Conduct Under Fire

Conduct Under Fire

Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisonersof the Japanese, 1941-1945

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142002223
  • 608 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


The fierce, bloody battles of Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippines are legendary in the annals of World War II. Those who survived faced the horrors of life as prisoners of
the Japanese.

In Conduct Under Fire, John A. Glusman chronicles these events through the eyes of his father, Murray, and three fellow navy doctors captured on Corregidor in May 1942. Here are the dramatic stories of the fall of Bataan, the siege of “the Rock,” and the daily struggles to tend the sick, wounded, and dying during some of the heaviest bombardments of World War II. Here also is the desperate war doctors and corpsmen waged against disease and starvation amid an enemy that viewed surrender as a disgrace. To survive, the POWs functioned as a family. But the ties that bind couldn’t protect them from a ruthless counteroffensive waged by American submarines or from the B-29 raids that burned Japan’s major cities to the ground. Based on extensive interviews with American, British, Australian, and Japanese veterans, as well as diaries, letters, and war crimes testimony, this is a harrowing account of a brutal clash of cultures, of a race war that escalated into total war.

Like Flags of Our Fathers and Ghost Soldiers, Conduct Under Fire is a story of bravery on the battlefield and ingenuity behind barbed wire, one that reveals the long shadow the war cast on the lives of those who fought it.

Conduct Under Fire

Conduct Under Fire

John A. Glusman


“A thoughtful, humane meditation on war and family history, full of myth-bursting truths.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Glusman has written a compelling account of courage and sacrifice from the perspective of the doctors who sought to keep their fellow captives alive under conditions that amounted to a mass sentence of death. Over a third of American POWs held by the Japanese died in captivity. With grace and clarity, Glusman gives a keen sense of loss to that statistic, and a heroic dignity to those who survived—a major achievement indeed.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Original, moving, and astonishing.” —Kenzaburo Oe, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

“Epic… A marvelously humane and beautifully rendered tribute.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Table of Contents

Prologue   1

  1. The Prettiest Girl in the World   5
  2. The Pearl of the Orient   25
  3. Red Sunset   50
  4. Invisible Enemies   62
  5. Exodus   72
  6. Rendezvous   85
  7. Opening Salvos   94
  8. Never Surrender   117
  9. “Help is on the Way”   123
  10. “Wherever I Am, I Still Love You”   143
  11. “We Are Not Barbarians”   154
  12. “I Go to Meet the Japanese Commander”   165
  13. Limbo   198
  14. Horyo   214
  15. “The Last Thin Tie”   230
  16. The Good Doctor   253
  17. “The Japanese Will Pay”   282
  18. Bridge Over Hell   295
  19. Bad Timing and Good Luck   318
  20. “Action Taken: None”   340
  21. The Arisan Maru   354
  22. Fire from the Sky   368
  23. Total War   381
  24. Darkness Before Dawn   407
  25. Mission of Mercy   431
  26. Coming Home   477

Epilogue   483

Acknowledgements   483
Notes   487
Selected Bibliography  

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