Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Escape From Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War” as Want to Read:
Escape From Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Escape From Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War

by
4.21  ·  Rating details ·  835 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
On April 4, 1943, ten American prisoners of war and two Filipino convicts executed a daring escape
from one of Japan’s most notorious prison camps. The prisoners were survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March and the Fall of Corregidor, and the prison from which they escaped was surrounded by an impenetrable swamp and reputedly escape-proof. Theirs was the only successf
...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Simon Schuster (first published April 24th 2010)
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 Escape From Davao, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Escape From Davao

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rob Maynard
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been off Goodreads for a couple of months. Being on a payroll and balancing a family, project work, and a new smart phone haven't left much time for pontificating here. But I have kept reading, and I'll try to catch up with recommendation of John D. Lukacs' first book, Escape From Daveo is astounding to me as a 30 year reader of WWII history in that it's a story I've never heard. 12 American enlisted men and officers, with help from Phillipino guerillas and resistance members, escaped from ...more
Linda
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am usually not a fan of military stories BUT having lived in the Philippines and visiting Corrigedor and other WWII battle sites, I was determined to try and read this account. At one point, I was so horrified and upset by the descriptions of what went on in the POW camps, that I couldn't sleep and was determined to not finish the book. However, I prevailed and couldn't put the book down as I read of their planning and escape and then the about the politics of the American government to keep t ...more
Brenton
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, well-researched history. The book is three things, a history of the atrocities surrounding the Bataan death march in WWII, a terrific POW escape story, and an interesting discussion of why the US government was so reticent to release the Bataan and POW stories coming out of the Pacific theater. If you liked Hampton Sides's "Ghost Soldiers," you'll enjoy this book.
Hamish Davidson
This is an incredible story, and you will be inspired by the will and resourcefulness of all of the escapees. The physical and mental strain these guys must have experienced is unimaginable. I enjoy the stories about how they managed to sneak around and snatch what the needed, and how the hid their supplies. I've read a few prison and POW escape stories, but this one is particularly exciting because the terrain is so alien and challenging. I celebrated all of their successes along the way. There ...more
Holly
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a true story of heroes -- real heroes. I cannot imagine going through the trials that these brave men suffered.

Many of the details of the horrific battles in the South Pacific were eye-openers to me -- especially the treatment these men were given by FDR and General MacArthur.

If you choose to read this book, it will make you very sad at times, and -- if you are like me -- you will not leave unaffected. I just have to say: I partly agree with Brokaw. The generation that fought World War
...more
Antun Karlovac
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a terrific war story; engaging and well-paced. The storytelling was almost as fluid as a novel. However this wasn't fiction; the horrors the book described were real, and real people suffered through them.

In addition, the book raises some serious moral issues about the government's reluctance to allow the escapees to tell their stories to the public, until it was "convenient". Recently, we seem to see government behavior during WWII through rose-tinted glasses, and this book helps disp
...more
Kate
Dad said this was real good but parts of it were very hard to read because the stuff they went through was so awful. He had been to most of the places mentioned in the book - the Philippines, Singapore - when he was in the Navy during Vietnam.
Art Sanders
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on vacation this year and what these men went through was no vacation. It's not light reading by any stretch of the imagination, but the story moves very quickly. If you like suspense novels with historical foundations, it's the book for you.
Phillip
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle says a lot about this book - forgotten and daring. It is an epic true story of the brutal reality endured by the survivors of Japan's overthrow of U.S. forces on the Bataan Peninsula and the only successful escape by americans from a Japanese prisoner of war camp in the Philippines. Lukacs succeeds in honoring the real life heroes, most of whom perished at the hands of their inhumane captors, and those very few who risked everything to escape to freedom. There are literally hundreds ...more
Steve
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely fabulous. It is like a "team" version of Unbroken. Whereas in Unbroken our hero survives till the end of the war alone - in this book a team of men plot and execute their escape from a Japanese POW camp over time. The book covers: the lead up to capture including the death march ,the inner workings of the POW camp - the relations with the guards ,fellow prisoners, help from the Philippine resistance ,savage environment of the jungle swamp, reaction from the USA once thei ...more
Mary Mcqueen
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A retelling of the story of a part of the Second World War in the Philippine Islands including the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, the Bataan Death March and the frustrations of men who escaped from a prison camp set in the middle of 18 miles of swamp. I am so moved by the frustrations of the men who, having gotten out, were not allowed to tell their stories or answer the questions of the concerned families of their comrades. Can't wait to see what happens next.

I finished this book not long after
...more
Jack Lafitte
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Escape From Davao is an exceptionally well-researched and beautifully written account of the only mass escape of United States prisoners of war in the Pacific Theatre of WW2. If you like military history and/or adventure, as well as true tales of endurance, faith and resolve, this is the book for you. The subject matter is at times extremely gruesome, so be forewarned. But Lukacs writes so brilliantly, I found myself mesmerized at times by certain passages or phrases. There have been quite a few ...more
David
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of the only mass escape from a Japanese POW camp by Allies during WWII. Ten men escaped. Lukacs starts with each member of the party, how they grew up and joined the forces, Battan, prison camp, planning the escape and the aftermath and legacy.
This book is different than most escape stories. I would guess about 40% of the book is about the escape itself. The rest describes the people, the early battles, the death march and the first camp they were in, and finally the legacy th
...more
Ahkudroid
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The level of detail brought forth in the prose by such a young author on a subject now so long ago is astounding. John D. Lukacs is truly an authority on the subject. It is obvious that his travels to the locations and talks with those somehow associated with the subject has paid off. This isn't your typical war story. It is a story that personifies the unknown atrocities, at that time, that were performed against the POWs by the ruthless Japanese and the heroism and perseverance it took to over ...more
Ahkudroid
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The level of detail brought forth in the prose by such a young author on a subject now so long ago is astounding. John D. Lukacs is truly an authority on the subject. It is obvious that his travels to the locations and talks with those somehow associated with the subject has paid off. This isn't your typical war story. It is a story that personifies the unknown atrocities, at that time, that were performed against the POWs by the ruthless Japanese and the heroism and perseverance it took to over ...more
Charlie Domalmik
If you are an avid reader of history, especially WWII history, you learn to cherish new stories that have been forgotten over time. John Lukacs has brought to life an amazing true story about one of the most incredible events in WW II through incredibly detailed research. The story of these brave men who did the impossible is riveting in its rich detail. I can not wait for the next book by Lukacs -- I have a feeling that this young writer is just scratching the surface of his potential. I may ne ...more
Sam
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was thrilled when my Great Aunt gave me this book for Christmas in 2010! Growing up in Albany, Texas our hometown hero was Edwin Dyess! When this book was written it gave me wonderful insights on why he was not only local hero but a national hero as well! This is such a well written book that it made me want to study more about the war in the Philippines and Asia. I can highly recommend John's book!
Dan Appel
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a hard time avoiding a good true story of a dramatic escape and this book is a great story told well about one of the most dramatic prison escapes of World War II - a story which was suppressed at the time because the leadership of our country felt that, were the conditions in the Japanese prison camps in the Philippines to become known,it would detract from the sales of war bonds to support the war in Europe.

A book well worth reading!
Elaine
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and sad story of the men who survived the Bataan death march in WWII. This is the true story of men who were sent to Davao prison camp after the forced march. They endured torture at the hands of the Japanese and daringly escaped from the prison camp. The story follows their escape route thru the jungle, subsequent rescue, and the Washington politics that were at play during their capture and rescue. If you are at all interested in WWII history, this is a must read.
Steve
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating account of 10 American POWs (one of whom was my grandfather) who escaped, against all odds, from a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines. It reads as much like a nail biting thriller as military history and includes savage accounts of the Bataan Death March. It also exposes how the war in the Pacific took a backseat to the "Europe First" policy of America's military priorities in WWII.
Warren
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read about an extremely difficult time for the USA and our military. This book truly defines how and why "freedom isn't free"... True then; true today. The Americans held captive, many murdered; many died as a result of malnutrition and diseases, were heroes... the escapees were super heroes.

I recommend this book for anyone with an interest in our military, our military during peace time and the brutal, beyond brutal for those PW's, nature of war.
Sam
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was thrilled when my Great Aunt gave me this book for Christmas in 2010! Growing up in Albany, Texas our hometown hero was Edwin Dyess! When this book was written it gave me wonderful insights on why he was not only local hero but a national hero as well! This is such a well written book that it made me want to study more about the war in the Philippines and Asia. I can highly recommend John's book!
John
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My dad fought in the Pacific in WWII. He told many stories of his experiences. As a teenager, I read about the Bataan Death March and last January visited the Bataan Memorial at Mt Samat and drove some of the route of the March. I learned a lot more about that time in history from this book and I found myself emotional at times while reading. A great book for history buffs. On my next trip to the Philippines, I want to see more of the locations in the book on Luzon.
J
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
As is the Bataan Death March wasn't atrocious enough these escapees tell what happened to the survivors. This account provides an insight to the general attitude regarding the Pacific War by many government officials and the bind the USA was in on how to wage war on two fronts when they were not ready for war at all.
Kris
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Totally amazing story but writing - a little dull. I'm especially intrested because one of the 10 men was from my city and lived here after the war, and I've never heard of him. He and 10 men changed the course of the whole world war, and I haven't heard of him! Crazy. So a very interesting story that I wish was written better.
Jodi Webb
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best war book I've ever read!!! It was such a treasure to read a piece of history that touched close to home since I grew up in Hawaii but my Great Grandparents were from Albany and lived across the street from William Dyess. Thank you for bringing a Forgotten Hero to the remembrance of future generations!
Jodi Webb
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best war book I've ever read!!! It was such a treasure to read a piece of history that touched close to home since I grew up in Hawaii but my Great Grandparents were from Albany and lived across the street from William Dyess. Thank you for bringing a Forgotten Hero to the remembrance of future generations!
Rick Slater
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John did an excellent job on this topic. I personally met one or two of the survivors and thought I was very aware of what had happened. Lukacs dug out the details I had never heard of. Highly recommended! Reads like a fiction thriller, except it is ALL true!! (Hollywood take note!)
Karyn
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Escape From Davao is a fabulous read. The author's research and passion really shines through. He gives you a great appreciation for the painstaking efforts of not only surviving but escaping the Japanese-occupied Philippines. A story you don't want to miss!
Daryl Atwood
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in true history of the Philippines WWII
Recommended to Daryl by: Goodreads
Thank you for this story. I read this in conjunction with my research for the prequel to my book "Lady of the Island" and the information in this book was very helpful to me. I will be giving credit to Mr. Lukacs when I am finished.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Shadows In The Jungle: The Alamo Scouts Behind Japanese Lines In World War II
  • Escape from the Deep: The Epic Story of a  Legendary Submarine and her Courageous Crew
  • The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea--The Forgotten War of the South Pacific
  • The Twilight Warriors: The Deadliest Naval Battle of World War II and the Men Who Fought It
  • Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors
  • Behind Hitler's Lines: The True Story of the Only Soldier to Fight for both America and the Soviet Union in World War II
  • Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944--The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War
  • Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II
  • One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa
  • Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific
  • September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far
  • Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945
  • The Double-Cross System: The Incredible True Story of How Nazi Spies Were Turned into Double Agents
  • A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight
  • You'll Be Sor-ree: A Guadalcanal Marine Remembers The Pacific War
  • Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
  • Battleground Pacific: A Marine Rifleman's Combat Odyssey in K/3/5
  • Bailout Over Normandy: A Flyboy's Adventures with the French Resistance and Other Escapades in Occupied France
3448759
Writer, adventurer, historian and documentary filmmaker John D. Lukacs specializes in one-of-a-kind stories—the unusual, the unprecedented and the virtually unknown.

His first book, "Escape From Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War," was called "a most impressive authorial debut" by World War II Magazine and "diligent, impassioned history" by Booklist. Lukac
...more
More about John D. Lukacs...

Share This Book

“To American ears, the Filipino pronunciation of the word "evacuate" sounded more like "bokweet." They soon further Americanized it to "buckwheat," which would become guerilla slang meaning to place as much distance between oneself and the Japanese as possible.” 3 likes
“An aurora swirled in the night skies above Bataan, radiating around the smoke-shrouded peaks of the Mariveles Mountains. Intermittent flashes from phosphorus bombs and incendiary shells bathed the jungle in blinding bursts of white light. The rumbling, subterranean tremors had scarcely subsided when American stockpiles of TNT and ammunition dumps were detonated, causing the peninsula to convulse. Thousands of rounds of projectiles, from artillery and mortar shells to rifle bullets, streaked across the sky in arcing rainbows. "Never did a 4th of July display equal it in noise, lights, colors or cost," observed one officer.” 1 likes
More quotes…