BATAAN - A Survivor’s Story. by Lt. Gene Boyt, David L Burch, Foreword by Gregory J. W Urwin. 272 pages; 25 b&w illus., 3 line drawings, 2 maps.
Like many other young American men during the depression-era 1930s, Gene Boyt entered Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps. Later, after receiving an ROTC commission in the Army Engineers and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Missouri School of Mines, Boyt joined the Allied forces in the Pacific Theater.
While building runways and infrastructure in the Philippines in 1941, Boyt enjoyed the regal life of an American officer stationed in a tropical paradise--but not for long. When the United States surrendered the Philippines to Japan in April 1942, Boyt became a prisoner of war, suffering unthinkable deprivation and brutality at the hands of the ruthless Japanese guards.
One of the last accounts to come from a Bataan survivor, Boyt’s story details the infamous Bataan Death March and his subsequent forty-two months in Japanese internment camps. In this fast-paced narrative, Boyt’s voice conveys the quiet courage of the generation of men who fought and won history’s greatest armed conflict.
Gene Boyt achieved the rank of Captain by the time of his discharge from the military. After retiring from his work as an engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Mr. Boyt lived in Chickasha, Oklahoma, until his death in September 2003. David L. Burch, a human relations professional in Oklahoma City, formerly taught college courses in American history and government.
Gregory J. W. Urwin is Professor of History at Temple University and Associate Director of Temple’s Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy. He is the author of The United States Infantry: An Illustrated History, 1775-1918 and The United States Cavalry: An Illustrated History, 1776-1944.
“Toward the end of our meal, the [radio] announcer said, ‘We have an unconfirmed report that Clark Field has just been bombed.’ [We] were amused by this revelation because we were sitting right in the middle of Clark Field and nothing unusual was happening. . . . Dessert, a tasty pie, was served. I took two bites of my piece before the house blew up.”--from Bataan: A Survivor’s Story
“Instead of dwelling on enemy cruelty and indifference and the misery that permeated each day he spent in Japanese hands, Boyt concentrates on the people and things that helped him to live from one day to the next.”--Gregory J. W. Urwin, from the Foreword
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