OVERRIDE

Tears in the Darkness

The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath

Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman

Picador

For the first four months of 1942, American, Filipino, and Japanese soldiers fought America's first major land battle of World War II: the battle for the tiny Philippine peninsula of Bataan. It ended with the single largest defeat in American military history. This was only the beginning. Until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the prisoners of war suffered forty-one months of unparalleled cruelty and savagery. Michael and Elizabeth Norman bring to the story remarkable feats of reportage and literary empathy. Their protagonist, Ben Steele, is a young cowboy and aspiring sketch artist from Montana who joins the army to see the world and ends up on a death march. Juxtaposed against Steele’s story are the heretofore untold accounts of Japanese soldiers who struggled to maintain their humanity while carrying out their superiors’ inhuman commands. 

            Tears in the Darkness is an altogether new look at World War II that exposes the myths of war and shows the extent of suffering and loss on both sides. 

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

He enlisted on the advice of his mother, Bess.

 

In the late summer of 1940, Ben Steele was working as a camp tender at a large sheep outfit east of town. It was hard, sometimes filthy work, but the freedom of it made him happy—on his own every day, riding a horse or driving a rig between the far-flung camps of the sheepherders, delivering mail and supplies, sleeping in the open, wrapped in an oilcloth, staring up at a big sky dark with bright stars.

 

One weekend that summer Ben Steele’s mother and father drove out from Billings
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

MEDIA

Watch

  • Tears in the Darkness - Book Trailer

    The critically acclaimed new book from Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman on WWII and the infamous Bataan Death March.

  • Tears in the Darkness: Off to War

    Ben Steele takes us from boot camp to his arrival in the Philippines, then to the bombing of Clark Field. Later he became a foot soldier in the battle of Bataan -- 99 days of fighting and starvation. "Help is on the way," his commanders promised, a promise, he says, that turned out to be a "lie."

  • Tears in the Darkness: Art and Artist

    Ben Steele gives us a tour of the oil paintings depicting his days as a POW: scenes from the battle, death march, camps and the coal mine in Japan where he was enslaved. We also get a look at his studio. He talks about teaching art and the first time a Japanese student walked into his classroom.

BACK

REVIEWS

Praise for Tears in the Darkness

"Deeply researched and finely documented, Tears in the Darkness is written brilliantly in lucid prose. . . . A model of excellence in historical bookmaking . . . I couldn’t put it down."--Philip Kopper, The Washington Times

 

"An extremely detailed and thoroughly chilling treatment that, given the passage of time and thinning of ranks, could serve as popular history’s final say on the subject."--Richard Pyle, Associated Press

 

"Balanced, beautifully written . . . Many books have examined World War II in the Philippines, but none of them pack the punch of or are as beautifully written as this compelling volume. . . . A superb book about the unspeakable tragedy of war and the triumph of the human spirit."--Terry Hartle, The Christian Science Monitor  

 

"A lean, moving account...many books have described the atrocities. Prisoners were starved, beaten, and killed. This is different . . . Powerful."--USA Today

 

"A searing narrative [and] an indispensable addition to every World War II collection."--Bryce Christensen, Booklist

"Deeply researched and finely documented, Tears in the Darkness is written brilliantly in lucid prose. . . . A model of excellence in historical bookmaking . . . I couldn’t put it down."--Philip Kopper, The Washington Times

 

"An extremely detailed and thoroughly chilling treatment that, given the passage of time and thinning of ranks, could serve as popular history’s final say on the subject."--Richard Pyle, Associated Press

 

"Balanced, beautifully written . . . Many books have examined World War II in the Philippines, but none of them pack the punch of or are as beautifully written as this compelling volume. . . . A superb book about the unspeakable tragedy of war and the triumph of the human spirit."--Terry Hartle, The Christian Science Monitor  

 

"A lean, moving account...many books have described the atrocities. Prisoners were starved, beaten, and killed. This is different . . . Powerful."--USA Today

 

"A searing narrative [and] an indispensable addition to every World War II collection."--Bryce Christensen, Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman

  • Michael Norman, a former reporter for The New York Times, teaches narrative journalism at New York University. Elizabeth M. Norman, the author of two books about war, teaches at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.

BACK

COMMUNITY

TheHistoryReader.com

    MORE BLOG POSTS
    BACK

    BUY THE BOOK

    Available Formats and Book Details

    Tears in the Darkness

    The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath

    Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman

    BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

    BACK

    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Picador

    BACK