Military History

Blogging about the Battlefield since 2005

Review of Tears in the Darkness

Posted by William F. Sauerwein on December 21, 2009

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and its Aftermath by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux of New York, copyright in 2009.

Review by William F. Sauerwein, 1SG, US Army (Retired). B.S., Historical Studies from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (SIUE) in 2004.

When I received this book I eagerly read it for I possess a thirst for knowledge regarding this period of American history. The events of this time provide harsh lessons regarding the need for military readiness during perceived “peacetime.” It further reveals the consequences of purposely ignoring the threat posed by “rogue nations” and deceiving oneself regarding their capabilities. When I learned that Michael Norman served in Viet Nam as a US Marine I anticipated an in depth analysis of American military operations. However, as I read the book I grew disappointed with the emphasis on the Japanese combat experience. While the book jacket states that the book “exposes the myths of war” I believe it revises history by ignoring relevant information. Therefore, I provide more than a standard review of this book and include my in depth analysis of this crucial period of history.

Furthermore, I believe the posting of my article on December 7, 2009, the 68th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack most appropriate. The military disaster at Pearl Harbor and subsequent defeat in the Philippines proved that our nation must remain prepared for war. Unfortunately it seems that the American public, and the leadership responsible for protecting them, always ignore these lessons. Throughout our history we repeat these mistakes, often resulting in disaster, requiring an enormous cost in blood and treasure for achieving victory. While most libraries contain volumes explaining in detail the lessons of Pearl Harbor and Bataan few people read them today. Worse still, most academics do not teach these lessons; instead they revise them for advancing a certain political agenda.

Read more . . .

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