Conduct Under Fire

Conduct Under Fire : Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945

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The fierce, bloody battles of Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippines are legendary in the annals of World War II. Those who survived faced the horrors of life as prisoners of the Japanese.

In Conduct Under Fire, John A. Glusman chronicles these events through the eyes of his father, Murray, and three fellow navy doctors captured on Corregidor in May 1942. Here are the dramatic stories of the fall of Bataan, the siege of “the Rock,” and the daily struggles to tend the sick, wounded, and dying during some of the heaviest bombardments of World War II. Here also is the desperate war doctors and corpsmen waged against disease and starvation amid an enemy that viewed surrender as a disgrace. To survive, the POWs functioned as a family. But the ties that bind couldn’t protect them from a ruthless counteroffensive waged by American submarines or from the B-29 raids that burned Japan’s major cities to the ground. Based on extensive interviews with American, British, Australian, and Japanese veterans, as well as diaries, letters, and war crimes testimony, this is a harrowing account of a brutal clash of cultures, of a race war that escalated into total war.

Like Flags of Our Fathers and Ghost Soldiers, Conduct Under Fire is a story of bravery on the battlefield and ingenuity behind barbed wire, one that reveals the long shadow the war cast on the lives of those who fought it.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 588 pages
  • 132.1 x 213.4 x 38.1mm | 567g
  • Penguin Books
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0142002224
  • 9780142002223
  • 2,091,423

Table of contents

Prologue   1The Prettiest Girl in the World   5

The Pearl of the Orient   25

Red Sunset   50

Invisible Enemies   62

Exodus   72

Rendezvous   85

Opening Salvos   94

Never Surrender   117

"Help is on the Way"   123

"Wherever I Am, I Still Love You"   143

"We Are Not Barbarians"   154

"I Go to Meet the Japanese Commander"   165

Limbo   198

Horyo   214

"The Last Thin Tie"   230

The Good Doctor   253

"The Japanese Will Pay"   282

Bridge Over Hell   295

Bad Timing and Good Luck   318

"Action Taken: None"   340

The Arisan Maru   354

Fire from the Sky   368

Total War   381

Darkness Before Dawn   407

Mission of Mercy   431

Coming Home   477

Epilogue   483

Acknowledgements   483
Notes   487
Selected Bibliography  
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About John A Glusman

John A. Glusman is editor in chief of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He has been a contributing editor to the Paris Review and has written for numerous publications, including The Economist, The Washington Post Book World, The Christian Science Monitor, and Rolling Stone.
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Review quote

“Page-turning.”—Wall Street Journal

"A thoughtful, humane meditation on war and family history, full of myth-bursting truths." —Kirkus Reviews"Glusman has written a compelling account of courage and sacrifice from the perspective of the doctors who sought to keep their fellow captives alive under conditions that amounted to a mass sentence of death. Over a third of American POWs held by the Japanese died in captivity. With grace and clarity, Glusman gives a keen sense of loss to that statistic, and a heroic dignity to those who survived—a major achievement indeed." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Original, moving, and astonishing." —Kenzaburo Oe, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

"Epic... A marvelously humane and beautifully rendered tribute." —San Francisco Chronicle
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Rating details

89 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 31% (28)
4 42% (37)
3 24% (21)
2 2% (2)
1 1% (1)
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