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Some Survived: An Eyewitness Account of the Bataan Death March and the Men Who Lived through It

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Manny Lawton was a twenty-three-year-old Army captain on April 8, 1942, when orders came to surrender to the Japanese forces invading the Philippine Islands. The next day, he and his fellow American and Filipino prisoners set out on the infamous Bataan Death March--a forced six-day, sixty-mile trek under a broiling tropical sun during which approximately eleven thousand me Manny Lawton was a twenty-three-year-old Army captain on April 8, 1942, when orders came to surrender to the Japanese forces invading the Philippine Islands. The next day, he and his fellow American and Filipino prisoners set out on the infamous Bataan Death March--a forced six-day, sixty-mile trek under a broiling tropical sun during which approximately eleven thousand men died or were bayoneted, clubbed, or shot to death by the Japanese. Yet terrible as the Death March was, for Manny Lawton and his comrades it was only the beginning. When the war ended in August 1945, it is estimated that some 57 percent of the American troops who had surrendered on Bataan had perished. But this is not a chronicle of despair. It is, instead, the story of how men can suffer even the most desperate conditions and, in their will to retain their humanity, triumph over appalling adversity. An epic of quiet heroism, Some Survived is a harrowing, poignant, and inspiring tale that lifts the heart.


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Manny Lawton was a twenty-three-year-old Army captain on April 8, 1942, when orders came to surrender to the Japanese forces invading the Philippine Islands. The next day, he and his fellow American and Filipino prisoners set out on the infamous Bataan Death March--a forced six-day, sixty-mile trek under a broiling tropical sun during which approximately eleven thousand me Manny Lawton was a twenty-three-year-old Army captain on April 8, 1942, when orders came to surrender to the Japanese forces invading the Philippine Islands. The next day, he and his fellow American and Filipino prisoners set out on the infamous Bataan Death March--a forced six-day, sixty-mile trek under a broiling tropical sun during which approximately eleven thousand men died or were bayoneted, clubbed, or shot to death by the Japanese. Yet terrible as the Death March was, for Manny Lawton and his comrades it was only the beginning. When the war ended in August 1945, it is estimated that some 57 percent of the American troops who had surrendered on Bataan had perished. But this is not a chronicle of despair. It is, instead, the story of how men can suffer even the most desperate conditions and, in their will to retain their humanity, triumph over appalling adversity. An epic of quiet heroism, Some Survived is a harrowing, poignant, and inspiring tale that lifts the heart.

30 review for Some Survived: An Eyewitness Account of the Bataan Death March and the Men Who Lived through It

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    This book held me in thrall of the bravery and determination of American soldiers under the very worst of conditions and proves that the will to live is the strongest of all senses. Written by a survivor of the Bataan Death March who then became a slave laborer in Japan and Korea until the end of the war, this eyewitness account of the horrors is not easy to read. The inhumanity of what the author and his compatriots suffered and lived through is almost beyond belief........many died, many went This book held me in thrall of the bravery and determination of American soldiers under the very worst of conditions and proves that the will to live is the strongest of all senses. Written by a survivor of the Bataan Death March who then became a slave laborer in Japan and Korea until the end of the war, this eyewitness account of the horrors is not easy to read. The inhumanity of what the author and his compatriots suffered and lived through is almost beyond belief........many died, many went insane but many held on to the hope that they would be freed one day. With no communications to the outside world, they were unaware of what was happening militarily but never gave up believing that the Allies would win. The author relates stories of many of the men....some who lived and some who died.....so this isn't exactly a biography of one man but of many. It is not for the faint of heart as much of the information is extremely graphic though not egregious. I would recommend this book to the WWII buff.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Clara

    My grandfather survived the death march and I found it fascinating to read about. Unbelievable that this torture really happened.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

    I cried more than once while reading this book - for those who lived through this truly horrific experience, for those who endured the atrocities for as long as possible and died during their captivity, for the families and friends who had no idea what was happening to their loved ones who were POW's, and I cried because it truly humbles me and awes me as to the strength of the human mind and spirit and what can be endured. It makes me feel like a sissy as I go through my own trials; it inspires I cried more than once while reading this book - for those who lived through this truly horrific experience, for those who endured the atrocities for as long as possible and died during their captivity, for the families and friends who had no idea what was happening to their loved ones who were POW's, and I cried because it truly humbles me and awes me as to the strength of the human mind and spirit and what can be endured. It makes me feel like a sissy as I go through my own trials; it inspires me to try harder to cheerfully endure. The great majority of the men who survived prison camps had a strong faith in God - they never stopped believing, and never stopped encouraging and supporting their fellowmen. As an appendix, there are copies of the paperwork regarding the trials of the Japanese war criminals, which I found very interesting. Manny Lawton did a remarkable job of remembering names and giving credit to all those he knew and came in contact with. A moving account. A favorite passage from the book (and I'm sorry if it is a tiny spoiler): "That night [sometime between Jan. and Mar. 1945] Captain Henry D. Leitner, my closest friend, passed away. His death was more than another sadness for me. It shocked and stunned and left me feeling alone and abandoned. I had become so accustomed to seeing men die - by bullet, bomb, by disease, starvation and exposure, thousands of them in every cruel way - that I thought I was hardened against sentiment, emotion and tears. But now I buried my face in my blanket and wept. Something went out of me that day with Henry's death; something of the poetic beauty of thought and feeling, of kindness and consideration and understanding which comes with true friendship. But he left me with memories of occasional laughter and of helping each other through tough times, of sharing what was scarce and of looking ahead to the future with hope. Most important, his death broke away the defensive shell which I had built around my mind and heart to steel me against the hurt of tragedy. In the midst of my sorrow I felt solace in the rediscovered ability to shed tears and to mourn the loss of a friend. Whatever else might happen, I was surviving as a human being."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    I would recommend this book. But if your faint of heart avoid it. It is a very sad and disturbing book. This book was written very well, I felt great sadness while reading it. The pain and suffering that the POW's went through was unimaginable. For years we have heard about the cruelty of the Nazis on their prisoners in the concentration camps. From reading this I have found that the POW's in the Philippines by the Japanese received the same cruelty. I find it disgusting what mankind can do to ma I would recommend this book. But if your faint of heart avoid it. It is a very sad and disturbing book. This book was written very well, I felt great sadness while reading it. The pain and suffering that the POW's went through was unimaginable. For years we have heard about the cruelty of the Nazis on their prisoners in the concentration camps. From reading this I have found that the POW's in the Philippines by the Japanese received the same cruelty. I find it disgusting what mankind can do to mankind.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liz Sieloff simpson

    3.75 stars. Another story written by a man who went through 3 1/2 years of hell. I can't believe and/or fathom how these men survived. 3.75 stars. Another story written by a man who went through 3 1/2 years of hell. I can't believe and/or fathom how these men survived.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Fugate

    This eyewitness account is very disturbing to say the least. Graphic descriptions of starvation, abuse - both physical and mental, brutality, and humiliation. A book where the stench of death is almost on every page. Sometimes heroes are not found on the battlefield. These men fought back the only way they could - by surviving and assisting others to survive as well. Not a pleasant read, but I highly recommend it to any and all who may have "thought" they knew about the Bataan Death March and sub This eyewitness account is very disturbing to say the least. Graphic descriptions of starvation, abuse - both physical and mental, brutality, and humiliation. A book where the stench of death is almost on every page. Sometimes heroes are not found on the battlefield. These men fought back the only way they could - by surviving and assisting others to survive as well. Not a pleasant read, but I highly recommend it to any and all who may have "thought" they knew about the Bataan Death March and subsequent treatment. A Real Eye-opener of a read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    Embodies the strength of the human spirit Emotional and gut wrenching account of one man’s remembrance of his time at war. A must read for anyone interested in the war.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brooks

    As a Clemson grad this is a must read. Can’t fathom the hell these men went through. The Death March was only the beginning of their torture. A great read for the WWII history buff.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Gage

    When I read the part about my grandfather Warrant Officer Martin "Gus" Binder, as told by author Manny Lawton and Sergeant Philip Brodsky; I felt my grandfather roll over in his grave. First, if Brodsky had a broken hand, it wouldn't have been from hitting another prisoner for stealing his rice. The prisoners ate the rice the split second they got it. Brodsky made my grandfather seem like a blithering coward, and made himself seem like he was never in fear. First, the author should at least do e When I read the part about my grandfather Warrant Officer Martin "Gus" Binder, as told by author Manny Lawton and Sergeant Philip Brodsky; I felt my grandfather roll over in his grave. First, if Brodsky had a broken hand, it wouldn't have been from hitting another prisoner for stealing his rice. The prisoners ate the rice the split second they got it. Brodsky made my grandfather seem like a blithering coward, and made himself seem like he was never in fear. First, the author should at least do enough research to see that my grandfather's name is not Charles Bender! He survived 41 months as a Japanese POW, the Death March of Bataan after being captured from the USS Pigeon and many months in Cabanatuan Camps, only to be on the Arisan Maru and survive with another 7 or 8 men out of 1800. My grandfather never spoke a bad word about the Japanese even though he had a right to hate them. He had a distinguished Naval career of 20 years, and never had anything but great things to say about his fellow captives. He enjoyed life and was thankful for it until his death in 1985. Shame on this portrayal.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Kaufmann

    Good,solid read, but not superb. It is incredible what humans are capable of doing to others, and what we are capable of persevering. We should all read some accounts of what happened during this time so we don't forget. This is a good one. That said, it doesn't capture the brutality and terror with quite the same vividness and urgency as Laura Hildenbrand's Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. And while the basic story is really good, I felt like their were pa Good,solid read, but not superb. It is incredible what humans are capable of doing to others, and what we are capable of persevering. We should all read some accounts of what happened during this time so we don't forget. This is a good one. That said, it doesn't capture the brutality and terror with quite the same vividness and urgency as Laura Hildenbrand's Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. And while the basic story is really good, I felt like their were parts that were extraneous .

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Arn

    This is a very good book telling one man's story on his experience in World War II's Bataan Death March in the Philippines. It goes into extreme detail the horrors that mankind can stoop to do to other men. It also shows the strength that some men have to continue to strive to live through the worst of situations. Several thousand men were captured and after three years of extreme torture and imprisonment only a few hundred survived. The only real negative thing about this book is that there is This is a very good book telling one man's story on his experience in World War II's Bataan Death March in the Philippines. It goes into extreme detail the horrors that mankind can stoop to do to other men. It also shows the strength that some men have to continue to strive to live through the worst of situations. Several thousand men were captured and after three years of extreme torture and imprisonment only a few hundred survived. The only real negative thing about this book is that there is some bad language written in a few spots.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dayle

    One of my high school teachers went through the Bataan "Death March" and was in a Japanese prisoner of war camp and we often asked him about his experiences. He was honored on the television show, "This is Your Life" and I was curious to know if he was mentioned in this book. The experience of this author and others that he relates is beyond horrific. He tells of the beatings and deprivations with studied, quiet heroism and we see how the survivors retain their humanity through it all. One of my high school teachers went through the Bataan "Death March" and was in a Japanese prisoner of war camp and we often asked him about his experiences. He was honored on the television show, "This is Your Life" and I was curious to know if he was mentioned in this book. The experience of this author and others that he relates is beyond horrific. He tells of the beatings and deprivations with studied, quiet heroism and we see how the survivors retain their humanity through it all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Candy

    It is really hard to believe how inhumanely American soldiers were treated by the Japanese! Well written and hard to put down while at the same time you really don't want to know any more... We have no idea how much we owe our military! I would highly recommend this book to anyone, history buff or not. It is really hard to believe how inhumanely American soldiers were treated by the Japanese! Well written and hard to put down while at the same time you really don't want to know any more... We have no idea how much we owe our military! I would highly recommend this book to anyone, history buff or not.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    Incredibly well-written and engaging; this story is impossible to put down. At once horrifying and inspiring-it is an historical and emotional account of the POWs who lived through the Death March as well as the atrocities that followed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hope

    This is not a book for the faint of heart. It's a story of human depravity, barbarous cruelty, and desperate measures to stay alive. But because of its excellent writing, riveting stories and astonishing acts of kindness, Some Survived is one of my favorite WWII books. This is not a book for the faint of heart. It's a story of human depravity, barbarous cruelty, and desperate measures to stay alive. But because of its excellent writing, riveting stories and astonishing acts of kindness, Some Survived is one of my favorite WWII books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    The horrors and hardships these men endured is difficult to comprehend, even after reading accounts like this. But it leaves little question that fighting that war was necessary.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne Hendricks

    An amazing first person narrative, by Manny Lawton, that brought the horrors of the Bataan Death March alive - and that was only the beginning... FOUR STARS.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karynparry

    Great book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Yet another wonderful personal account of the Death March and the struggles that followed. It's amazing how much one person can go through. Yet another wonderful personal account of the Death March and the struggles that followed. It's amazing how much one person can go through.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Great book with a very detailed experience of what Manny Lawton went through during the Death March, 3 Hell Ships and his time in O'Donnell and Cabantuan, among other POW camps. Great book with a very detailed experience of what Manny Lawton went through during the Death March, 3 Hell Ships and his time in O'Donnell and Cabantuan, among other POW camps.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vikingberserker

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hollis

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  24. 5 out of 5

    skip jobe

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Patterson

  26. 5 out of 5

    D Thuet

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stormy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jill Braun

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline Beers

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