Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This recounting of the Bataan Death March and World War II is not an easy read, but it is powerful, fair, and meticulously told.

— From Ann


Tears in the Darkness is an altogether new look at World War II that exposes the myths of war and shows the extent of suffering and loss on both sides.

For the first four months of 1942, U.S., Filipino, and Japanese soldiers fought what was America's first major land battle of World War II, the battle for the tiny Philippine peninsula of Bataan. It ended with the surrender of 76,000 Filipinos and Americans, the single largest defeat in American military history.

The defeat, though, was only the beginning, as Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman make dramatically clear in this powerfully original book. From then until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the prisoners of war suffered an ordeal of unparalleled cruelty and savagery: forty-one months of captivity, starvation rations, dehydration, hard labor, deadly disease, and torture--far from the machinations of General Douglas MacArthur.

The Normans bring to the story remarkable feats of reportage and literary empathy. Their protagonist, Ben Steele, is a figure out of Hemingway: a young cowboy turned sketch artist from Montana who joined the army to see the world. Juxtaposed against Steele's story and the sobering tale of the Death March and its aftermath is the story of a number of Japanese soldiers.

About the Author

Michael Norman, a former reporter for The New York Times, teaches narrative journalism at New York University. His is also the author of the memoir These Good Men. Elizabeth M. Norman, the author of We Band of Angels and Women at War. She teaches at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education.

Praise For…

"Deeply researched and finely documented, Tears in the Darkness is written brilliantly in lucid prose. . . . A model of excellence in historical bookmaking . . . I couldn’t put it down."--Philip Kopper, The Washington Times


"An extremely detailed and thoroughly chilling treatment that, given the passage of time and thinning of ranks, could serve as popular history’s final say on the subject."--Richard Pyle, Associated Press


"Balanced, beautifully written . . . Many books have examined World War II in the Philippines, but none of them pack the punch of or are as beautifully written as this compelling volume. . . . A superb book about the unspeakable tragedy of war and the triumph of the human spirit."--Terry Hartle, The Christian Science Monitor  


"A lean, moving account...many books have described the atrocities. Prisoners were starved, beaten, and killed. This is different . . . Powerful."--USA Today


"A searing narrative [and] an indispensable addition to every World War II collection."--Bryce Christensen, Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312429706
ISBN-10: 0312429703
Publisher: Picador USA
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2010
Pages: 463
Language: English