Hampton Sides
Hampton Sides
Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission
ISBN: 0385495641
Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission
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.
—from the publisher

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TRANSCRIPT
Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission
Program Air Date: September 30, 2001

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Hampton Sides, author of "Ghost Soldiers," why do you think this book went right to the top of the best-seller list?
Mr. HAMPTON SIDES (Author, "Ghost Soldiers"): I think it's a story that is largely forgotten and it's a story that when--when you find out about it--this is the way I felt about it when I first learned about this--you--you can't believe that you weren't taught this in--in--in school with--with--with, you know, like, this--this rescue that took place, which was one of the largest rescues in American history. When you fir--when I first heard about it, I couldn't believe that this wasn't part of, like, the short-hand of American intrepid acts like the Rough Riders at--at San Juan or--or--or the Alamo. This is one of those stories within the larger story of the Pacific that I just felt--I just couldn't believe wasn't better known. And I think that explains part of it.

I think another part of the reason it's done so well is that this is a gigantic group of people. I mean, 20,000 Americans between Bataan and Corregidor surrendered. And every one of those men had family members. And so many of these stories were never told because they returned to America after the war, didn't want to tell these dark stories, the sort of dark chapter of an otherwise successful or a "good war." And it's only as they've come to the end of their lives have they felt increasingly comfortable about telling these stories and--and getting into it deeper.
LAMB: When did you first know you had a hit? Do you remember?
Mr. SIDES: Well, the--we were able to get an excerpt, a first serial, in Esquire magazine, and the magazine was very, very interested. And when it--when--when that happened, we knew there was something else going on here besides just a military history book. And the letters that we got from--from that excerpt were also very, very interesting and I think very telling that we had tapped a nerve of some sort here that was much bigger than--I mean, there's tons of war books published every year, and many of them are marketed expressly for just the military--the military buffs. And this one was--was clearly striking a nerve with the general public, as well as--as family members of--of Bataan.
LAMB: Where is this--the title from, "Ghost Soldiers"?
Mr. SIDES: "Ghost Soldiers" really is the resonant phrase that refers to--within the camp itself, Cabanatuan, which this was the largest and--the--POW camp in American history ever established on foreign soil, these guys referred to themselves as ghosts all the time, the ghosts of Bataan, they would call themselves, because not only did they look like ghosts from having lived for three years in--in squalor and in--in starvation in these camps, but they felt like they had been forgotten by--by the land of the living and--and by--by their own country. So you see it in the poems and in--in the songs, the camp literatures, the ghosts of Bataan. I just thought it was an interesting kind of phrase, resonant phrase, and I--and I played off of that.
LAMB: Help me on the pronunciation. We've had people here that called it Bataan (pronounced ba-TAN) and you're calling it Bataan (pronounced ba-TAUN).
Mr. SIDES: I've heard it both. The--the actual way the Filipinos say it is Bata-aun, with a little bit of a gap there. But, you know, I generally use the pronunciation that the Americans used because primary, I'm following the American version of the story.
LAMB: What is it?
Mr. SIDES: I--I call it Bataan (pronounced ba-TAUN).
LAMB: What is it?
Mr. SIDES: Bataan is a peninsula that juts out into Manila Bay. And it's full of volcanos and jungles and was a perfect place, the American high command realized, to fight a protracted defensive war. When the Japanese invaded, very quickly, General MacArthur realized that they were not going to be able to defend Manila, so they pulled back into this peninsula of land and held out as long as they could. The--the--the original war plan, which was known as War Plan Orange, was to hold out just long enough for the--the resupply of ammunition and food and--and medicines from the Navy, from--from Pearl Harbor. But, of course, there was no Navy anymore because primarily, the--the--the Navy was destroyed with the attack at Pearl Harbor. And suddenly, these men on Bataan were caught without prospects for--for resupply on this peninsula.

They held out as long as they could, three or four months, and then on April 9th, finally, starved and suffering from malaria and dysentery and every other kind of disease...
LAMB: '41.
Mr. SIDES: This is '42.
LAMB: '42.
Mr. SIDES: April 9th, 1942, they finally pulled up the--the--the white flag and--and--and surrendered to the Japanese. The unthinkable thing had happened. The Americans had--had lost the battle. And, of course, they'd never talked about a surrender. They didn't know--they didn't really have any plan or protocol for how you go about giving up your arms to--to the enemy. So thus began one of the--the darkest chapters of the war, the--what came to be known as the Bataan Death March.
LAMB: Page 10 of your book, let me just read a little bit. `A Navy signalman named C.C. Smith refused to go into his pit. Suddenly, the Buzzard set upon him. He raised his saber high, so that it gleamed in the midday sun, and with all this strength, he brought it--it--it blade side down. Smith's head was cleaved in two, the sword finally stopping midway down the neck.' Where's that from? Where'd you get that?
Mr. SIDES: I opened the book with an incident that happened at a--at a different prison camp altogether called Puerto Princessa in--on--on the island of Palawan, also in the Philippines. And the reason I opened the book with this account was that it--it was the example of what the Americans were worried was--was going to happen at this other camp, my camp, Cabanatuan. In this incident that I'm describing there that you just read, the Japanese saw that the Americans were returning and decided to take their 151 POWs that were under their command and they--they lit them on fire wit--they poured gasoline on them and lit them on fire. They--it--it was--it was part of the Japanese policy to--to not let anyone be turned back over to the Americans for fear that maybe they'd become fighting soldiers again one day or live on to tell about the war crimes that they had witnessed. So the American command returning to the Philippines--you know, this is skipping ahead a little bit to 1945. When they found out about the existence of this other larger camp, Cabanatuan, they were worried that a massacre much like this was going to happen. And so they realized they had to do something, send some men back behind enemy lines--ahead of the lines and try to extricate these guys before another massacre like this would occur.
LAMB: How many people--how many Americans died?
Mr. SIDES: In this incident?
LAMB: In that incident.
Mr. SIDES: About--well, 151 were involved; 140 died. The rest survived either for a short while or there was actually seven or maybe--I think it was 10 who actually survived, made it home and told their story to the world. And yet, it's an incident that is extremely obscur--obscure. The--the massacre at Palawan is not very well-known today, even among the Bataan and Corregidor guys.
LAMB: Anybody that was there alive today?
Mr. SIDES: There--as I--as I know of, there's only two, and I spoke with one, Eugene Neilson, who's a--a--a Mormon gentleman who lives in the--in the mountains in Utah. And it's just an extraordinary tale of survival that he was able to escape this massacre. He basically jumped over a barbed-wire fence down onto a beach and hid in various cavelike folds in the coral reef. Then eventually, he jumped into the bay and started swimming. He was shot three times. Somehow swam for nine hours with bullet wounds. Made it across the--the bay, dragged himself across a mangrove swamp and eventually hooked up with Filipino guerrillas in order to tell his story to the Army intelligence people. So all of this figured in, ultimately, to the Army intelligence, as they decided what to do with this other camp, Cabanatuan.
LAMB: Palawan happened what year?
Mr. SIDES: Palawan--this massacre happened in December of '44. So basically, one month before the Americans were--were returning to Luzon. So it was a cautionary tale, basically.
LAMB: And you found Eugene Neilson in the mountains of Utah?
Mr. SIDES: Yeah, he's still alive.
LAMB: How old is he?
Mr. SIDES: Tough, tough, tough guy. Early 80s, I believe. And, I mean, it's just extraordinary what he--what he had to go through just to survive to tell this story to the world.
LAMB: And where did you find him? I mean, did you find him by phone or did you see him in person?
Mr. SIDES: I--I--yeah, I think I just--I used the phone di--you know, phone directory. I knew his name, I knew he lived in Utah. And I just--there was a couple of Neilsons and I--I eventually located him. He was reluctant to talk to me at first.
LAMB: Why?
Mr. SIDES: Well, I--I think anyone who experiences an atro--an atrocity like this, it's just very, very difficult for them to talk about it. And who the heck am I? You know? He didn't know who I was or whether I was trustworthy. He's a little hard of hearing. You know, I think it was just a little difficult for him to--to--to get going on it. Also, I found, though, that this--this particular incident that we're talking about was the subject of a war crimes trial. And here in Wa--in the Washington area at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, I was able to found hundreds of pages of documents of testimony from people like Neilson and a couple of the other survivors. So I was able to piece it together with--with excruciating detail. I mean, It--it, you know, everything that happened at Palawan was fairly well documented by these 10 or so survivors.
LAMB: This whole thing, I'm going to read it again. This is the Japanese soldier, `raised his saber high, so that it gleamed in the midday sun, and with all his strength, he brought it, blade side down. Smith's head was cleaved in two, the sword finally stopping midway down the neck.' How do you know that's true, and if it is, does it say anything in particular about the Japanese?
Mr. SIDES: Three or four different people mentioned this--this particular incident. This was a guy who was refusing to go into the trenches. The Japanese had made the Americans really earlier, for their own safety, to dig air raid--ai--air raid trenches, so that when American planes, which had begun bombing Palawan months earlier--when these bombs would--would--would drop, the Americans would go into these trenches and--and hopefully not be bombed by their own--by their own fellow Americans. The--the--in this incident, the Japanese acted as though there was another air raid that was imminent and they said, `Get in your trenches. Get in your trenches.' And this one guy, this gentleman here, refused to get in his trench. He didn't understand. He didn't hear American planes coming. He didn't know why he needed to get in the trench. And that's when they set upon him with the sword. The fate of the other Americans was they--as soon as they got in the trenches, the Japanese came with aviation fuel and sloshed it into the trenches with buckets and--and then alit--lit the trenches on fire with--with bamboo torches. But there were a number of witnesses to this particular incident, so--and I feel very, very confident that the--the details are accurate.
LAMB: Second part of the question. Does it say anything about the Japanese, and do you find more of this kind of activity?
Mr. SIDES: Well, you know, the book is full of very vivid accounts of Japanese atrocities, and they viewed prisoners of war very differently. They had ideas from their culture borrowed from the days of the Bushido code, of samurai days that the ultimate shame was to fall prisoner. To--to surrender to the enemy was beneath contempt. And you were supposed to save the last round of am--ammunition for yourself. So I think this influenced the way they treated the American POWs. They were--you know, they--they didn't feel ne--a necessity to treat the Americans with any delicacy. And--and they didn't. And, of course, this happened repeatedly. Through--throughout the book, there are examples of--of this sort of brutality.

I went to Japan for three months to study this whole question of the prisoner--prisonerhood status. Where did this idea come from, you know, and--and--and how--and to what lengths would they go to visit these sorts of cruelties on prisoners? You know, it wasn't--it--generally, with their treatment of the POWs, it--it wasn't a--like a Nazi policy of extermination or anything like that. It was what I call malign neglect. Basically, letting them wither on--on the vine, not feeding them, not letting basic medicines come into the camp. By and large, these deaths of--of the American prisoners weren't the result of this sort of cruelty that we were just now discussing, but just basic diseases like dysentery and malaria that were flourishing in the camp because the Japanese command would not permit basic medicines like quinine to get into the camp. And, you know, they just didn't feel it was necessary. It--they didn't really understand why a prisoner of war should be treated with any delicacy. They didn't--they didn't really get the whole Geneva con--convention idea.
LAMB: What year did you start working on this?
Mr. SIDES: I started this about three years ago. I live in New Mexico, and I had come--come out to New Mexico and kept seeing the word Bataan: Bataan Memorial Drive, Memorial Library. On April 9th, there's a Bataan Memorial Day, where they raise a white flag over the state capitol in Santa Fe. And I didn't know what Bataan was, frankly. I--you know, I was--I think I've since become appalled at--at the level of my own ignorance because this was the largest surrender in American history and the largest and I think most heinous captivity experience in--in American war history. And I knew very, very little about it. It was only the vaguest reference for me. The reason there's all this Bataan memorial stuff out in New Mexico is that more people from New Mexico than from any other state were caught in the Bataan Death March. And half the guys that went over there didn't come back. They--they took an entire--the entire National Guard of New Mexico, turned them into an artillery unit and sent them to--to the Philippines just before the war. So consequently, you know, you had this tiny state in terms of population just devastated by this event.

So I got more and more curious that way. I started meeting these veterans. And then I--well, I was also at that--at this point, I was an editor at Outside magazine. Outside magazine writes about, you know, adventure sports and the outdoors and all sorts of extreme situations that people put them in--put themselves into, you know, expeditions of one sort or another. We published Jon Krakauer who, who, you know, "Into Thin Air" and Sebastian Junger, a story that later became "The Perfect Storm." And when I came across this story of Bataan, it felt like familiar ground. It felt like an Outside magazine story, you know, except set in the 1940s and, you know, far-flung jungles and men having to really endure the--endure hardships that were--that made--you know, made the Outside magazine stories seem kind of tame. So...
LAMB: What...
Mr. SIDES: So it felt familiar to me.
LAMB: What year were you born?
Mr. SIDES: I was born in 1962.
LAMB: Where?
Mr. SIDES: Memphis, Tennessee.
LAMB: And how long did you live there?
Mr. SIDES: Up until college. I--you know, 18 years.
LAMB: Where did you go to college?
Mr. SIDES: I went to Yale.
LAMB: Studied what?
Mr. SIDES: I studied--oh, not much of anything. I studied history, but I--I mostly worked on campus newspapers and magazines. And--and my--I guess my big mentor in college was John Hersey, the writer who--whose very first book, as a matter of fact, was about Bataan. It was called "Men on Bataan." He was a correspondent with Time-Life and was over there interviewing soldiers just before the surrender. And I was very much influenced by his book "Hiroshima," wh--in which he instead of telling the overview story of--of the bombing, he decided to tell it from the point of view of--of five or I think it's six characters. That's sort of what I did in this book is in--instead of telling the--the--the big macro story and what was happening in Washington and what was happening in Tokyo, I was more interested in what was happening on the ground with five or six main characters and you kind of, you know, come to care about these guys, where were they from, what was their life like before the war. So that when these atrocities began to happen to them, you care about their fate and wha--and hopefully, if--if it works, that--that's the theory anyway, fo--with this kind of narrative. And Hersey was--was a real big practitioner of this kind of journalism where you--you know, you get really personal when you tell it--tell history through the eyes of--of individuals.
LAMB: Where you did you meet him?
Mr. SIDES: At Yale. He was a teacher at Yale, taught a non-fiction writing course that was, I think, you know, very influential on--on--on my--on my career.
LAMB: What year did you graduate?
Mr. SIDES: 1984.
LAMB: And then what did you do?
Mr. SIDES: Well, I--I ended up in Washington working for various newspapers and magazines. I freelanced for places like The Washington Post and The New Republic and tried to figure out what kind of journalism I was interested in. And I--I--it became apparent to me after a few years in Washington that I didn't really want to cover politics and I didn't want to do sort of source journalism or public policy journalism. It just wasn't my strength. But I didn't know what--I--I really didn't know what I was after. I--I--I came to--to realize that I wanted to do narrative very much like John Hersey had done in his--in his career. So I wanted to--I--I eventually left Washington in search of bigger stories. I wrote a book called "Stomping Grounds," which was about American subcultures, classic American groups that have annual epic reunions that--that are almost like going to Mecca, groups like Tupperware sales ladies, people who own Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Airstream travel st--trailer owners, you know, the silver bubbles, and a group called the Rainbow people, which are hippies that meet every year in a different national forest. And it was my first book. It was just a--it was a ball to do. I traveled around 38 states and told these tales about American subcultures and why we seem to be drawn to these fraternities of intensely like-minded but--but somewhat esoteric pursuits.
LAMB: Where--where's the name Hampton Sides come from? How'd you get--what--what's Hampton?
Mr. SIDES: Oh, it--it's just--it's just one of those Southern, you know, last name, first names. I'm from Memphis and I'm ultimately named after General Wade Hampton, who was a--a famous general during the Civil War, although I'm not related to him. It's just some kind of family name that somewhere along the line--I--I think I'm the third. So it's--it's been in the family for a while.
LAMB: What's the origin of the name Sides?
Mr. SIDES: Side is actually a German name. It was Sites, and I guess maybe at Ellis Island or somewhere, they changed it to--or Anglicized it a little bit, turned it into Sides.
LAMB: And why Santa Fe and why did you move there when?
Mr. SIDES: I moved out in Santa Fe--out to Santa Fe about seven years ago. I--I took a job at Outside magazine, which was then in Chicago but was planning a big move out to Santa Fe. Outside has always been oriented towards the Rocky Mountains and towards, you know, mountain climbing and kayaking and doing all kinds of stuff like that, and so it made sense that the magazine would move to a town in the Rockies. And I--I knew they were going to move, and I wanted to raise my family out there. And--and it was just what the doctor ordered to get out of Washington, DC, and do something very different.
LAMB: How big is your family?
Mr. SIDES: I've got three--I've got three little boys.
LAMB: How old?
Mr. SIDES: Four, six and eight. And my wife and I are raising them out there in the--in the wilds of New Mexico. They're pretty feral, at this point, pretty crazy. It's never dull around our house.
LAMB: Now go back to the Bataan--is it a memorial or a museum in Santa Fe?
Mr. SIDES: Both. There is the only museum dedicated to Bataan is right there in Santa Fe. They also have a thing every April called the Bataan Memorial Death March, held on--in the White Sands Missile Range. Thank God they don't actually re-create the--the conditions of--of their--their original death march. It's really just a--it's a military marathon where they invite all the survivors back to--to greet the runners, and then the runners take off into the desert and run 26 miles.

Well, the year that I got interested in this book, I found out that there was a guy from the original Bataan who wanted to walk the route of this memorial death march in honor of his comrades. And...
LAMB: Name?
Mr. SIDES: His name's Winston Chilateau. He's still alive. He's in phenomenal condition. Anyone at that age--you know, I think at that point, he was 77 or 78. Anyone at that age who's able to walk 26 miles at--at altitude like that has got to be in pretty--pretty good shape. And I did a story for Sports Illustrated about--about this--this man and this event and this whole--whole idea of synthetic suffering, that I was kind of playing with this idea that, you know, there--there's real, authentic suffering and then there's this sort of tendency we have increasingly to seek out these incredible hardships and, you know, that--that are optional, you know, like, `Oh, I think I'll go climb a--a certain mountain without oxygen or I'll--I'll paddle across the ocean in a--in a bathtub or, you know, run 26 miles in the desert.' So it was a--it was a strange event to see this man--this man--this man walking this route, thinking about the ordeal that he had suffered 50-some-odd years before, and yet, being in the company of all these ultra marathoners in their bright clothes and all their regalia, you know, running this event and--and kind of comparing these--these two events.
LAMB: I--is it safe to assume that this book would not have been written without the Bataan Museum and the death march re-enactment? I mean, it--is that...
Mr. SIDES: I think it's true that, you know, in the early stages, I was--I was casting about for a book. I--I knew that I wanted to get out of editing because by that point, I'd been editing at Outside for a while and I wanted to do something drastically different. And it's true when you start--when you embark on a project, the first few experiences that you have are--are re--I think extremely influential and--and pivotal. And--and this story really did, like so many stories, it began locally. And it began just by looking around in--in my hometown and my home state and--and asking some real basic questions. You know, what it--what--what was Bataan exactly? I've heard the phrase. Bataan Death March. But if I'm this ignorant about this, then I'm banking that--banking on the fact that probably a lot of other people, especially people of my generation, are--are similarly ignorant. And--and, you know, one--one thought led to another, led to another. And so, you know, I think all great stories start locally in--in some way.
LAMB: How many printings have there been for the book?
Mr. SIDES: I know there--they were in the fourth printing last week. So...
LAMB: And we've got time between now and the time it airs.
Mr. SIDES: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: How many books are in the market?
Mr. SIDES: I--I was told a half million. So I--I don't know, you know, how many exactly have been sold vs. how many are en route to--to various publisher--to various bookstores, but the book is selling extremely well, better than we could have ever imagined. And, you know, this book was never intended for just simply a military history buff readership. But on the--by the--by the same token, you know, a lot--there's a lot of war books out there. And, you know, the--we had no particular reason to think this one was going to be any different. But it--it--the very first week it was out, it was number seven on the best-seller list and it--it was at two for a while. And it's been two or three or--or--or thereabouts ever since, so it's--it's been very gratifying to see this level of interest.
LAMB: You say the Bataan Death March was 26 days?
Mr. SIDES: Well, it--it--it lasted different lengths of time for different people. The--it depends on when you started and which--which guard you had and...
LAMB: What were the dates?
Mr. SIDES: The--it started on April 9th of 1942 and lasted for a couple of weeks.
LAMB: From what point?
Mr. SIDES: They left, most of them, from the tip of Bataan, a place called Marivelas, and went north, village by village, as fast as they could go. But, of course, that was the problem. By that point, they were so sick and so depleted and so wracked with diseases that they couldn't move. They co...
LAMB: How many?
Mr. SIDES: There were anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 Americans who--who surrendered. It's hard to know the exact number because many of them swam across the sho--the Manila Bay to Corregidor, the little island, and--or some just disappeared into the jungle, hoping to hook up with other Americans and develop a--a guerrilla force. But approximately we'll--we'll say 8,000 Americans went on this death march and a--approximately a thousand died en route.
LAMB: So Cabanatuan, which this is all about, is located where?
Mr. SIDES: It's on the island of Luzon, about 60 miles north of Manila. And it was the largest American prisoner of war camp ever established on foreign soil. It was--it had as--it had as many as 9,000 people there at one time. And it was a little tropical enclave of America. There--you know, they tried to establish some semblance of an American town there. The thoroughfares were named. You know, there was, like, a Fifth Avenue and a Broadway and--and Main Street, they called one of the--one of the thoroughfares. The place where they had the camp meetings was--was known as Times Square. You know, they had a baseball diamond, they had a--a camp library and a university--they called it a university, where the better educated officers taught classes in astron--astronomy and French to the--to the enlisted men. They tried as best they could to carry on and have some--some semblance of order and--and American society there, to the extent that the Japanese would allow them.
LAMB: How many Americans were inside the camp?
Mr. SIDES: The number fluctuated wildly because the--the Japanese were continually moving them on details, one--one work detail after another. They worked on roads and bridges and shipyards. But through much of this period of, you know, '42, '43, '44, the number was somewhere around 5,000. And then as the Americans started winning the war and the tide was turning against the Japanese, they decided to start shipping the able-bodied American POWs north to Japan to work in--in the coal mines of Japan. And--and so the numbers began to dwindle down to--finally to 500 people, the last 500 who were left in the camp when the Americans returned.
LAMB: How many people died inside that camp?
Mr. SIDES: About 3,000 in mass graves. All those pe--people were disintered at the end of the war and--and reburied in a military cemetery near Manila--well, in--in Manilla, that I went to during the research of--of this book. More people died there than any other camp in--in American history, outside of the Civil War itself.
LAMB: What did they die of?
Mr. SIDES: They died of dysentery, malaria, beriberi. All sorts of insidious combinations of--of those three. Those were the big ones. They died of all--all kinds of nutritional deficiencies. A lot of esoteric ailments that cropped up when--when you--people were starved, not just for weeks or--or months, but years of you know, basic medicines. I mean, they were--they--they were primarily eating rice month after month after month, and they didn't have, for example, vitamin B. And because they didn't have vitamin B, they were developing beriberi, which is a hideous disease. It causes the extremities to swell up, and eventually, you--you basically drown in your own--your own pus, essentially. It's a hideous way to go, and that's what happened to so many of these men.

And lots of even more esoteric diseases cropped up. These guys became night blind or--or lost their vision altogether. Some of them lost their voices. Some of these men grew breasts, essentially. Their breasts swelled up and became tender. And there was a strange disease called limber neck where they couldn't hold their head up. Their neck became like rubber, and--and--and like literally hundreds of men would walk around the camp with their--you know, holding their head--holding their neck up with their hands. So all these kinds of strange things were developing because--you know, they did not--it wasn't starvation in the sense that--I mean, they were getting a little bit to eat every day, but they weren't getting basic vitamins and minerals over a prolonged period of time. And that wreaked havoc on their constitutions.
LAMB: And the Japanese had what control over the Philippines during this time period?
Mr. SIDES: Well, they were in--they were--you know, they were running the show from Manila. They wanted to use Manila Bay because it was, you know, one of the best harbors in Asia. And the--the commandant of the camp--well, there were actually a number of different commandants over the years, but they would come--come up from Manila and each commandant would have his own rules and regulations. They--they ruled with an iron fist. They--they went into this conflict thinking that the Filipinos would--would accept their rule because they were Asian and the Filipinos were Asian and, you know, they--the slogan was `Asia for the Asiatics.' And they felt that they would for--the Japanese felt that the Filipinos would forget American rule and--and--and, you know, turn their allegiance to--to a new power. But that didn't exactly happen. The Filipinos were--were still very loyal to the Americans, and although there were plenty of collaborators, by and large, they didn't cooperate with the Japanese. And, you know, there was an underground. There were guerrilla organizations. They made life quite difficult for the Japanese occupation.
LAMB: How many Japanese were on guard there at the prison most of time?
Mr. SIDES: Usually around 100 guards, and these guys were--I mean, you know, this wasn't the cream of the Imperial army. Most of these guys were either extremely young, green kids, fresh from Japan or older--older folks out to pasture, people who were sort of brought in after their military career was really over. A lot of them were brought in from Korea and Taiwan, which were run--you know, basically ruled by Japan, and stuck out there in the Philippines, a thankless post. So naturally, they were a little bitter and sulking and didn't want to be where they were, and I think this influenced the way they treated the American POWs.
LAMB: The actual time that your book focuses on?
Mr. SIDES: Well, there's two basic time lines. There's--one time line is three years, and that's the story of--of the men of Bataan, their surrender, their captivity experience leading up all the way to the day they're liberated. The other time line is three days, and that's--it took three days when the Rangers got this mission to go in and liberate these men to--to--to the point where they got them back safely to American lines.
LAMB: And what were those three days?
Mr. SIDES: The three days were January 28th, 29th and 30th of 1945, and, you know, at a certain point in the book, these two time lines finally intersect and--and, you know, the tension is broken whe--when the gunfire starts at the camp.
LAMB: What would you say, overall, has been your most important source?
Mr. SIDES: Well, pri--you know, these men themselves, I mean--and primarily, the--I mean the POWs. The Rangers were very helpful to me. The Rangers were very modest. They--their memories were not particularly complicated. They went in and did their job. They had an--an--an extraordinarily successful mission and, you know, their--they had no problems talking to me.

But the POWs, the--these men that--that are pictured in my--in my book, are--you know, this is primarily their story. I talked to them for hours and sometimes days, went to their houses, met their wives and--and families and stayed with them as long as possible. It--it became apparent to me that the way to tell this book, going back to Hersey and "Hiroshima," was to really tell it through the eyes of just a handful of characters, keep going back to them, see it through their eyes, and, you know, picking a cross-section of men who represent a--a fair--a fair diversity within the Army of that time, men from different towns and different--different places.
LAMB: Who's this fella right here?
Mr. SIDES: This guy is the guy who--who led the mission to Cabanatuan. His name is Henry Mucci, Colonel Henry Mucci. They called him `Little MacArthur' because he, like the supreme commander, had a high appreciation of the theatrics of warfare. He smoked a pipe, like MacArthur. He was a character; loud, very charismatic.
LAMB: Is he alive?
Mr. SIDES: Mucci--Mucci is not alive. He died a couple of years ago, unfortunately. I was...
LAMB: Did you talk to him?
Mr. SIDES: No, I was not able to talk to him. He--he died just before--just before I embarked on this project.
LAMB: Who is this fellow?
Mr. SIDES: Well, this is the number two, the guy under Mucci who actually went into the camp and devised and planned and executed the--the assault on the camp.
LAMB: Name?
Mr. SIDES: His name is Robert Prince. Great name for a rescuer--Captain Prince. Amazing guy. He lives in Seattle, Washington. He's hail and hearty and tough as nails. Very modest. Like so many of these Rangers, he--he doesn't really understand--he doesn't think this was extraordinary, what he did.
LAMB: This is what he looks like today, actually.
Mr. SIDES: This--this is what he looks like today. The...
LAMB: Did you meet him?
Mr. SIDES: I met him a nu--a number of different times but this photograph was taken at a very moving reunion that was held at Ft. Benning, Georgia, to commemorate the raid on Cabanatuan. It was the only time that all the surviving Rangers and all the surviving POWs were brought together in one place and--and--and the liberated got to--got to embrace the--their--their liberators. It was a really moving thing, and Prince showed up and, you know, it was--it was terrific to see all these guys together in one place.
LAMB: And you were there?
Mr. SIDES: I was there, and a number of other journalists. It was--it was a--a reunion that was completely paid for by one of the POWs, who just wanted to do something out--out of--out of his heart to thank these guys. And there was no plaque or memorial of any sort at the Ranger Hall of Fame, which is there in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and this guy had paid for the plaque and the--the marble and everything and--and invited all these guys to fly in from all over creation, which they did gladly, and got to see all these guys together in one place.
LAMB: How many of them--and I want to ask this because I noticed in the back, when you were talking about where they are today--how many of them died in the middle of rewriting this book?
Mr. SIDES: A couple of--a couple of the main characters died while I was researching and--and even while I was just beginning to think about who might be the main characters of--of this book, two or three of them died and I ended up, you know, speaking to their--their spouses.
LAMB: Namely?
Mr. SIDES: There was a guy named Sam Gracio out in Spokane, Washington, who--who--who passed away in the early stages of my research. The--one of the main characters in the book is a guy named Dr. Ralph Hibbs, an Army doctor who was just a--there's a picture of him near the beginning, the ve--very first block of photos in my book. Dr. Hibbs was--d--died just a few months ago, just bef--just before the book came out. I spoke to his--his wife, and he had just passed away.

I was real interested in Dr. Hibbs because, to a large extent, this story is a medical story. You know, Japanese cruelty certainly accounted for many deaths, but ultimately, this was a medical story--you know, basic diseases, antique diseases; diseases that we had a handle on i--in civilized society were rearing their heads for--for an encore performance in--in--in this camp. And, you know, without these basic medicines, you know, it's like going back to medieval times, and doctors having to improvise, fake their way through--through operations without anesthesia. They called--they--they used what they called vocal anesthetic, which means the doctor just says, `This is not going to hurt much.' They--they used folk remedies of various sorts, and the dentist would repl--make artificial teeth from water buffalo teeth, and you know, they had to improvise in all kinds of ways, which--which I think, you know, these--these--the ex--the measures they had to go to were heroic and the improvi--improvising that they had to do was--was--was just extraordinarily creative.
LAMB: Now you--in your research, had you found another book like this anywhere?
Mr. SIDES: There are other books out there. Most of them have been marketed ex--ex--explicitly for mi--military history audiences. They're pretty obscure. Many of them are self-published books by people who aren't writers, but these were men who are there, and they're very important documents. I certainly relied on a number of those books because, you know, they were there, and they told their story and they finally got it down on--on paper.

Some of the men that became my main characters had written their own books, and I was able to use their book as a jumping-off point for interviewing. I'd say, you know, `Here on page 67, you say this, but what did you really mean by that and can we get into that a little more?' And it was a great sort of starting point for--for getting into these in--interviews a little bit more intensely.
LAMB: As I was--actually, I listened to this on--on CD...
Mr. SIDES: Oh, yeah.
LAMB: ...while driving, and as I was listening to it and prepared to talk to you about it, I kept thinking how--why would an author want to tell us, here today, the story of this book, because the drama and the story is what you're selling here. And have you had that problem as you go about telling--I mean, there's some--there's some personal stories; I haven't asked you about them yet, but does that hurt or help your sales?
Mr. SIDES: The--you--you mean the fact that the--these stories are dramatic or...
LAMB: Well, I mean, you could tell the whole story here in an hour about this book...
Mr. SIDES: Oh, I see.
LAMB: ...and there wouldn't be any reason to go buy it.
Mr. SIDES: I see what you're saying. Yes, well, I--you know, in--in going out on the book tour, we had to think a fair amount about how much to give away, you know. I mean, I think it's apparent to anyone who reads the jacket of the book that we're talking about a fairly successful, fairly spectacular mission in World War II. And there was no way to get away--get away from that. I think, just like Jon Krakauer with "Into Thin Air," I think when you read--read that book, everyone knows that there's going to be a disaster on Mt.--Mt. Everest and--and people are going to die. I think that's a given. The question is: How--you know, given the outcome that we all basically know, how--how do we get from A to B? I think that's the suspense. And--and there were casualties, there were things that went wrong. There were strokes of complete--just good luck and a couple of strokes of bad luck, and some Rangers die, and there's an incident involving friendly fire.

And--and so, you know, I think that we--I don't want to give away--I don't mind giving away the ultimate outcome. It was successful. It's--it's the question of how, you know, the in between that's--that's interesting and that--that I think the person who reads the book will come to fresh.
LAMB: Story of Dr. Jimmy Fisher.
Mr. SIDES: Well, now we're getting into one of the stories I don't want to give away too much, but there was--one--one of the casualties was a doctor, which sort of seems appropriate in some way to this story because the doctors were so much a part of this story from the beginning, from--from the days of Bataan and--and now with the rescue, doctors figured into the story so intimately. This doctor, Dr. Jimmy Fisher, went a--went along on the raid. He was the surgeon--he was the battalion surgeon of the 6th Ranger Battalion, and he wasn't supposed to be at the raid itself. He was supposed to be in the nearby town getting the hospital ready for the casualties that they all expected were going to emer--emerge from this operation. Dr. Fisher ended up being the ca--the main casualty of this raid, and he was hit by mortar fire and was--he didn't die immediately, but it took about 24 hours.

He was--was an amazing guy, a Harvard-educated guy who was--it was very important for him to be just--just one of the guys and--and to be right there with his men. He didn't have to be there. He chose to be there and at the point of greatest danger, and he paid the ultimate price.
LAMB: You say in your--in your notes that Vivian Hixson, his niece, was a big help to you on this. How did she help you?
Mr. SIDES: Well, she had all the family papers. What's interesting about Dr. Fisher is that his mother was a famous writer o--of--of the day and a famous editor who was part of the Book of the Month Club, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and she was very studious about keeping all the letters that she received, after her son died, from all the Rangers, from the doctors who operated on him, from the Filipino guerrillas who were with him in his last hours. And there was photographs and y--you know, letters from Colonel Mucci, testimonials about his character and what a wonderful man he was. And all those were assembled in one place and she--she was just very kind and generous to--to let me take a look at all that stuff, and then ultimately, all those papers went to the University of Vermont.
LAMB: Edwin Rose--what's that story?
Mr. SIDES: Well, this is--this is one--you know, er--whenever there's a mission like this, there's always some--some--somebody who gets left behind, somebody who just is clueless to the whole thing, and Edwin Rose was--was that man in this case. He was a stone deaf British civilian, who somehow, through convoluted means, had ended up in this camp in the last few months o--of its existence. And when the raid commenced and the gunfire started, Edwin Rose was--he was sitting on the la--on the latrine. He had dysentery, and he--he was so deaf that he didn't hear the gunfire, and the raid begins and ends. All the prisoners are removed and Edwin Rose misses...
LAMB: All...
Mr. SIDES: ...misses it all.
LAMB: And all the Japanese were killed?
Mr. SIDES: All the Japanese were either killed or wounded or--or retreated. We don't really know what happened to all the Japanese, because it was pitch black. But...
LAMB: Just to recap, you had 100 Japanese soldiers there guarding 500 Americans...
Mr. SIDES: Right. Right.
LAMB: ...at the time of the attack.
Mr. SIDES: Right. You had about 100 Japanese guards, and you had anywhere from 200 to 300 Japanese soldiers who were bivouacking in the rear of the camp, just using the place to sleep, and then there was another thousand Japanese soldiers one mile away and another 7,000 to 8,000 four miles away in--in the city of Cabanatuan. So the Japanese were everywhere.

And in the midst of all this, Edwin Rose is sitting on the latrine, laboring mightily with his dysentery. He misses the whole raid, he goes back to his barrack and goes to sleep.
LAMB: Can't hear.
Mr. SIDES: Can't hear and can't see very well, either--and wakes up in the middle of the night and realizes something's wrong. He smells smoke. He wakes up ri--I guess it's right around dawn, and--and the--realizes there are Japanese corpses everywhere. Everything's different. He realizes something big has happened, but he's still a--a little addled by--by--by the whole experience and by, you know, his nutritional deficiencies.

Then he finally--it finally dawns on him that there's been a rescue and he's been left behind, and he--what he does--maybe this is typical British sense of pride and sense of humor, but he goes and puts on his best suit. There--he had saved some--some clothing that, you know, he thought he might need for--for liberation day. He got dressed in his--his--his suit. He shaves himself and tries to look, you know, sharp, goes out with his--with his bag to the front of the gate and just waits for something to happen. And it could have been the Japanese that picked him up, but in this case, it was some Japanese guerrillas that intercepted him and brought him to safety.
LAMB: You mean some Filipino guerrillas?
Mr. SIDES: I--Fi--Filipino guerrillas, who intercepted him, and--and he said, `I knew someone would come.' He was very--he was very optimistic that something good was going to happen, and--and it did, in his case. He made it back, too, to England.
LAMB: You do quote somebody as saying, though--I don't remember the exact quote--something like his elevator didn't ride--go all the way to the top floor.
Mr. SIDES: Ri--right.
LAMB: Meaning--did he--was he mentally deficient?
LAMB: He wasn't retarded or anything like that, but he--he was--he was elderly and he had s--I think the s--the--the cumulative effects of the starvation had been harder on him than--than on other people. And you know, he couldn't see very well. He couldn't hear very well. The cu--you know, the cumulative effect of all that made him a--a little slower than most guys.
LAMB: As I was listening to your book--by the way, do you remember who read it?
Mr. SIDES: James Naughton read it, who a--a Broadway actor, won some Tony awards and has read a lot of other books. He's an old pro at this--reading books on tape.
LAMB: Why didn't you do it?
Mr. SIDES: Oh, I'm glad I wasn't asked to do it. It's--it's a heck of a lot of work, and I've read things and done--done radio interviews and radio stories for National Public Radio, and it's a heck of a lot of work to get it--to get it right in just a few takes. I--I--I think it would have been really difficult for me to--to--to try to--to slog through it.
LAMB: Do you have any idea how the sales on the audio portion is going?
Mr. SIDES: No, I don't. I don't. I gather it's doing reasonably well. But I--I--you know, it's amazing to me how much they have to cut out of these books for books on tape. Over 50 percent of the book is gone, and my book isn't--you know, isn't a terribly long book. So, you know, I would hope eventually, there'll be an un--unabridged version that would come out that would tell--tell the--the real story, because so many characters drop out, so many of the subplots are removed and, you know, it's--it's a shame to see some of that stuff go.
LAMB: Three hundred and forty-two pages, about $25. But no source notes, no footnotes. Did you make a decision on purpose to do that?
Mr. SIDES: Yes. You know, this is a narrative and this is primarily journalism. You know, it's--this isn't history with a capital H, where I get deep into the--you know, what was going on with MacArthur or--or what was happening in Tokyo or Washington. Most of the guys--if you were to do an index, example--for example, for this book, it would read--it would--i--it would read almost ludicrously. It would read like, you know, `Captain Prince, page 43, blows his nose; page 57, develops foot blisters; page 57,' you know, `eats a raw egg.'

You know, it w--you know, the--this is a different kind of story. I mean, it's a narrative involving people most of whom are not famous, most of whose decisions were not, you know, important in the larger scheme of the strategy o--of the war. This is an on-the-grou--on-the-ground mission where I was more focused on what their--what were they thinking? What were they feeling? What--what was the weather like? What--what did the--what did the roads look like? What did the rivers look like? And to do footnotes and--and--and, you know, interrupt the flow of the narrative with--with numbers and--and get into all this and--and maybe index all of this, it just seemed like it--it would be cumbersome and it would interrupt the--the momentum of the narrative.
LAMB: Back--we talked about when you first knew that this might be a hit, the Esquire magazine article or excerpt from this--but back to the beginning of wh--wh--where did you write it, and how did you go about that, and how did you think that through in order to get the narrative down, so that you thought people would get drawn into this?
Mr. SIDES: Well, originally, I was going to try to write this book in strictly chronological fashion, just start with men arriving in Manila, war is imminent. They go to--they--they go to battle. They end up on Bataan. They surrender. They go through the death march. Three years in a prison camp. Finally, on page 300, the Americans return, and there's talk of a--of a rescue.

But then I realized a couple of things. One is that, you know, to expect readers to get through 300 pages of dysentery and malaria and, you know, all these exotic diseases and all the morale--you know, just the demoralizing circumstances that these guys were--were--were suffering, I realized it was going to be--it was going to be tough reading and that you needed something to ventilate that long ordeal, something to break it up, and so I started thinking what would that be? Maybe what was happening in Manila with the underground. Maybe there could be a--an escape attempt. Maybe I could go back to some of the hometowns of these men and figure out what their families were--were doing during this ordeal, or what was happening in Washington. I--you know, wracked my brain trying to figure out something to break this long ordeal--to break it up with.

And then, I--I s--but what I decided, for reasons which I'm not even still not sure why I did it this way, I--I decided to write the raid first, kind of write the end first, and I started writing what I thought was going to be basically two chapters about the raid, the--kind of the--the grand finale of the book. And two chapters became four, became six. You know, I started writing this narrative, and one of the amazing things about narrative writing is the--is you start--if you slow things down and you--and you--and--and you start saying, `OK, what--what was he doing right there in that moment? What--had he eaten lunch yet? What was--what time of day was this? What was the weather like? They're in this village. Well, what was the village like?' And, you know, you--you start getting into the--all the details and you realize that you've--you've consumed a lot of pages, you know, like 50 or 60 pages that--for one of these chapters that I thought was going to be really short.

Pretty soon, I realized I had perhaps 50 percent of the book was the narrative of the raid and that that was the way to break the whole thing up is to kind of have these two time lines and--and have it syncopated in a way that, you know, each--each chapter, you would--you would go from the prisoners to the--to the raid itself, and back to the prisoners and the raid itself, each narrative kind of getting closer and closer to a--a point where they would ultimately inter--intersect.
LAMB: Who are these two men, Adams and Abraham?
Mr. SIDES: I don't know who Adams is, other than that--that he's a Ranger.
LAMB: On the right.
Mr. SIDES: But--yeah. The guy on the left is a Ranger. Actually, the guy on the right looks--looks like he's almost better fed, doesn't he? He's a--his name is Abie Abraham. And he's a POW who is tough as nails, one of my main characters, a guy who was a Syrian-American from the steel country of Pennsylvania. I spent a lot of time with Abie at his house and heard his stories. Just an amazing guy. I--one--you know, really, he was made of tough stuff; I think it was obvious from the beginning. When he was 16 years old--this is a picture of him when he--when he was at that reunion we talked about earlier. But when he was 16 years old, he decided that he wanted to sit in a tree for a long time. He crawled up into a tree and stayed put for four months and won the--the national tree-sitting record. It sounds like a pretty dubious pursuit, and I guess it is, but he was determined--he was determined to--to get this thing, and you know, already demonstrating, I think, his tenacity.

This picture here is of him as a boxer. When he went into the Army, he became a very successful boxer, won tons of bouts down in Panama, and in--in the Philippines was a coach of the boxing team of the Army. So just before the war, I mean, essentially that's what he was. He was--he was a scrappy, tough boxing coach, and I think survived this ordeal just through sheer--you know, just being--just tough as nails.
LAMB: Who's Mr.--or in this case, Captain Bert Bank.
Mr. SIDES: Captain Bert Bank--he's--he's from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He's the son of Russian immigrants, Russian Jews, and he--ah, he's just a garrulous, fun-loving storyteller who--who got caught in this conflict with the rest of these characters. And he's still alive today, came to the reunion. Good looking man. He's--what happened to him in this prison--prison experience is that he--he went totally blind. He--this was probably from vitamin B or other vitamin deficiencies, but one day he was--he was working out in the--out in the--on the--on the farm on this prison camp, and he was supposed to be pulling weeds, but he was pulling up the--the actual plants, the tomato plants and so forth, and one of the guards came up and was going to give him a--a clubbing and something happened. I guess the guard realized that the--that the--the look on Bert Bank's face was pretty vacant and he could--it was clear that he couldn't see what he was doing, and from that day on, his--his eyesight got progressively worse and he was moved inside to work--work on other details, and he became totally blind. He couldn't see...
LAMB: Is he today?
Mr. SIDES: He couldn't see his hand in front of his face. After he got back after the war, he--he--he underwent a vitamin regimen of--of some sort and was able to restore about 50 percent of his eyesight. I--when I went to Tuscaloosa, he--I rode in a car with him. He tried to drive from--from his office to his home, and it was one of the scariest experiences I've ever had. I said, `I--let--let me drive. Let me drive this time.' And but--but--but still, I mean, just an--just an extraordinary guy and somehow fakes his way through situations.
LAMB: You said that you worked on this for three years. How much research and then how much writing?
Mr. SIDES: Two years of research and one year of writing.
LAMB: And whe--if we'd have followed you around for those two years, how many different places did you go?
Mr. SIDES: That would be hard to say. I--I spent--I spent a month in the Philippines, went back there with a bunch of veterans from World War II and kind of saw it from their--from their perspective. I went to Japan for three months. The rest of the time, I just spent tooling around America looking for these guys. Well, you know, once I found them and had conversations with them on the telephone, I would go to their houses.

The first interview was in Texas, a guy named Tommie Thomas I in--I interviewed down there in Texas, and made the mistake of renting a Japanese car--it was the only car they had; it was a Mitsubishi--and--yeah, there's a picture of him there. His wife came out of the house and looked at me, and looked at the car, saw that it was a Japanese car, and said something like, `The nerve.' And ultimately, Tommie Thomas didn't--he didn't care. He didn't--he wasn't--he didn't make a--a big point about it.
LAMB: You--you said that the Japanese Society underwrote your trip to Japan?
Mr. SIDES: The Japan Society. It's a New York-based group that tries to facilitate cultural understanding between Japan and--and the United States. I was surprised that they were--you know, they knew all about the book and I was a little surprised that they would be as generous as they--as they were, but I--I made it clear, and I think I make it clear in the book, that I--I was trying to understand their point of view, trying to understand the cultural factors that influenced the--the--the Bataan Death March and their views of prisoner--the--the prisoner would--prisoner of war status. You know, there were a lot of kind guards. There were a lot of instances of--of individual kindness that--that these prisoners I talked to remembered. And--you know, this is not a book for someone who wants to--someone who's a Japan basher is not going to get much satis--much satisfaction from this book.
LAMB: So what did you learn, though, about writing a story, and your next book?
Mr. SIDES: Well, I definitely learned about--or relearned all over again the power of narrative. I mean, you--you know, slow things down, talk about what's going on minute by minute. Don't--I think I'm much better telling a story than I am at analyzing a--a larger situation, writing kind of in an essayistic fashion.

I want to do narrative. In fact, my next book is going to be a novel, a heavily researched novel very much like this but it will be fiction instead of nonfiction, set in a cave--in the deepest cave in the world down in southern Mexico, and some incidents that happened down in this cave, based on some--some tr--some true events.
LAMB: You've got a lot of endorsements. David Halberstam, John Krakauer, Eric Larson, Iris Chang. Did you have a--a first review that triggered everybody else's interest?
Mr. SIDES: No, not exactly. I mean, Halberstam was the first one that came in and that was--that was really, really wonderful. You know how these blurbs work. I mean, you just send these things out cold and--and, you know, don't know--I--I've never met David Halberstam. I've read many of his books and was--was gratified to--to see that he--he thought highly of the book. I think that--that was the first one, and--and--and I guess that set the tone for the--for--for the other ones. Iris Chang was--was another important one to me. She had written a--a book about Nanking that was, you know, highly thought of and--and very controversial and did a lot, I think, to acquaint Americans with the Japanese Imperial army of that day and some of the--some of the atrocities that were perpetrated by the army.
LAMB: Where's this picture on the cover from?
Mr. SIDES: This picture is a picture that was taken by a Life magazine correspondent named Carl Mydans, who--who did a--a great story just after the raid took place. This--this moment that he captured on film is the very moment that they've crossed officially over into American lines, and those are the Rangers. They've got big grins on their faces because they've just pulled off this spectacularly successful raid. They'd been up for 72 hours and they'd been popping Benzedrine. Basically, the US Army was--was handing out speed to the--to the Rangers, so they could get through the--these long missions, and so the look on their faces is one part that they're wired on--on amphetamines and one part elation from knowing that they pulled this spectacular raid off.
LAMB: Hampton Sides has been our guest, and we're out of time, unfortunately. The name of this book is "Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission." Thank you very much.
Mr. SIDES: Thank you.


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