RESCUE AT LOS BANOS by Bruce Henderson
All of us know about the Bataan Death March, but few know about the civilians who were interned for the duration of World War II at Los Banos Prisoner of War Camp in the Phillippines. Los Banos Camp, situated in a lush agricultural area of the Philippines, was home to thousands of civilians – men, women and children – from a number of countries, but mostly from the United States. When Sadaaki Konishi was made commandant in 1944, conditions in the camp became unendurable. Food rations were cut to starvation levels, cruelty and inhumane practices commenced and the prisoners were scheduled for annihilation. The 11th Airborne was assigned to rescue them in a desperate race against the end of the war and the wholesale killing of all POW’s by the Japanese.
Henderson has written an account of the round-up of the civilians and their experiences in the camps that focuses on several interned families and individuals, the soldiers charged with rescuing them and the cruelty of Konishi. Intimate family narratives carry along the story of courage, daring and fortitude. The fact filled book reads like a well-paced, but harrowing, novel. WWII buffs will appreciate the many notes and appendices, while ordinary readers will be caught up in the daring, and ultimately triumphant, raid.
5 of 5 stars