red Line moves so intensely and inexorably that it almost seems like the war it is describing."--The New York Times Book Review
OVER THEREWhen Raymond Gantter arrived in Normandy in the fall of 1944, bodies were still washing up from the invasion. Sobered by that sight, Gantter and his fellow infantrymen moved across northern France and Belgium, taking part in the historic and bloody Battle of the Bulge, before slowly penetrating into and across Germany, fighting all the way to the Czechoslovakian border. With depth, clarity, and remarkable compassion, Gantter--an enlisted man and college graduate who spoke German--portrays the extraordinary life of the American soldier as he and his comrades lived it while helping to destroy Hitler's Third Reich. From dueling with unseen snipers in ruined villages to fierce battles in which the lightly armed American infantry skirmished against Hitler's panzers, Gantter skillfully captures one infantryman's progress across a continent where guns, fear, and death lay in wait around every bend in the road.
Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company's boxing team, he gets "the treatment" that may break him or kill him. First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he's risking his career to have an affair with the commanding officer's wife. Both Warden and Prewitt are bound by a common bond: the Army is their heart and blood . . .and, possibly, their death.In this magnificent but brutal classic of a soldier's life, James Jones portrays the courage, violence and passions of men and women who live by unspoken codes and with unutterable despair. . .in the most important American novel to come out of World War II, a masterpiece that captures as no ther the honor and savagery of men.