Review of Race Against Death: The Greatest POW Rescue of World War II

Race Against Death: The Greatest POW Rescue of World War IIRace Against Death: The Greatest POW Rescue of World War II
by Deborah Hopkinson
Intermediate, Middle School    Focus/Scholastic    320 pp.
3/23    9781338746167    $19.99

Hopkinson (We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance, rev. 3/21) delivers another highly engaging nonfiction account of World War II. After giving some background information on the colonization of the Philippines, the movement for independence, and the continued U.S. military presence leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the author turns to Japan’s attack on key military bases in the Philippines, leaving the island nation vulnerable to invasion. After a valiant effort for several months, despite severe shortages of food, water, and supplies, the combined American and Philippine forces surrendered. Next came the infamous Bataan Death March, which saw fatigued and emaciated soldiers forced to march dozens of miles to Camp O’Donnell, the first of several prison camps the Allied soldiers endured. The fatality rate for these camps was as high as forty percent, and those who survived (eventually to be liberated by General MacArthur) were forever changed. Hopkinson has amassed an impressive array of primary-source accounts—ranging from those by nurses and doctors to soldiers and guerrilla fighters to journalists and activists—and woven them together into a cohesive whole. The narrative is complemented by numerous sidebars that often take up whole pages and include digressions into various related topics; black-and-white photographs; and maps. An extensive bibliography of print and digital resources, source notes, and an index are appended.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.