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Bataan Death March is one of the many blood-curdling events of WWII which caused untimely demise of hundreds of American prisoners at hands of the Japanese army. This was a Japanese war crime in response to which a team of 121 American troops were sent to Cabanatuan City in the Philippines to rescue the surviving prisoners of war (POWs) from a Japanese prison camp.
In his non-fiction account of this historical raid at Cabanatuan prison camp attempted by the US troops, Hampton Sides stands distinguished among a plethora of other writers as he makes a painstaking effort to disclose the entire course of this mission bit by bit to his readers as realistically as possible. The book skillfully rec-creates a somewhat forgotten story leaving readers obsessed about the heroic soldiers and depressed over shocking details of the mission. For example, it is told how the Japanese reduced the POWs at Cabanatuan to such a sick and weak state that they began to call themselves “the ghosts of Bataan” (Sides, 2002). Many prisoners had already been brutally murdered and those who remained at the camp were “the sickest and the weakest” (Sides, 2002). Prisoners pleaded both to their captors and to God for mercy. It is told how one prisoner from Pennsylvania, Carl Mango, got gunned down while he begged with his arms outstretched, “Show some reason, please God show reason” (Sides, 2002). Many such men were killed on their way to the camp in the Philippines. At the prison camp, prisoners were made to suffer and many were buried while still groaning with pain (Nielsen, cited in Sides, 2002). Sides’ beauty of his WWII account is that he neither depends on tiresome clichés by exaggerating things with the sole intention to glorify American troops, nor does he leave any actual detail improperly dissected.
Sides takes an objective approach to things as they really happened during the mission which started on 28 January, 1945. His account is objective because
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