The Great Raid on Cabanatuan
Rescuing the Doomed
Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor.
William B. Breuer. John
Wiley & Sons, 1994.
Written by a military historian, Breuer goes
about the task of detailing the events that led
to the liberation of American prisoners of war
at the Cabanatuan Japanese camp in the
Philippines. Specific to that task is explaining
not only the POW perspective, but the
perspectives of the military field operatives
that attempted to salvage the honor of a
dishonorable Bataan defense campaign.
The most important insights, however, that are
to be gleaned by this book are not the POW
experiences, but the experiences related by the
underground American and Filipino operatives
that were involved in helping the POW survival
effort. Herein, you realize that the liberation
campaign was not simply staged in isolation, but
was built on a solid foundation of individuals
who risked their own lives to infiltrate the
death camps during the Japanese occupation.
Overall, the book is rather “dry” and factual.
It sometimes succumbs to the historian’s
penchant for details and does not attempt to
deal with the conflicting values and emotions of
those engaged in the campaign. Nonetheless, the
book serves as a basic reader for examining the
evolution of the POW camp liberation which,
ultimately, served as a catharsis for grievous
American military wrongs committed upon their