Hero of Bataan: The Story of General Jonathan M. Wainwright
St. Martin’s Press, 1981
“Remember Bataan! Remember Corregidor!” These words rallied a nation in the first dark days of World War II. When defeat screamed from every headline, Skinny Wainwright led the ragged troops of the US Army in the Philippines into battle again and again, disrupting Japan’s timetable for the conquest of the Pacific. With dwindling supplies, little food, no air force or navy and outmoded weapons from World War I, Wainwright fought a modern, well-equipped army to a standstill for almost five months. His actions were a triumph in the face of overwhelming odds, as fine as any military action in history.
General Wainwright was the man MacArthur left behind when he was ordered to leave the hopelessly surrounded garrison in the Philippines. Wainwright also became the highest-ranking American POW, enduring with his men the scanty rations, harassment, and beatings until the end of the war. His return, as a haggard, frail, yet still-proud soldier, brought him a fourth star, the Medal of Honor, and even the demand that he seek the US presidency.
Hero of Bataan: The Story of General Jonathan M. Wainwright is a superb history of the struggle for Bataan and Corregidor. Schultz has combed through military files, captured documents, and the personal letters and diaries of scores of army personnel who served in the Philippines. He also interviewed dozens of men and women who spanned Wainwright’s career from his West Point class of 1906 to his death in 1953 to tell this story of a genuine, old-fashioned American hero.