About three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of reading a book that was just hitting the bookstores. As a matter of fact, I had to wait a couple of days before my bookstore got its order in.
I was so impressed by the book that I did a “book review” for The Moderate Voice and a couple of other web sites and publications—I am not a professional “book reviewer,” this was only my second or third review.
In the book, “Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath,” the authors (Michael and Elizabeth Norman) compellingly describe what became one of the cruelest episodes in the annals of “modern” warfare: the infamous Bataan Death March and the starvation, imprisonment, torture and killings of tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers by their Japanese captors.
The book is about true American heroes, and it was appropriate and gratifying to see it this morning—on the Fourth of July weekend—on the New York Times “Best Sellers” list, a mere three weeks after its release.
It entered the list as number 16.
I have no doubt that this spell-binding, emotive, harrowing and beautifully written account of suffering and heroism will continue to climb on this prestigious list.
I am proud to have reviewed it.
Sketch, above, is of Ben Steele (the book’s protagonist), self-portrait in Bilibid prison hospital, Manila, 1943.
Copyright 2009 Ben Steele, with permission of the artist.