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Horyo: Memoirs of an American POW

Horyo: Memoirs of an American POW
2.00 lbs



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Index , Appendix , Photos
$24.95 (24.95)
“...a poignant, honest account of a tragic experience unique in the annals of American military history. It is also a sad commentary on the depths to which men may sink when confronted with unimaginable horrors and privations.”–Stanley L. Falk, Ph.D. Former Chief Historian, US Air Force, and author of Bataan: The March of Death and other books on World War II

“...a brutally honest book.... Gordon takes an unflinching and unsparing look at the human toll exacted by captivity, slave labor, starvation, and torture.”–Gavan Daws, Author of Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific

“Few know of the failure of U.S. military leadership to prepare its Philippine defenders for war and to protect them from the horrors that ensued in captivity.... I can’t tell you how often I found myself measuring my own conduct and example as a senior American military officer in command in the light of this book.”–Captain David C. Taylor Commanding Officer, USS BATAAN (LHD-5)

“When reading Gordon’s descriptions of POW camp life, one remembers James Clavell’s powerful POW novel King Rat and Gavan Daws’ historical masterpiece Prisoners of the Japanese. Gordon pulls few punches about his wartime trauma as a POW.”–Scott Harrison, State Department, Career diplomat and military historian

“From his boyhood in Hell’s Kitchen during the Great Depression...Gordon learned much to enable him to survive. As he tells his story, the reader seems to be right beside him...this is a true and unexaggerated account of what it meant to be horyo.”–John Browe, Survivor of Camp O’Donnell, Camp Cabanatuan, and Camp 4-R near Tokyo

“Richard Gordon and my father shared some of the same experiences, as they were both in the Bataan Death March, were on the same hell ship to Japan and were in the same prison camp together. My father went on to Kanose prison camp in 1944, as Mr. Gordon notes in his book. This book has enabled me in my research on my father, Jack, to understand what he went through. It has given me an even greater appreciation of those men who were prisoners of the Japanese.”–Amazon.com reviewer Sally Atwell Williams from Elkton, Virginia

“Major Gordon has been especially helpful to members of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor.”–A. Joseph Mahoney, Lake San Marcos, California

This book tells of the author’s experience as a Japanese prisoner of war. Life in any prisoner of war is a shattering experience. Japanese prison camps far exceeded in cruelty, barbarism and outright murder of Allied soldiers captured throughout the Far East. Their philosophy was that any prisoner of war was sub-human and was to be treated in such a fashion. They were considered animals for allowing themselves to be captured as opposed to the “shame” that came with capture. There were many causes of the thousands of deaths of Allied prisoners of war, mostly from disease and starvation. Yet, outright murder occurred many, many times.

Abuse in any form from the Japanese was understandable. We were the enemy. What was not as easy understood was the actions of the prisoners themselves. To survive, many lost all vestige of civilization. When the thin coat of civilization was stripped away, all to easily, man had reverted to his natural desire to survive, at all cost. If that survival meant stealing from your friends then it was done, often costing the victim his life.

Discipline, the very backbone of any military unit, became one of the victims of the prisoner of war experience. Without such discipline, men lived by one code, “survival, at all costs.” Those officers responsible for discipline lacked that themselves and soon a military force became a rabble. The “Predators” of prison camps emerged on the scene. A lack of support for such troops before the war led to much of the breakdown of the military unit in prison camps. Inexperienced officers sent to the Philippines immediately prior to the war, were incapable of leading men in their toughest moments. To see an officer abandon his responsibility to his men created a complete disrespect between the ranks.

Table of Contents
Chapter l: The Adolescent Years
Chapter 2: Army Recruit Days
Chapter 3: En route to the Philippines
Chapter 4: Prewar Life in Manila
Chapter 5: Americas “Foreign Legion”
Chapter 6: War Clouds Gather
Chapter 7: Fighting On Bataan
Chapter 8: The Fall Of Bataan
Chapter 9: Why Bataan Fell
Chapter 10: Captivity Begins
Chapter 11: The Bataan Death March
Chapter 12: Camp O’Donnell
Chapter 13: Cabanatuan Prison Camp
Chapter 14: The `Hell Ship’ Nagato Maru Chapter 15: Welcome To Japan
Chapter 1 6: Mitsushima
Chapter 17: Learning the Language
Chapter 18: Work Details and Contracts
Chapter 19: The Skies Begin To Cloud Up
Chapter 20: It’s Over
Chapter 21: Going Home
Chapter 22: Manila, The Second Time
Appendix l: Maps and Documents
Appendix 2: Photographs

RICHARD M. GORDON reenlisted in the Army and became a commissioned officer two years after his release from prison in 1945. He retired at the rank of Major. Following military retirement, he worked as an investigator for the District Attorney of Suffolk County, New York. Later he became Administrator of the County's Mental Health Board. Next, he served as Assistant Director of the Drug Control Board. Following retirement from Suffolk County he became an Assistant Professor at St. Petersburg Junior College in Florida. In 1978 he was appointed Executive Director of the Vermont Criminal Justice Council and Director of Vermont's Police Academy until 1986.

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