Cover image for Surviving Bataan and beyond : Colonel Irvin Alexander's odyssey as a Japanese POW
Surviving Bataan and beyond : Colonel Irvin Alexander's odyssey as a Japanese POW
Alexander, Irvin, 1896-1963.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Mechanicsburg, PA : Stackpole Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
ix, 340 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D805.P6 A43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Few American prisoners of war during World War II suffered more than the group that was captured on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. Recounting the author's experience as a captive of the Japanese, this is the story of one man's struggle to survive a brutal, often unfathomable captivity.

Author Notes

Major Dominic J. Caraccilo is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Two POW memoirs reporting radically different experiences two generations apart have a common theme: being at the mercy of brutal or careless captors is at best survivable. Alexander, who spent three and a half years in Japanese hands, provides one of the few field-grade POW perspectives on the Pacific War, adding considerably to knowledge of what was survival behavior and what was not; sheer willpower seems to have been crucial for him. Posthumously published and owing much to skilled editing, Alexander's testimony, though still not ideally coherent, contains many vivid scenes of combat and captivity. Although understandably scathing about most of the Japanese, Alexander recognizes that some were more civilized and professional than others. The Acrees tell a double story: of the colonel's captivity in Iraq, where, as the first high-ranking coalition prisoner, he received exceptionally brutal treatment; and of his wife's organizing the POW/MIA Alliance, which conducted a letter-writing campaign that drew public and government attention and kept it focused on the POWs. Their dual narrative portrays neither the Iraqis nor the media as worthy of much credit. The Acrees themselves are another story. Together, they offer valuable perspectives on the Marine Corps "family" --hers, that of a modern, career woman who came late to being a marine officer's wife, and his, that of the marine officer rightly "proud to bear the title." --Roland Green

Library Journal Review

This is Col. Irvin Alexander's gripping memoir of the fall of the Philippines, the Bataan Death March, and his three and a half years as a prisoner of war during World War II. Originally written in 1949 but not published until now, Alexander's remarkable and chilling odyssey is told with clarity and stark realism. As a U.S. infantry officer assigned to the Philippine Army, Alexander was wounded in combat and decorated for heroism in the losing battle for Bataan. But the inevitable surrender to the Japanese was just the start of the nightmare. The brutality of the Death March was exceeded only by the horrors that awaited American POWs in fetid prison camps and ships. Starvation, disease, madness, and torture were the POWs' greatest enemies, and death was the only escape. This is an astonishing story of human suffering, courage, ingenuity, and hope. Its insight and imagery make it a superb example of one man's victory over despair. Strongly recommended for all libraries and historical collections.‘Col. William D. Bushnell, USMC (ret.), Brunswick, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Ken Hechler
Forewordp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Colonel Irvin Alexander's Prefacep. 17
Part 1 A Humbling Experiencep. 19
Chapter 1 Reflecting Backp. 21
Chapter 2 Being Capturedp. 23
Chapter 3 The Journey Beginsp. 27
Chapter 4 The "Hike" Continuesp. 32
Part 2 Last Days of Freedomp. 45
Chapter 5 Building Up a Wall of Fearp. 47
Chapter 6 Heroism and Convalescencep. 72
Chapter 7 Overtures to the End of Battlep. 95
Chapter 8 Overcoming Temptation in the Eye of a Stormp. 121
Chapter 9 The First Prison Campp. 125
Chapter 10 Moving to Cabanatuanp. 136
Chapter 11 As the Years Come and Gop. 155
Part 3 The Final Yearp. 187
Chapter 12 The Trek Beyond Bataanp. 189
Chapter 13 Freedom's at Handp. 229
Notesp. 241
Bibliographyp. 314
Indexp. 324