Being present during the liberation of the Philippines . . .

. . . continuing from September 26, 2021

Being present during the liberation of the Philippines . . .

Three more fascinating World War II books for Christmas and the New Year from McFarland, allowing readers to relive the ferocious fighting to free Mindanao and Manila

Reviewed by Don DeNevi

“Come on along and help us fight the Japanese in the Philippines!”, sang 100,000 air force boys in late 1944 as they marched down Collins Avenue in Miami Beach toward troopships bound for the blue seas of the Pacific. “Nothing will stop the Army Air Corps (except women!) . . . Nothing’ll stop the Army Air Corps . . .”

Indeed, come along, buffs of American battle literature, and eyewitness from the perspectives of civilians who suffered horrific brutality the creation of guerrilla movements to defeat their Japanese occupation. Join in and fight alongside Filipino city folks who joined U.S. army units in fighting neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street, block by block, tenement to tenement house, all while witnessing the stunning loss of lives, especially those of the tenacious enemy. Accompanied by hundreds of long forgotten photos, the reader, thanks to meticulous historical research, is presented with rare, uncanny opportunities for as much actual presence as the participants themselves 76 years ago.

 “Wendell Fertig and His Guerrilla Forces In the Philippines - - Fighting the Japanese   
  Occupation, 1942 – 1945” by Kent Holmes. McFarland; 244 pp, $39.95.

Author Kent Holmes, a retired Central Intelligence Agency officer and a member of CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, presents Pacific War enthusiasts with one of the most dramatically absorbing biographical sketches yet written of heroic American guerrilla founder and leader, Colonel Wendell Fertig, the commander of the guerrillas on Mindanao. His is the story of organizing between 25,000 to 40,000 men, mostly former officers and troops from the Army of the Philippines. Readers are present to the problems of jungle fighting; the decisions of the Japanese High Command when ordering additional troops in all districts of Mindanao to prepare for the Allied invasion certain to come; Fertig’s continued communications throughout the war with MacArthur and his staff in Australia; and when the Colonel increased the logistical support for the guerrillas by submarine from Australia. “Wendell Fertig and His Guerrilla Forces In the Philippines” is certain to be a much appreciated Christmas gift for readers of dangerous behind-the lines missions.

 “The Liberation of Manila - - 28 Days Of Carnage, February – March, 1945” by John A. Del 
 Gallego. McFarland; 282pp, $39.95.

This incredible photo history chronicles the 1945 recapture of Manila primarily from the personal experiences of the civilian population which suffered unbelievable tortures and cruelty by the Japanese, followed by the destruction of their city and its heavy loss of life during the American assault. More than 175 photographs document the intensive, agonizing Individual stories with most an integral part of the narrative that include citizens caught in the crossfire between defiant Japanese defenders and resolute American troops side by side with ordinary city dwellers. Photos of Filipino facial expressions prove their determination to seize the capital city from the enemy while struggling to minimize the deaths of their own family members and neighbors.

 “Escape From Bataan - - Memoir of A U.S. Navy Ensign In the Philippines, October, 1941 to 
 May, 1942” by Ross E. Hofmann. McFarland; 228pp, $29.95.

This remarkable, heartwarming memoir is of how Ensign Hofmann in October, 1941, arrived at Cavite Naval Base, then, eight weeks late, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor ushering in World War II, fled join a makeshift unit of Army Air Corps ground personnel, U.S. Marines, U.S. sailors and ground battalions to fight newly arrived Japanese forces. With the fall of Bataan at hand, he headed for Cebo to run supplies through the blockade of Bataan and Corregidor. But, by now, the Japanese were after him. “Escape From Bataan” offers an insightful look at how frail our strength was days after Pearl Harbor and how nothing could reinforce or save our boys on Bataan. Hoffman was one of the rare few who managed to escape, primarily because he was already at sea when the final encirclement of the Peninsula occurred. Often sad, yes, but in his case warm and affirming.

From Cebo, the chase and continuing escapes accelerate, although the young man works feverishly to repair seaplanes at a tiny base he personally established, especially on Mindanao, with villagers, Moro Muslims, and Christianized tribesmen. But again the Japanese were at his heels and he had to fight and flee. In vivid detail, we are side by side with this gentle ensign. His is one of the better escape stories of the Pacific War. Ensign Hofmann’s joyous marriage back in the states concludes this enthralling chapter of his four year fight in the Pacific War

As mentioned last week, McFarland offers a pleasantly fascinating supply of riveting war reads for Christmas gifts certain to surprise recipients with joy. See the titles for onesself: Or, simply call 800-250-2187 to be added to the company’s list of monthly new titles.

Next week, this reviewer will recommend additional Best World War II book-Buys for Christmas and the New Year, that column dealing with behind the German lines espionage and sabotage activities by the famed American OSS and British SOE agents.

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