“Bataan Death March: A Survivor’s Account” is the true story of William E. Dyess’ survival of the Japanese POW camps. It covers action Dyess sees right before capture by the Japanese, the march to the first POW camp and subsequent marches to various other camps and his eventual escape. If the reader excludes the introduction (and I would not recommend it), it runs approximately 159 pages.
This is taken straight from Dyess’ account after he escaped and was originally published in The Chicago Tribune in 1944. Unfortunately, Dyess passed away shortly before his story was published so he was never able to see his story make headlines after several attempts to get his account heard by the American public. He wanted people to know exactly what was happening to Japanese prisoners of war.
Dyess was right to insist on having this story told. When it was released, the American people were horrified and outraged. This book was published in 2002 as a compilation of the original articles published by The Chicago Tribune.
It ‘s very detailed and graphic so if the reader has a light stomach, prepare yourself. That being said, I would highly recommend it. I think it’s important for people to know exactly what history teaches us about how we treat each other and how human nature responds and overcomes adversity.
The book is not politically correct (I don’t think that was something they did in the 1940s but it didn’t bother me) and spends the majority of the pages focusing on Dyess’ time in Manila from just before falling to the Japanese, the march to and from multiple camps and a whopping nine pages on the escape. The escape couldn’t go into a great deal of detail due to the fact there were still prisoners in the camps.
Most of what Dyess describes is in agreement with other POW accounts and what they went through is not only horrifying, it’s emotional wrenching. I gave the book 4 stars and I would highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already.
Have you read it? What did you think?