Home > Book Review, History > Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death march and Its Aftermath by Michael and Elizabeth Norman

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death march and Its Aftermath by Michael and Elizabeth Norman

Book: Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death march and Its Aftermath by Michael and Elizabeth Norman

Rating: Great

Lesson Learned: War Is Hell; Survival has more to do with state of mind and the internal than the external

My Great Uncle, William Sharp, was on the Bataan Death March. One night along the trail he fell asleep with the other troops. He slept late and the march went on without him the next morning. Taking advantage of this blessing he went to hide with local families who hid him in their rice patties until he was able to make his way to Australia. I have always wanted to know about this part of World War II history and after hearing about this book I was eager to learn.

The book follows a central captive named Ben Steele and his struggle to survive harsh conditions. (The march occurred after Americans surrendered the Philippines to the invading Japanese). The Japanese were so inundated that a good soldier fights until death, they thought of their captors as chattel and treated them as such. It was bad. The march began in the peninsula of Bataan to the prison camps 60 miles away. The Japanese soldiers were brutal and the men were starved and beaten. It was horrific.

There is no denying War is Hell but you have to ask how normal people are pushed to either be heroes or villains. Are people made brutal by their situation or is this brutality a part of human nature we cannot escape and is let loosed when boundaries are broken?

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Categories: Book Review, History
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