In late December 1941, General Douglas MacArthur, caught off guard by the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, is forced to retreat to Corregidor, a jagged, rocky island fortress at the mouth of Manila Bay. Months later, under orders from the president, the general is whisked away in the dark of night, leaving his troops to their fate. It is a bitter pill for a fiercely proud warrior who has always protected his men. He famously declares I shall return, but the humiliation of Corregidor haunts him, even earning him the derisive nickname Dugout Doug. Drawn from firsthand accounts and personal interviews with the battle's surviving veterans, acclaimed war correspondent and bestselling author Kevin Maurer delves into this extraordinary tale, uncovering astonishing accounts of bravery and heroism during an epic, yet largely forgotten, clash of the Pacific War. Here is an intimate story of uncommon soldiers showing uncommon courage and winning, through blood and sacrifice, the redemption of General MacArthur.
... excellent and detailed account of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment’s daring airborne assault and conquest of Corregidor ... To piece together the details of the intense fighting that followed, Mr. Maurer leans on the memoirs of three veterans of the 503rd ... Thanks to Mr. Maurer, the stories of McCarter, Calhoun, Bradford, Lopez and countless others from the 503rd will forever be remembered in this well-told and riveting history.
Journalist Maurer (coauthor, No Easy Day) delivers a straightforward account of the battle for the Philippines island of Corregidor during WWII ... Drawing on letters and war journals, Maurer follows Jones and other officers, as well as enlisted men, throughout the difficult and dangerous campaign ... Maurer includes several intriguing scenes from the Japanese perspective, and dramatically describes many individual acts of American heroism, but the sorties and missions begin to blur together, and the links to the larger war effort are somewhat underdeveloped. This tightly focused history is best suited to WWII completists.
Much of the narrative is a series of gripping, somewhat scattershot accounts of small-unit firefights, ambushes, suicidal attacks, heroic feats, and tragic deaths. The sole map of the entire island is little help in following the action, so readers should sit back and enjoy the fireworks. Although the mission was a combined airborne and amphibious assault, Maurer relies heavily on unpublished memoirs by three paratroopers, so the seaborne landing is only mentioned in passing; readers searching for a more balanced account will need to look elsewhere. Having worked hard and long gathering material, Maurer crafts a narrative that reads less like serious history and more like a novel, with invented dialogue and melodrama. Still, history buffs can be assured that he gets his facts right. Entertaining popular military history, mostly for fans of the genre.