May 13th, 2013, 07:35
Most of us are quite familiar with the Bataan Death March after the collapse of Corregidor in the Philippines. I wasn't aware of the US servicemen who decided to 'slip away' beforehand instead of joining many American and Filipino troops that walked to their doom. This is the story of Clay Connor Jr.,....a twenty-three year-old Army Air Force communications officer who had never even camped before,......becoming a guerrilla fighter of exceptional means. Never surrendering to the Japanese,....he led a small group of Americans, Filipinos, and Negritos (indigenous natives to the Philippines) in spying,...giving intelligence updates to the allies,...and creating general sabotage against the enemy.
Besides battling the overwhelming Japanese forces,....he had to endure malaria, heat, jungle rot, snakes, and disease giving mosquitoes. Most of all,...he had to overcome his own self-doubts and despair,....wondering if they'd ever get rescued. Conner would survive and fight for almost three long years. But,...if it's wasn't for the befriending by local villagers,....and most importantly,...the Negritos,...he wouldn't have made it. He found too one of the most vexing issues were the Huks,...a Filipino group of communist leanings that could never be totally trusted,
I think the author, Bob Welch,...did a pretty good job in tying Conner's personal war journal,...other writings and interviews,...into a well paced book on what it was like to be on the run from the Japanese. The enemy had put a BIG price on his head,....dead or alive. I give the book *** stars out of four.
.......Now,....a few other write-ups posted below by persons who read the book (from Amazon.com)........
Combat stories have always fascinated me because they invariably involve danger and excitement, but the story of Clay Conner Jr. goes far beyond simply being an exciting war story. Rather than suffer the fate of the majority of the American forces at Bataan who surrendered to the overwhelming Japanese forces, he chose to flee into the jungle. Author Bob Welch does an outstanding job telling the story of what happened over the next three years of Connor's life - of engaging in guerilla warfare while being relentlessly pursued by a brutal enemy, of suffering through disease and deprivation, of brave Filipino civilians risking their lives to help him, of his success uniting jungle pygmy tribes into an alliance against the Japanese, of courage and betrayal, and all of this with the added subtext of a mother's relentless quest to discover the fate of her only son. If you like stories of survival, determination, friendship, duty, hope, and the triumph of the human spirit, you need to read this book!