From a brave American veteran comes an eyewitness account of a gruesome chapter in World War II history. Captured when America surrendered the Philippines’ Bataan Peninsula, James Bollich experienced first-hand the march that cost more than 8,000 American and Filipino lives. Now, he shares the unforgettable experience of his three and a half years of Japanese imprisonment.
This journal relates his personal experience, first focusing on the sixty-five-mile march that deprived prisoners of food, water, and rest. Prisoners received harsh punishments for any infraction, one of the most brutal of these being the policy of beheading them for taking a sip of water. Rather than force him to give up, these things made Bollich fight for life even more. Witnessing his comrades falling beside him and watching his own body waste away to ninety pounds, he never yielded his will to survive.
After completing the march, he remained a prisoner of war, first at an old Philippine army base, then in another camp at Mukden, Manchuria. He relates his imprisonment in detail, from starvation and torture to digging their own comrades graves in the hot sun, without hats or water. Through it all, he remained courageous and hopeful that he would one day make it back home. His story reminds both past and present generations of the horror and brutality of the Pacific war, all the while providing an inspiring testament to the will of the human spirit.