Ghost Soldiers-Epic World War II Rescue Mission

Hampton Sides
Author: Hampton Sides

Ghost Soldiers is “The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission.’ (Esquire) an enthralling account of the heroic mission to rescue the last survivors of the Bataan Death March.

The Epic Account

On January 20,1945,121 hand-selected U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty rugged miles to rescue 513 POWs’ languishing in a hellish camp, among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March. A recent prison massacre by Japanese soldiers elsewhere in Philippines made the stakes impossibly high and left little time to plan the complex operation.

In Ghost Soldiers-author-Hampton Sides vividly re-creates this draining raid, offering a minute-by-minute narration that unfolds alongside intimate portraits of the prisoners and their lives in the camp. Sides, shows how the POW’s banded together to survive, defying the Japanese authorities even as they endured starvation, tropical disease’s, and torture. Harrowing, poignant and inspiring, Ghost Soldiers is the mesmerizing story of a remarkable mission. It is also a testament to the human spirit, an account of enormous bravery and self-sacrifice amid the most trying conditions.Ghost Soldiers

Kirkus Review

An extraordinary tale of bravery under fire and the will to endure.

When the Philippines fell to Japan in 1942, hundreds of Allied troops who survived the Bataan death march were imprisoned in the jungle camp of Cabanatuan. Some would be tortured, others executed without causes; all suffered starvation and illnesses such as “dengue fever, amoebic dysentery, bacillary dysentery, tertain malaria, cerebral malaria, typhus, typhoid.”

For three years “ghost soldiers” of Cabanatuan lived in earthy hell, and they would have remained there longer had an elite group of Rangers fighting with Douglas MacArthur’s invading army not planned and executed a rescue operation of tremendous emotional but doubtful strategic value-and one that could easily have ended in a costly disaster. Led by a young colonel named Henry Mucci (called “Little MacArthur” not only because he smoked a pipe incessantly but also because “he had, like The Supreme Commander, a firm grasp of the theatrics of warfare”), The Rangers penetrated deep within Japanese controlled territory, mounted an attack on the Japanese troops and tanks surrounding the camp, and led hundreds of Allied prisoners to safety-with thousands of enemy soldiers in hot and vengeful pursuit. Amazingly, the operation costs only a handful of casualties. Justly celebrated in its time (“Every child of coming generations will know of the 6th Rangers, for a prouder story has not been written,” declared one combat correspondent of the rescue), the Cabanatuan rescue has since been all but forgotten. Sides (Stomping Grounds, 1992) restores the episode to history in thoroughly researched and reported narrative that is careful in its attention to detail and never short of thrilling.

For more worthy than the celebrity-driven narratives of recent seasons, this is an exceptionally valuable addition to the popular literature surrounding World War II.

Get this wonderfully written non-fiction book, written by Hampton Sides, Ghost Soldiers-The epic account of World War II Greatest Rescue MissionGhost Soldiers

If you have any questions or want to leave a comment, please do below and I will get back with you as soon as I can.

All The Best,




10 thoughts on “Ghost Soldiers-Epic World War II Rescue Mission”

  1. I am a huge fan of these kinds of war stories, especially from World War II! I find it fascinating the lengths of the human spirit, they are so amazingly brave and heroic. I cannot wait to get a copy of this book, I find it crazy to think about the situation that these soldiers were in and had to live through before being rescued. Thank you for sharing, this is a truly awesome story!

    1. Thank you Travis for your comment, and it is a great story of humanity, courage and triumph, great read and well worth the time.

  2. I would definitely love to read this! I am going to purchase it next week.  It is amazing how these men had the strength and courage to go right into the midst of enemies to save their fellow soldiers. The POWs were strong in their endurance and loyalty to each other.  This is something that definitely needs to be remembered!

    1. Thank you Jennie for the comment, it is a wonderful story of ten years of research involved to get the true facts of what happened during the rescue mission, it tells of the heroics and the hellish POW camp that these 513 POW’s were in, and how these brave soldiers risked their lives to save these prisoners of war. It will make you look at what the brave men of WWII went through, and the moral compass that each and every one of them had.

  3. ey Bobbi, I real my want to raise out loud to acknowledge your ability to preserve history.
    Ghost soldiers is a highly rated book which is so much filled with the complete components of the ancient time practices and happenings.
    The reference to the 2nd war created an avenue to appreciate brevity and resilience.
    The story is full of sounds of blood shed but is in one way or the other of great.

    Ghost soldier is an eye opener to the sacrifice made by brave and non compromised motives

    1. Exactly Carol and thank you for your comment, this is a book of bravery, anguish, pain and ultimately humanity at its greatest.

  4. This is an interesting article.  I haven’t been one to delve much into war novels.  I have certainly never heard of Ghost Soldiers which is probably why this book is so intriguing.  Why do you think this story wasn’t told to us in schools or more widely known in the country?

    1. Thank you Jessica for your comment, and I am not sure why it wasn’t told in school history, I think in some way, that history teaches us of the HUGE moments, and the true heroic and human moments, and there are many, and overlooked, but it is a wonderful story that will make you see the true anguish that some of these soldiers and of course the POW’s went through to stay alive, great read and you should check it out.

  5. A friend of mine recommended me this book and says it tells quite a touching story of the rescue mission during the war and is quite a fine and fun book to read and so I had to see what others would say.I prefer reading these stories than watching biographies so I can get to feel like I’m in the action and dream it and visualise it all in my brains. Thank you Bobbi for a nice, short, detailed review I don’t think I can wait any longer to read this since you really seem to have loved it.

    1. I did love this gripping story of the soldiers who went in and what they came upon was not only horrific, but very dangerous, and the courage and bravery, let alone the human element involved will bring you to tears, great read, it would be well worth your time to read this book and share the experience of the contents. Thanks Donny for your comment, greatly appreciated.

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