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We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese
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We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  1,128 ratings  ·  182 reviews
Hailed by "The New York Times Book Review" as a "grippingly told" story of "power and relevance," here is the true, untold account of the first American women to prove their mettle under combat conditions. Later, during three years of brutal captivity at the hands of the Japanese, they also demonstrated their ability to survive. Filled with the thoughts and impressions of ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Atria Books (first published 1999)
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Call The Midwife by Jennifer WorthWe Band of Angels by Elizabeth M. NormanAnd If I Perish by Evelyn M. MonahanLife Support by Suzanne GordonTrauma Junkie by Janice Hudson
Real Nurses
2nd out of 132 books — 32 voters
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. ShirerBand of Brothers by Stephen E. AmbroseThe Longest Day by Cornelius RyanEscape From Davao by John D. Lukacs
World War Two Non Fiction
27th out of 275 books — 208 voters

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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
They were mostly daughters of farmers and blue collar workers. Not having much better options, the USA having just gone through the Great Depression, they decided to join the US military as nurses.

Assigned to the Philippines, they were having the time of their lives with very little work to do and lots of handsome military men (Americans, of course) who invite them to dinners, dancing and parties. The country was a tropical paradise then, especially to them, its then colonial masters.

I found this an interesting look at an untold story of World War II. This was a fairly short, quick read that tells the story of the roughly 100 American nurses stranded in the Philippines with outbreak of war in December 1941. The author makes good use of diaries and interviews to tell their story. In some ways she attributed the fact the she is a nurse herself, her ability to connect with the Nurses who where still surviving at the time this book was researched.

Ms. Normon not only looks at wh
We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese gets 4 Stars and I am so thankful someone was able to capture these stories of women at war before it was too late. A group of Army and Navy nurses expect fun, romance, excitement in the exotic paradise of 1940’s Philippines. What they will get is war and prison camp when the Japanese attack and conquer the PI. These independent, adventurous women find themselves on the front line, caring for thousands of to ...more
For so many reasons, finding “We Band of Angels” on our book club book list was a real gem for me. My father and I had an often repeated ritual which would take place anytime my mother would ask me to find my dad to tell him dinner was almost ready, or that he needed to start getting ready for some outing. He would be in the basement rummaging through his drawer of Navy photographs from his almost 8 years in the Pacific (1938-1945). He’d often show me an oversized photograph of a military parade ...more
Sharon Huether
We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan By the Japanese..By Elizabeth M. Norman... True accounts from the Nurses that served in the Phillipines when the Japanese began their take over of Bataan. The nurses were evacuated to Corridore, leaving the sick and wounded in Batan was the hardest thing they ever did. At Corrigador there was a long underground tunnel that housed the hospital. They thought they were safe. Once again the nurses had to be evacuated. They left ...more
This book was recommended to me by a fellow nurse. It is about the first "military" nurses who were in the Philippines at the time that the Japanese invaded during WWII. The nurses were among those taken to internment camps on the main island, along with whoever was not Filipino and happened to not be military and unfortunate enough to be around when the bombing started.

This book is a documentary so kind of a slow read, but I liked it a lot. Not only do I have a connection with the nurses (kind
My Great Aunt, Captain Edith Shacklette "Shack" was one of the Angels. I can not be unbiased about this book as it holds a dear place in my heart and on my shelf. I have read everything I can get my hands on about this subject. Ms. Norman's book is the best of all of them I have read. Her research, interviews with then still living 'Angels', and her writing style, make this a absorbing and page turning treatise on an important part of World War II history.
I really enjoyed reading We band of Angels. Often the fear in reading true stories about less than pleasant events is that the book will focus on the negative. Dr. Norman did an excellent job of discussing the difficulties these women (and men) faced during the fall of Manilla, Bataan, and Corregidor and their subsequent internment, without dwelling too much on the horrible things that befell them. I think the attitude in her writing came from the women she interviewed for the story. These remar ...more
I can rate this book while still reading because this will be the second time I've read it. If you're a nurse or have served in the military this is a must read. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines during WWII ninety-nine American army and navy nurses without any combat training found themselves suddenly behind enemy lines. They spent months working under appalling conditions in hidden field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan, moving frequently to stay ahead of Japanese. Eventually an evac ...more
I picked up this book once when I was about 15 or so, because I had delusions of grandeur about writing an epic WWII novel, nay, trilogy. Hehe. I never did write it, but I filled up a whole journal with notes and ideas and random scenes I felt like writing, some of which I still see some gold glitter in buried in the dross. This book certainly did have a thousand story ideas in it. In fact, certain parts seemed precisely like something from a movie, down to a part where a soldier handed one of t ...more
One of the best non-fiction books I've ever read. It is heartwarming and at the same time heartbreaking. Told in a style that puts the reader directly into the lives of these valiant nurses - it takes you on a journey through the horrors of World War Two in the Pacific - as if you were there. The author draws you into the Malinta Tunnel underground hospital on Corregidor and describes the almost superhuman endurance of the military nurses working there to save their patients - and she does it wi ...more
With so much pressure on historians to be dry and quiet, it is thrilling to read a really great, action-packed story full of real heroes (not heroines in the classic sense who faint and wring their tiny hands at the first sign of chaos) and honest to God danger. These women are representative of our gender today as much as they were when sunning themselves on the beaches of the Philippines, or quieting the screams of men who were wounded and dying, while slowly decaying themselves. Because honor ...more
Linda Appelbaum
I have read several WWII books and this one is special because it is about women nurses who served in Bataan and Correigidor and then were interred in a POW camp run by the Japanese. I have often marveled at how men in war and in POW camps survived. The Japanese camps were particularly horrible and towards the end many were so sick, surviving on 700 calories or less a day while being forced to work. This book tells the story of the nurses and what they had to endure in a time when few women were ...more
On the same day that Pearl Harbor was bombed the Japanese navy also launched attacks on American naval and army bases on the Philippine Islands. Tens of thousands of soldiers were trapped on the peninsula of Baatan and the island of Corregidor. For months they obeyed Macarthur’s orders to “never surrender”. But by May of 1942, tropical diseases and lack of food had weakened the troops to such an extent that they were no longer able to resist enemy advances.

Knowing a little about the Bataan Death
We Band of Angels is the story of women nurses caught up in the drama and danger of war. On December 7, 1941 Japan also struck American bases in the Philippines. That raid led to the first major land battle for America in World War II. Caught up in this were ninety-nine Army and Navy nurses--the first unit of American women ever sent into the middle of a battle. The "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor" became the only group of American women captured and imprisoned by an enemy. And the story of the ...more
Fascinating account of the Army and Navy nurses who lived through hell in the Philippines in WWII. Many of the young women signed up for adventure in the tropics, not really believing they'd end up in a war. They endured shelling, heat, dysentery, malaria, snakes, bugs, and hunger while treating horribly wounded men, despite the fact that they had not been trained in combat medicine. They showed remarkable courage, stamina, and dedication.Then they were taken as POWs and lived under horrific con ...more
Some 90 Army and Navy nurses start off at a hospital in Manila, then flee to Bataan and Corrigodor when the Japs invade. On Bataan, they set up hospitals in the jungle with no buildings to house their patients. On Corrigodor they set up in a tunnel in the mountains. When the Japanese overrun Bataan, the nurses are forced to leave their patients behind and also move to Corrigodor, joining the others there. This always bothered those nurses. Eventually they all had to surrender to the enemy and sp ...more
I had to read about the female nurses described in"We Band Of Angels" whose dedication and drive prompted them to join the military and seek adventure during the war in the Pacific. The book marshaled an immense amount of information in an informative, yet entertaining manner. By using the nurses' journal entries, theauthor highlighted the experiences of several women who worked as nurses on Bataan and were then held asprisoners of war. The horrors of war were especially clear to me when a bombi ...more
Read this as a "Have to Read" in Nursing School. However, it was very good actually. Id like to read it again now that I am actually a real nurse now!
Joyce Shaughnessy
It is a wonderful book highlighting the wonderful courage of the American nurses trapped on the Philippines and treated cruely by the Japanese.
So much has been written about the (men) POWS during WWII in the Pacific, but not much about the women. I always love reading about true heroes!
Regina Spiker
Once I found out that one of the women captured during World War II by the Japanese in the Philippines was from my own small town of Lonaconing, it was a given that I would read this book. Ninety-nine Navy and Army nurses who were never before exposed to the brutal conditions of war did not realize what was in their future when they signed up for the almost exotic life of hospital nursing, tennis matches, and cocktails. How these women survived is an amazing feat of heroics. The book contains ex ...more
Nancy Pitre
Did not intend 5 star review but can not change it now. I would give this book 3 stars. The story although difficult to read about starvation & the brutal injuries, was fascinating. This is one of the reasons that I love book club as I never would have picked a book about war to read. I especially like that it was written by a nurse which gives it authenticity . It really must have been difficult for these women to return home with the guilt and sadness of leaving their patients behind and h ...more
The nurses survived internment because they held together as a group and found purpose in their lives. They are nurses.
Wonderful account of courage. I read it because my Dad was in the Philippines and learned so much.
Gail Strickland
An important story of nurses serving during WWII in the Pacific theatre. Sadly, some of the narrative reads like an Army dispatch and the author, although clearly admiring the nurses, seems to have little fellow feeling for them in the present day. Like the female ferry pilots during the same time period, the nurses got little recognition after the war-they were expected to go back and become "good little women" keeping the home fires burning for the manly men who now ruled the action.

I’m thankful that my Goodreads friend, Ingrid, recommended “We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese.” If I could have read this powerful and enthralling book in one swoop without need of sleep or tending household duties I would have. Truly, it’s that gripping. These brave female nurses from all walks of life and corners of our nation should be held in highest honor and regard, equivalent to any uniformed service member who has experienced theater ...more
Everyone knows about the men in the military in the Phillipines. The death march, and the starvation, the living conditions that were put upon them by the Japanese takeover in the Phillipines. But, what about the unsung heroes, the nurses's, who were called the Angel's of Battan.

These nurse's came to the Phillipines for a new adventure. What you see in the movies during the 40's. The lovely tropics, of warm breezes. That was all true until December 7, 1941. That all change with the bombing of P
Liz V.
In 1941, the Phillippines fell to the Japanese. During the invasion, the subsequent retreat to Bataan and Corregidor, and the imprisonment as prisoners of war, the women comprising the Army and Navy nursing corps and associated medical personnel adhered to the highest standards of military and nursing conduct. While hailed as heroes immediately after their return, their celebrity status evaporated once their publicity value to the war effort ceased with the end of hostilities. Subsequently, they ...more
Elizabeth M. Norman writes a book about the army and navy nurses that were caught by the Japanese in WW II on the Philippines. She writes with a prose that is not glamorous, and is very straightforward. But the stories that come out of this unaffected prose carry such emotion and courage, that it fits well, and in fact, lets the nurses, with outtakes from diaries and interviews, tell the story themselves.

We Band of Angels is truly a story of courage and dedication from these nurses, the first to
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