Inside the Bataan Death March

Defeat, Travail and Memory


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About the Book

For two weeks during the spring of 1942, the Bataan Death March—one of the most widely condemned atrocities of World War II—unfolded. The prevailing interpretation of this event is simple: American prisoners of war suffered cruel treatment at the hands of their Japanese captors while Filipinos, sympathetic to the Americans, looked on.
Most survivors of the march wrote about their experiences decades after the war and a number of factors distorted their accounts. The crucial aspect of memory is central to this study—how it is constructed, by whom and for what purpose. This book questions the prevailing interpretation, reconsiders the actions of all three groups in their cultural contexts and suggests a far greater complexity. Among the conclusions is that violence on the march was largely the result of a clash of cultures—undisciplined, individualistic Americans encountered Japanese who valued order and form, while Filipinos were active, even ambitious, participants in the drama.

About the Author(s)

Kevin C. Murphy chairs the Department of Humanities at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and two previous books. He lives in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Kevin C. Murphy
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 328
Bibliographic Info: 25 photos and illustrations, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9681-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1854-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface  1
Introduction  5
1. Virtue and Vice  19
2. An Army’s Ethos  32
3. An Army Apart  64
4. Chaos Meets Kata  95
5. The Lens of Memory  126
6. Remembering and Forgetting  151
7. The Wages of Defeat  190
8. Facing Filipinos  215
9. Kinds of Kindness  239
Conclusion  267
Chapter Notes  279
Bibliography  303
Index  317

Book Reviews & Awards

“may be the most comprehensive study of the Bataan Death March in decades…highly recommend”—Military Review.