Academic journal article Military Review

BATAAN: A Survivor's Story

Academic journal article Military Review

BATAAN: A Survivor's Story

Article excerpt

BATAAN: A Survivor's Story, Lieutenant Gene Boyt with David L. Burch, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 2005, 237 pages, $24.95.

First-person accounts such as this are gems in a genre often filled with works that are well-researched, but that lack the emotional depth of a personal memoir. Bataan: A Survivor's Story is simply one of the best first-person accounts of the Death March that I have read. Gene Boyt, a survivor who endured the march and three ensuing years of captivity, tells his story in the fireside-chat style that marks the very best of published memoirs.

An engineer lieutenant assigned to the Philippines before the onset of war, Boyt was not a particularly remarkable man. He was a son of the Great Depression, an Oklahoma boy who worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps and earned a college degree through sheer willpower and determination. He was proud to serve his country and yearned for the adventure of an exotic assignment far from the shores of America. His retelling of the days before the war is not overly exciting, but just the kind of story you'd hear on a Friday night at the American Legion or the local VFW post. …

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