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Download Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath Audiobook

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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (849 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Norman, Elizabeth M. Norman Narrator: Michael Prichard Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2009 ISBN: 9781400181674
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For the first four months of 1942, U.S., Filipino, and Japanese soldiers fought what was America's first major land battle of World War II, the battle for the tiny Philippine peninsula of Bataan. It ended with the surrender of 76,000 Filipinos and Americans, the single largest defeat in American military history. The defeat, though, was only the beginning, as Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman make dramatically clear in this powerfully original book. From then until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the prisoners of war suffered an ordeal of unparalleled cruelty and savagery: forty-one months of captivity, starvation rations, dehydration, hard labor, deadly disease, and torture-far from the machinations of General Douglas MacArthur. The Normans bring to the story remarkable feats of reportage and literary empathy. Their protagonist, Ben Steele, is a figure out of Hemingway: a young cowboy turned sketch artist from Montana who joined the army to see the world. Juxtaposed against Steele's story and the sobering tale of the Death March and its aftermath is the story of a number of Japanese soldiers. The result is an altogether new and original World War II book: it exposes the myths of military heroism as shallow and inadequate; and it makes clear, with great literary and human power, that war causes suffering for people on all sides. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • The narrative even humanizes the anguished Japanese commanders condemned by a victor's justice that held them accountable for offenses of out-of-control subordinates.... Indispensable. Booklist Starred Review
  • “A lean, moving account…many books have described the atrocities. Prisoners were starved, beaten, and killed. This is different…Powerful.”

    USA Today

  • “Stirring and humane…Tears in the Darkness is authoritative history. Ten years in the making, it is based on hundreds of interviews with American, Filipino, and Japanese combatants. But it is also a narrative achievement. The book seamlessly blends a wide-angle view with the stories of many individual participants. And at this book’s beating emotional heart is the tale of just one American soldier, a young cowboy and aspiring artist out of Montana named Ben Steele.”

    New York Times

  • “Deeply researched and finely documented, Tears in the Darkness is written brilliantly in lucid prose…A model of excellence in historical bookmaking…I couldn’t put it down.”

    Washington Times

  • “An extremely detailed and thoroughly chilling treatment that, given the passage of time and thinning of ranks, could serve as popular history’s final say on the subject.”

    Associated Press

  • “Balanced, beautifully written…Many books have examined World War II in the Philippines, but none of them pack the punch of or are as beautifully written as this compelling volume…A superb book about the unspeakable tragedy of war and the triumph of the human spirit.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Unlike historians who have spotlighted the titans—MacArthur and Wainwright, Yamashita and Homma—who matched strategies in the Philippines in 1942, the Normans focus on the ordinary soldiers who bore the brunt of the wartime savagery. …[including] bitter experiences of very human and often guilt-wracked Japanese…An indispensable addition to every World War II collection.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Narrator Michael Prichard has a way of sounding authentic with foreign languages simply by sounding so sure of himself. He does this with the abundant Japanese names and places herein without trying to imitate a native speaker or create characters. Prichard’s serious presence fades into the background as the authors’ tales of brutality, disease, starvation, and death take the spotlight. Winner of a 2010 Audie Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “A gripping narrative…The authors are unsparing but sympathetic in telling the Japanese side of the story; indeed, they are much harder on the complacent, arrogant American commander Douglas MacArthur than on his Japanese counterpart. There’s sorrow but not much pity in this story; as all human aspiration shrivels to a primal obsession with food and water, flashes of compassion and artistic remembrance only occasionally light the gloom.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The authors conducted 400 interviews with survivors and have put together an exhaustive narrative. They focus chiefly on Ben Steele, who survived the Philippine battles, the march, and forty-one months in the slave labor camps. As much as a military history, this is the biography of a Montana cowboy transformed by great events.”

    Library Journal

  • “Assiduous account of the Japanese conquest of the Philippines in World War II and…‘the single largest defeat in American military history’…Drawing on the memories of participants on both sides, the Normans provide a careful history of a ghastly episode that still reverberates. Highly recommended for students of the Pacific War.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the 2010 Audie Award for Best History Narration
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate | 2/19/2014

    " I have always been interested in WWII. This was a particularly interesting story as I am also interested in the Japan front of the war given my experience in Japan with the people and language. The Batan death march is one of the most horrific stories of the war. This not only goes into the stories of the American soldiers, but also of the Japanese which is a really interesting perspective. I would highly recommend reading this book. It's not easy to hear about all the great suffering that these men went through, but it's well written and it's important to not forget these men who suffered so much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barb | 2/10/2014

    " This is one of the best books I have ever read. Pretty depressing in parts, especially when it dawns on me yet again that this really took place and this is the real deal. Opened my eyes a lot to what happened during the war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ginny | 2/9/2014

    " I listened to this on audio book and, also, have the print version. I referred to certain sections while listening to the book. Since I have lived in the Philippines and I have Filipino relatives, this book really pulled at my heart and caused great disgust that people can treat people in such a horrible manner. Naturally, I have read other accounts of the Bataan Death March. This was very interesting because it covered from Dec. 7, 1941 through the end of the war and the trials. I'm sure that some portions are filled in, but this book appears to be very much a novel based on fact. I recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret Everett | 1/28/2014

    " I had never know how cruel the Japanese were in World War II. This is not fiction and I think anyone would be glad they read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark Anderson | 1/27/2014

    " Tears in the Darkness is another World War II POW story like Unbroken. However, this story goes into greater detail about the atrocities that were inflicted onto the prisoners during the Bataan death march. This book also goes into more detail about the reasons why the Japanese treated their prisoners so badly. It is hard to say that this book was an enjoyable read, but I do recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike Baxter | 1/19/2014

    " This book was difficult to put down. It stirred emotions of pain, suffering, and hate along with forgiveness and hope. Very well written, as this pulls you in and makes it easy to imagine you are there in each of the scenes. Even if you aren't into military history, I would recommend this book. There are some dark and somewhat disturbing accounts that can be hard to stomach, but it isn't fiction. I thought it was excellent in bringing accounts not just from an American perspective, but from Philippine and Japanese as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony | 1/16/2014

    " Stories of war can be told from the viewpoint of the generals and politicians who make them; or by analysis of strategy and topography; or, as in Tears in the Darkness, in the words and actions of the men and women who do the fighting and the dying. This book is gripping and moving. The Death March and what follows is told in horrifying detail. We meet Ben Steele: cowboy, artist, survivor. Steele becomes as memorable as Major Richard Winters in Ambrose's Band of Brothers. The authors also do a commendable job of showing the state of the Japanese Army at the time of the American surrender. But, I'm sorry, there is accountability for such monstrosity. The authors' attempt at the end to suggest Japanese commanders were railroaded to verdict was not convincing. You can't not know what happens to 76,000 prisoners. I just finished this book, thought it great till the last 50 pages, and I'm actually angry at the authors as I type this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne | 1/13/2014

    " This is a hard one to get through only because of the stories of torture and death...very disturbing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 12/12/2013

    " Norman does a fantastic job of researching every aspect of this amazing and haunting story. He is able to give the readers perspectives from both sides of the war in this detailed history of the Bataan Death March. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Seena | 12/4/2013

    " Great book by the brother of the author of "We Band of Angels." Tells of the Bataan Death march and the great courage of those involved. Sad but beautiful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 7/11/2013

    " A very good book. Tragic and captivating.... I enjoyed every page. Another point of interest is that I discovered a view of Douglas MacArthur that was not positive... funny how we don't get that in the history books. These men truly suffered! A must read for anyone interested in history! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 2/13/2013

    " Another great WWII book. I loved how Norman told the broad story of the march and also the specific experiences of Ben Steele. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel DeLappe | 9/26/2012

    " Great book. Well written and full of details. A very sad chapter in the book of humanity. They did a good job in telling the Japanese reasons for how they reacted with the POWS. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcie | 6/28/2012

    " A greatly detailedl description of the Bataan death march and surrounding events from the point of view of the ordinary soldier. Too detailed for my taste, as it seemed to go on and on. But gave a perspective on WWII veteran attitudes that made little sense to me before. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allen Elggren | 6/2/2012

    " Written for the generation that does not remember the America that has sacrificed. War is hell, but hell truly is when a country is not prepared to wage war in its defense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Wagner | 4/17/2012

    " This is about as close to perfect for a historical non fiction book. Multiple view points are covered. The overall events are covered thoroughly while still keeping a personal touch of the books central figure. if It's an emotion you can feel this book will probably hit it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen | 5/6/2011

    " Very enlightning-helped me understand why the Japanese did what they did. Also made me really appreciate my life! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sher | 4/5/2011

    " Fantastic story. It created turmoil in my heart, though, but have since worked it all out in the light of current reality. To think that one human being can treat another with such brutality is so out of my ken that I still cannot understand it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 3/31/2011

    " This book is amazing in the way it shows the Bataan Death March. The struggle of the Americans and their fright to stay alive. It hard to believe how cruel humans can be towards each other. Great book
    can't beleive how fast I read it. Hard to put down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sam | 3/7/2011

    " Mostly the story of Ben Steele and a few Japanese characters. Really brings home the harsh realities of war. Somehow felt lacking on an the emotional connection with the characters. Unbroken was much better. Ten times better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debra | 1/17/2011

    " Haunting book frightning what humans can do to one another. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 11/25/2010

    " An absolutely astounding war-time story. A must read for anyone interested in the major events of WWII. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcie | 11/3/2010

    " A greatly detailedl description of the Bataan death march and surrounding events from the point of view of the ordinary soldier. Too detailed for my taste, as it seemed to go on and on. But gave a perspective on WWII veteran attitudes that made little sense to me before. "

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About the Author
Author Michael Norman

Michael Norman, a former reporter for the New York Times, teaches narrative journalism at New York University. Elizabeth M. Norman, the author of two books about war, teaches at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.

About the Narrator

Michael Prichard is a Los Angeles-based actor who has played several thousand characters during his career, over one hundred of them in theater and film. He is primarily heard as an audiobook narrator, having recorded well over five hundred full-length books. His numerous awards and accolades include an Audie Award for Tears in the Darkness by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman and six AudioFile Earphones Awards. He was named a Top Ten Golden Voice by SmartMoney magazine. He holds an MFA in theater from the University of Southern California.