Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese” as Want to Read:
We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  1,410 ratings  ·  212 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about We Band of Angels, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about We Band of Angels

The Midwife by Jennifer WorthWe Band of Angels by Elizabeth M. NormanAnd If I Perish by Evelyn M. MonahanLife Support by Suzanne GordonA Nurse's Story by Tilda Shalof
Real Nurses
2nd out of 134 books — 39 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 RyanWith the Old Breed by Eugene B. Sledge
World War Two Non Fiction
29th out of 292 books — 238 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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.

Apparently,
...more
happy
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
...more
Donna
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.
Mike
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
MJ
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
Mandy
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
...more
Barbara
The nurses survived internment because they held together as a group and found purpose in their lives. They are nurses.
Stacy Sullivan
The true story was very well written with amazing description. This books comes highly recommended.
kelley
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
Donna
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
Brittany
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
Chelsea
This was a great read!
Elizabeth Norman tells a story lost (for the most part) to history. She follows the journey of Army and Navy nurses who were taken prisoner, along with soldiers and civilians, on Bataan by the Japanese.
The Pacific theater is often overlooked, and the women's perspective (and heroism) is nearly always ignored. The nurses kept their spirits, dignity and love of country all throughout their horrific ordeal and their story is amazing. More than keeping their own dignity, thro
...more
Diane
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
Jaclyn
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
Hope
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
...more
Sue
Norman brings to the reader a part of WWII history that definitely hasn't had much, if any, publicity. The narrative of American Army and Navy nurses caught in the Philippines at the start of the war. As Bataan and Corregidor fell, we know about the horrific Bataan death march but what about the nurses? Caught in the terrible fighting, they spent long hours with little supplies, nursing the wounded in the worst possible conditions. When captured, they were interned for the rest of the war, almos ...more
Sarah Anne Carter
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, nurses joined the military to serve their country and seek adventure. The most adventurous volunteered for overseas tours, including the Philippines. The nurses who ended up on the island were rewarded with light work and a tropical paradise to explore on their time off. They golfed, dined with offices, walked the beaches and enjoyed the local culture.
Then, the Japanese bombed the island and they were on the frontlines of the war.
This book caught my eye at a l
...more
Mechel
This book is heart-wrenching in what these women and prisoners had to endure. When the U.S. forces broke down the gate to their internment camp and liberated the prisoners, I cried for joy. There were many unsung heros of World War II and the Greatest Generation. The Nurses were among those heroes.
Nicole
Great story about the Army and Navy nurses who were trapped on Bataan when the Japanese invaded. They witnessed and experienced the internment camps in which they were placed and shared tragic loss from 1942 until their liberation in 1945. These women are heroes and their story in finally being told.
Mark Darby
I read this book when I was trying to write a nurse's week presentation. It was a great find. The story about how the work of nursing saved the nurses from so much death, gave them purpose, is something that resonates with me. A great read! Good use facts and personal story.
Beverly
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
Rebecca
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
Barb
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
Dana
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
Lori
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.
Michelle
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II
  • Our Mothers' War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II
  • Sisterhood of Spies
  • Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
  • A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII.
  • Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944--The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War
  • Wartime Britain 1939-1945
  • A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II
  • Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls
  • The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice
  • Brave Men
  • One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa
  • No Ordinary Joes: The Extraordinary True Story of Four Submariners in War and Love and Life
  • The Women Who Wrote the War
  • The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Family's War Time Courage
  • The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust
  • Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of Housewife, 49
  • Soldier from the War Returning: The Greatest Generation's Troubled Homecoming from World War II
Women at War: The Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath Human Rights in Crisis: The International System for Protecting Rights During States of Emergency

Share This Book