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The Devil's Causeway : The True Story of America's First Prisoners of War in the Philippines, and the Heroic Expedition Sent to Their Rescue
by Matthew Westfall

Overview - As the United States prosecuted a bloody campaign to pacify its newly won Philippines territory at the turn of the nineteenth century, a secret mission of mercy went terribly wrong. The result was a prisoner-of-war crisis, the likes of which our nation had never encountered before.  Read more...

 
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More About The Devil's Causeway by Matthew Westfall
 
 
 
Overview
As the United States prosecuted a bloody campaign to pacify its newly won Philippines territory at the turn of the nineteenth century, a secret mission of mercy went terribly wrong. The result was a prisoner-of-war crisis, the likes of which our nation had never encountered before. The epic struggle for survival that followed was not only a test of the human will to live, but a crucible for heroes. And yet, what was touted as a heroic rescue operation extended a war by almost two years and cost the lives of thousands. In April 1899, Admiral George Dewey dispatched the USS "Yorktown" to liberate a detachment of Spanish soldiers under siege by Filipino rebels. To reconnoiter enemy defenses, one of the "Yorktown"'s armed cutters--manned by a crew of fifteen sailors--was sent toward shore. And then it happened. Defying orders, Lieutenant James C. Gillmore Jr. recklessly pushed upriver into heavy jungle--and headlong into an ambush that would kill four of his men. The survivors were dragged across mountains and through dense jungle from one pestilent prison to the next along what Gillmore called "a veritable Devil's Causeway."
Their captivity and the torturous expedition sent to recover them, recalled today as one of the greatest marches in US Army history, features a tightly hewn cast of characters--including a frail yet determined teenaged sailor and his hardened seafaring mates; battle-tested veterans of the Civil War and the Indian Wars; and a fiery revolutionary commander who gave orders to bury wounded Americans alive. A sweeping military epic drawing on international primary sources, "The Devil's Causeway" tells their extraordinary story in its entirety for the first time.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780762780297
  • ISBN-10: 0762780290
  • Publisher: Lyons Press
  • Publish Date: September 2012
  • Page Count: 417


Related Categories

Books > History > Military - Other
Books > History > Military - United States
Books > History > Asia - Southeast Asia

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-06-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

Westfall, a filmmaker with extensive experience in the Philippines, recreates in exacting detail the plight of American sailors captured by Filipino insurgents in April 1899. Westfall’s painstakingly researched book opens with the Navy men under the command of Lt. James C. Gillmore and how his incompetence led to their capture. Westfall then traces the slow and arduous march of the rescue expedition mounted by the U.S. Army. While the rescue was successfully executed in December, the army expedition, numbering over 200 men with their wounded and sick, still had to march 90 miles through dense jungle, mountains, and fast rivers without food, before reaching the coast where the Navy waited. Finally, Westfall discusses the fate of the survivors, the efforts to recover the bodies of the fallen, and the trials and eventual imprisonment for war crimes of the most brutal Filipino leaders. Westfall gives a thrilling and fast-paced adventure story that brilliantly illuminates an untold aspect of one of America’s first overseas wars, as well as the beginning of the complex relationship between America and the Philippines (Sept.)

 
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