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We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan
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We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  115 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and dinners under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs began raining down on American bases in Luzon, and this paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, th ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2011)
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An amazing story about a group of amazing women.

If you saw "Pearl Harbor" with Ben Afleck, I want you to think of the scene in the hospital with a very few nurses caring for all the casualties that day.

Now picture in your mind 12000 American soldiers on a forced march on the island of Bataan. They were already near death from starvation, wounds, dehydration and torture. The purpose of the march was to have less prisoners to guard. When they reached the prison camp, many were dead, and the rest w
Lenny Grossman
The title is a take on Shakespeare's famous St. Crispen's Day speech from Henry V in which Henry claims that those who fight in battle are joined like no other and shall forever be remembered:
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;"

But those who survive in battle must be brought back to health in order to live and be remembered. Their pain needs easing. They needed stringent care.

And for this they depended on a "band of angels"
This is the story of the American nurses serving in the Philippines during World War II, and how they survived the hazards of war and the jungle, capture by the Japanese, and then several years in internment camps. Norman does a great job of describing what happened to these women, both in the broader sense and on an individual level. I think it's really interesting how she says in the beginning of the book that she had a really hard time getting the women involved to speak about themselves, as ...more
Amazing inspirational story of the first women to serve in combat and taken as POWs during WW11 on the Philippine island of Bataan. These "Angel nurses" endured horrors unimaginable, yet never waivered in their commitment to their patients, their country, and each other. This book made me question how the human race could be so depraved, while at the same time, marveling at the strength and courage of the human spirit and the life-changing power of community. Read this book in one day; couldn't ...more
I've decided not to be so stingy giving stars. This was fascinating and I read it quickly. I learned more about nursing in combat and especially this amazing group of nurses and their experiences as POWs.

I did see similarities with civilian health care workers as well. The author asks, why do "those who have seen heavy combat mask their grim vitae with jokes and rhetorical slapstick? I think it is a way for them to introduce the idea of living with the absurd or of taking part in the unthinkable
This is an amazing book about a group of amazing women It is the story of the military nurses stationed in the Philippines at the beginning of WWII. As the war progressed, these women went from nursing under horrible conditions to being prisoners of war. In the words of the author, “A group of woman[sic] had gone off to paradise, had been swept up in war, had struggled to survive. As a group they had been my models, my exemplars – self-possessed women in a world dominated by men, professional w ...more
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway and I am happy to review it because I think it is a meaningful history that really illustrates the heroics of the Army and Navy nurses who served and suffered in Bataan and Corregidor. Although I had heard about the Bataan Death March I had really never understood that Army and Navy nurses were stuck there when the Japanese attacked and that they had been prisoners for three years. One of the blurbs on the back of the book, from The Dallas Morning New ...more
I received this book from the Goodreads First Reads Program.

This is the account of Navy nurses deployed to the Philippines during World War II. It seemed like an assignment in paradise, until December 8, 1941 when the Japanese began dropping bombs. The nurses served in a field hospital they set up in the Jungle of Bataan to care for the wounded soldiers. The nurses were sent to the tunnels of Corregidor when it became inevitable that the Army would be overrun. When Corregidor fell, the nurses we
Emily Crow
I was completely captivated by the story of several dozen Army and Navy nurses--called "The Angels of Bataan" by the press at the time--who were serving in the Philippines during World War II, retreating with the soldiers to the jungles of Bataan, and eventually captured by the Japanese and taken to an internment camp. Their courage and solidarity is inspiring, and Norman has a snappy writing style that will appeal even to those who find history boring.

When they signed up with the military, non
Excellent book. This is the first book from the library's book discussion program which focuses on "The Greatest Generation". My Dad was a boy when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I was too young to talk to my Pop-Pop about it. The family said he never talked about his time in the military. My only connection to the subject matter of this book is that my birthday is December 7th (a date that will live in infamy). This book is insightful, inspiring, sad and hard to put down. Letters and diaries of the ...more
This was a great choice for our group, depicting a group of Army nurses caught in the crossfire on Bataan and Corregidor during World War Two.They thought they were going to a tropical paradise, but December 7, 1941 changed all that. Although they had never been trained for battle, they landed in the middle of it, earning the respect of officers and enlisted men alike with their uncomplaining dedication to their patients. Nursing in the open air on Bataan and later in the Malinta tunnel on Corre ...more
I won this book through Goodreads First Reads. I was interested in this book because We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese was the town pick here for our "One Book One Community". The author also came and spoke at out local college. Helen Cassiani on of the nurses grew up here. This is a story that should be told. 5 Stars!

Just A
As a women veteran of the USN, I wish I could salute these sisters in service.
Melissa Fowler
Jun 17, 2014 Melissa Fowler rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Melissa by: Goodreads-giveaway
I read this book four times. It was incredibly moving, heart-breaking, hopeful. Such a stunning, compelling book. Being first hand accounts, there is so much realism that you feel like you are right there with everyone. My heart goes out to the American Women who were trapped on Bataan. Thank you Elizabeth Norman!
Karen Sofarin
Liked this book and found the first part about their time on Bataan and in the Philipines extremely compelling. The stories after their return to the US was quite a letdown after that, but I suspect also very similar to the experience of the nurses. Good read and would recommend.
Linda B.D.
What a great book. The characters were clearly defined, smooth easy writing, done with a lot of research of WWll. This tells about the war, but also goes in to their personal lives. It also continues on until their death. A touching story.
An amazing and inspiring story of courageous nurses! Coming from a family of nurses, I really appreciated the author's thorough research and obvious dedication to her subjects. Definitely worth reading! 4.5 stars
A really interesting account of a part of WWII I knew very little about. I am humbled by how much these women went through and how, even in the worst of circumstances, they put the care of their patients first.
Linda Lilja
What a remarkable story, based on primary sources in the form of interviews, letters and journals. I cried as I tried to tell my husband about these incredible women and what they had endured.
The story of the service of the first large group of US military nurses and their following capture and interment under the Japanese. Well told and worth reading.
Joan Leicht
This book really deserves more than five stars. It is remarkable what these Army and Navy nurses Went through. This book is very well written tribute to them
Loved this! What the Army/Navy nurses went through in the Pacific made me very grateful for my cushy hospital job. Every nurse should read this!
Jennifer Westall
An amazing tale of courage. I am awed by the trials the women faced and the incredible determination they possessed in caring for others.
I read this book some time ago and forgot to include it here...Well written.I liked it very much.
Loved It! Great women, great book!
Sandra Smothers
Dec 20, 2013 Sandra Smothers marked it as to-read
Enjoy it even read it twice..
Carlene Havel
A friend recommended this book, and I'm so glad she did. It's an amazing story of ordinary people caught up in the extraordinary circumstances of a World War. I enjoyed the author's thorough investigation of the nurses, because she told something about the women's past, how they coped with being imprisoned, and what they did later. I came away with nothing but admiration for this band of sisters, their bravery, and their determination to serve patients under every possible circumstance. Definite ...more
Rachel Robart
I love historical non-fiction that opens my eyes to events with which I was not familiar. This is written very precisely, and with plenty of background on each of the important players in the story. Loved it! Highly recommended.
Before reading this book, I knew virtually nothing about the American forces in the Philippines during WWII. It was very educational and inspiring for me to read the account of these brave women, and I'm grateful to the author for spending so much time preserving their experiences in print. I had trouble at times following the many individual stories of the nurses and wished for more detail about some of them. Their group identity, however, was what held them together.
Amazing real life story of the nurses of Bataan during WWII. Encourage all to read what these nurses and soldiers lived through. Thank you to all who have served our country and are still preserving our freedom!
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Elizabeth M. Norman, R.N., Ph.D., is a professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is the author of Women at War: The Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam, and co-author with Michael Norman of Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath, which made The New York Times list of top ten nonficti ...more
More about Elizabeth Norman...
Women at War Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath

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