For two weeks during the spring of 1942, the horror of the Bataan Death March - one of the most widely condemned atrocities of World War II - unfolded. The prevailing interpretation of this event is simple: American prisoners of war suffered cruel treatment at the hands of their Japanese captors while Filipinos, sympathetic to the Americans, looked on.
This book questions that interpretation and reconsiders the actions of all three groups in their cultural contexts. A greater complexity is revealed: the violent nature of the March was largely the result of culture clash - undisciplined, individualistic Americans encountered Japanese who valued order and form. Filipinos are shown to have been active, even ambitious participants in the drama. Attention is paid to the crucial aspect of memory, how it is constructed, by whom and for what purpose. Most survivors wrote their accounts of the March decades after the war and a number of factors distorted their stories.
Kevin C. Murphy chairs the Department of Humanities at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, USA. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and two previous books. He lives in Landsdowne, Pennsylvania, USA.