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Of Rice and Men (Annotated): From Bataan to V-J Day, A Survivor’s Story

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At the fall of Bataan on April 9 1942, over sixty thousand American and Filipino troops were rounded up by the Japanese and forced to march 65 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula, to San Fernando, Pampanga, in Central Luzon. Anyone showing a slight weakness to walk was instantly bayoneted in the back. Many marchers committed suicide by leaping At the fall of Bataan on April 9 1942, over sixty thousand American and Filipino troops were rounded up by the Japanese and forced to march 65 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula, to San Fernando, Pampanga, in Central Luzon. Anyone showing a slight weakness to walk was instantly bayoneted in the back. Many marchers committed suicide by leaping from bridges. Others were shot for attempting to eat or drink anything. Estimates of the number of total deaths from the march range from 5,000 to 8,000. Thousands more later died from malnutrition and disease in the abject conditions of the Japanese POW camps. One of the fortunate survivors was Sergeant Bob Reynolds who penned his combat memoir Of Rice and Men in 1947. With a cool, philosophical perspective, he details the harrowing experience, from bitterly defending Bataan on starvation rations, through the many atrocities of the March, and finally his miraculous survival in Cabanatuan POW Camp and, later, in Manila's Bilibid Prison.  *Includes annotations.


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At the fall of Bataan on April 9 1942, over sixty thousand American and Filipino troops were rounded up by the Japanese and forced to march 65 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula, to San Fernando, Pampanga, in Central Luzon. Anyone showing a slight weakness to walk was instantly bayoneted in the back. Many marchers committed suicide by leaping At the fall of Bataan on April 9 1942, over sixty thousand American and Filipino troops were rounded up by the Japanese and forced to march 65 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula, to San Fernando, Pampanga, in Central Luzon. Anyone showing a slight weakness to walk was instantly bayoneted in the back. Many marchers committed suicide by leaping from bridges. Others were shot for attempting to eat or drink anything. Estimates of the number of total deaths from the march range from 5,000 to 8,000. Thousands more later died from malnutrition and disease in the abject conditions of the Japanese POW camps. One of the fortunate survivors was Sergeant Bob Reynolds who penned his combat memoir Of Rice and Men in 1947. With a cool, philosophical perspective, he details the harrowing experience, from bitterly defending Bataan on starvation rations, through the many atrocities of the March, and finally his miraculous survival in Cabanatuan POW Camp and, later, in Manila's Bilibid Prison.  *Includes annotations.

30 review for Of Rice and Men (Annotated): From Bataan to V-J Day, A Survivor’s Story

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susan Williams

    Very readable, well written Although a relatively short book, it felt detailed enough and complete at the happy ending. As prisoner of war survival stories go, this was one of the more positive, upbeat ones. The author did not wallow in the pain and atrocities, maintaining a matter of fact recitation of his experiences and observations. He was lucky in many ways not only with surviving the Bataan Death March, but also having some uniquely fortuitous work assignments and good relationships with ma Very readable, well written Although a relatively short book, it felt detailed enough and complete at the happy ending. As prisoner of war survival stories go, this was one of the more positive, upbeat ones. The author did not wallow in the pain and atrocities, maintaining a matter of fact recitation of his experiences and observations. He was lucky in many ways not only with surviving the Bataan Death March, but also having some uniquely fortuitous work assignments and good relationships with many of the Japanese guards and leaders. Not many had it this good in the Japanese prisoner system... not that starvation, filth, lice and inhumane conditions were a piece of cake...but he somehow managed to rise to the top in many situations and also received amazing support from civilians when he might have otherwise perished. I could not out the book down. It seemed well edited and did not bog down at any point. Very interesting and maturely written!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    7$MartyQ

    A touching story In light of the fact that Japan did not sign the document which referred to the humane treatment of prisoners of war, the Japanese felt that they could torture, maim, beat and even kill allied prisoners of war with impunity. In many cases the guards who inflicted such atrocities upon allied POW's went into hiding at the end of the war. Unfortunately many were never thought to justice. In addition to that, many of the officers who either condoned such conduct or turned a blind eye A touching story In light of the fact that Japan did not sign the document which referred to the humane treatment of prisoners of war, the Japanese felt that they could torture, maim, beat and even kill allied prisoners of war with impunity. In many cases the guards who inflicted such atrocities upon allied POW's went into hiding at the end of the war. Unfortunately many were never thought to justice. In addition to that, many of the officers who either condoned such conduct or turned a blind eye to it later had their ashes placed in the shrine for Japanese war heroes. When some Americans protested this their complaints were summarily dismissed with the comment of "these ashes are of our war heroes and they will remain in the shrine." My father who fought in the Pacific as well as I have never and WILL NEVER buy a Japanese product.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tod B. Souza

    Book was an alright read but I felt that the author left out most of the atrocities that were inflected on the captives. Even at one point describes the Japanese inferentry soldiers that became guards as kind.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Walla

    Interesting This is a documentary, written in the language of this time. It remains distant in describing the atrocities associated with the death march or the ensuing captivity. Overall, interesting and at times amazing to learn about the ability of the human will to live to survive horrific circumstances.

  5. 5 out of 5

    John C Cargill

    Excellent real One forgets what was endured for our way of life. Obviously history is not taught well anymore. As a child all my friends were ww2 vets. My dad served in New Guinea and the Philippians, my wife,a father survived his ship being sunk by a kamikaze off Okinawa about a week before the bombs.

  6. 4 out of 5

    A Steven Bouchard

    Stamina is truly fascinating! 5 stars because I can't do 100. This book should be required reading in junior and senior high schools. To truly understand stamina, bravery and the capabilities of the human mind, soul and body. A wake up call for all Americans to understand patriotism and love of America. Stamina is truly fascinating! 5 stars because I can't do 100. This book should be required reading in junior and senior high schools. To truly understand stamina, bravery and the capabilities of the human mind, soul and body. A wake up call for all Americans to understand patriotism and love of America.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Richard R Thomas

    How lucky we are Imagine you are made to live like an animal and still 'retain your humanity. Hard to conceive but well done in this account of an American. Worth the time it takes to feel their stories. How lucky we are Imagine you are made to live like an animal and still 'retain your humanity. Hard to conceive but well done in this account of an American. Worth the time it takes to feel their stories.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim Mccaffery

    A POW story from Bataan A quick but thorough story of this young man's war experiences and vivid account of his pow years. A different trajectory in the pow experiences as he was often moved around. Very nice read! A POW story from Bataan A quick but thorough story of this young man's war experiences and vivid account of his pow years. A different trajectory in the pow experiences as he was often moved around. Very nice read!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leonard J. Kusek

    Good insight on POWs held by Japs. Without a lot of the bitterness in other accounts.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Russell G Edwards

    The horrors of Bataan, imprisonment and enslavement Only the end of the war with the defeat of Japan could mean an happy ending for this story of victory.

  11. 5 out of 5

    patricia smith

    Excellent account of captivity in japan This was well written and interesting from beginning to end I would recommend reading it you will appreciate the usa

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Well-told memoir about surviving the horrid Bataan death March. Very touching and poignant. Parts of his story were tragic and horrific. Yet, a thread of hope was woven through these pages, and I laughed out loud a couple of times while reading how smart and brave our soldiers were in brutal captivity. Of Rice and Men carries a reminder that freedom is never free. I am so grateful for all our men and women who gave their lives and made tremendous sacrifices to ensure America's liberty. I hope we Well-told memoir about surviving the horrid Bataan death March. Very touching and poignant. Parts of his story were tragic and horrific. Yet, a thread of hope was woven through these pages, and I laughed out loud a couple of times while reading how smart and brave our soldiers were in brutal captivity. Of Rice and Men carries a reminder that freedom is never free. I am so grateful for all our men and women who gave their lives and made tremendous sacrifices to ensure America's liberty. I hope we, as a nation, can be truly thankful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    James Newkirk

    Survivor's story Wonderful account of one man's triumph over starvation, torture and inhumanity. He survived the Battan Death March, imprisonment in the Philippines, a 2 month voyage aboard the death ships and finally imprisonment in Japan. It is the story of a man's desire to survive and tell his brother's stories. Survivor's story Wonderful account of one man's triumph over starvation, torture and inhumanity. He survived the Battan Death March, imprisonment in the Philippines, a 2 month voyage aboard the death ships and finally imprisonment in Japan. It is the story of a man's desire to survive and tell his brother's stories.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charles M Rodgers

    Masterfully written book with lots of detail and very Personal, I felt like I was right there with him. Definitely two thumbs up. I highly recommend this book to people who love military history!!!!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donald M. Rhodes

    Of Rice And Men I really like this book. Very eye opening. To the point, easy to read. Interesting to note that even during war many of the Japanese people could still be civil to the men in the prison camps in their town.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vearl Gammill

    Great story. I am a Korea vet 50 51 The coldest winter on record while not a pow we were poorly clothed and fed l can relate to these men thankfully I rotated back to the states before second winter. Travis 3rd id

  17. 5 out of 5

    James Perry

    What a ghastly experience beautifully written. War was certainly hell for those captured by the Japanese. Their cruelty knew no limits. Every American should be aware of what these captors did and this book is beautifully written to describe it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Douglas R Andrews

    Canned good! I served in the Marines, I found this book to be deeply moving and it impressed me greatly. In the face of great trials and tribulations that surely would crush most men, the author conveyed a sense of hope and a bit of forgiveness.

  19. 5 out of 5

    sabrina briggs

    Interesting Interesting story. Hadn't read a lot of the Pacific Theater and this was worth reading. I also knew someone who survived this March, this book gives it honor. My friend never talked of his experience so this have me an idea. Thank you for your service. Interesting Interesting story. Hadn't read a lot of the Pacific Theater and this was worth reading. I also knew someone who survived this March, this book gives it honor. My friend never talked of his experience so this have me an idea. Thank you for your service.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne Santos

    GREAT I very much liked it and rated high also I really can say what to change it is great just as it is.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sean Archer

    Ok book, lacked a lot of detail.

  22. 5 out of 5

    William Prather

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ethel J. Zamer

  24. 5 out of 5

    uk

  25. 5 out of 5

    michele raison

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cleon Grove

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dan Wellington

  28. 5 out of 5

    allan Franklin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beth Madden

  30. 5 out of 5

    R Locke

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