Conduct Under Fire

Conduct Under Fire

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

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142002223
  • 624 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

Written by: John A. Glusman


“Page-turning.”Wall Street Journal

“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