Bataan Diary

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About Bataan Diary

Bataan Diary book cover Author Chris Schaefer spent more than five years researching the material for Bataan Diary.  The book follows the life of an American fugitive in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation, and follows the life, hopes and doubts of his family at home in the wartime United States.

Early in World War II the United States Army surrendered to the Japanese on Bataan, and 70,000 American and Filipino soldiers became prisoners of war.  However, approximately 200 Americans refused the surrender order, and fled into the jungle to continue the fight and await the return of General MacArthur.  It is estimated that another 200 escaped from the Death March.  The Japanese hunted these men down.  Almost half of them died in the first few months after their escape--victims of disease, treachery, and the Japanese.

Bataan Diary is the true story of one of these men, Lt. Col. Frank R. Loyd. Frank R. Loyd  The book was originally intended as a survival story, but rapidly grew in scope as more and more information about Frank Loyd and his associates surfaced.  Frank Loyd survived terrible diseases, near starvation, and a Japanese man hunt sent to capture him.  While following Frank Loyd's story as a central theme, the book also describes the lives and activities of other American evaders and escapees, the Filipinos who risked their own lives to help the American soldiers survive, the activities of the Manila underground, and the Catholic priests who helped facilitate clandestine activities in the Japanese occupied Philippines during the war.  As General MacArthur's army drew close in 1944, Frank Loyd  joined the guerrilla band of Corporal John Boone.  The Philippine guerrilla organizations and the Philippine underground helped discover and thwart Japanese plans to destroy the approaching American army.

During his ordeal Colonel Loyd kept a detailed diary and hid parts of it in various places in the jungle.  He gave other portions to Filipino benefactors to hold until the war's end, and most of it was recovered after the war.  His wife, Evelyn, was an active participant in the war effort at home and she kept her own diary and correspondence.  Bataan Diary is based on these and other original documents, interviews with the participants and their descendents, and more than five years of the author's research into these remarkable events.

"Your presentation of the things that happened on Bataan is powerfully done and makes good reading."
--Colonel Edwin Ramsey, Philippine Guerrilla commander and author of Lieutenant Ramsey's War

"Beautifully written.  References are excellent."
--Beverly Hundley, daughter of American guerrilla Arthur "Maxie" Noble

"You have filled in a lot of gaps in my own knowledge of guerrilla operations in the Philippines--perhaps because you have managed to find sources of information unknown to me in the past twenty years."
--Historian Bernard Norling, author of four books on World War II in the Philippines

"This book should be read because even in defeat there is meaning and our nation needs people who will be inspired by the examples and stories of the guerrillas in the Philippines..."
--Edgar Wright III, son of American guerrilla Edgar Wright Jr.

Recognition for Bataan Diary:
  • November 2004 book selection at the National D-Day Museum, New Orleans.
  • June 6, 2005, Proclamation by Houston Mayor Bill White commending the Houston A&M Club and author Chris Schaefer for remembering and honoring the veterans of World War II.


The Decatur Daily, Decatur, Alabama:
   "The book is a story about the triumph of the human will, about clandestine operations, intrigue and betrayal. Correctly guessing whom to trust was as important to survival as overcoming the ravages of malaria."

Read entire review by Richard McCann.

Richard McCann is Assistant Managing Editor of the Decatur Daily.  He is a former City Editor of the Houston Post.

Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce, Manila:
   "Precisely because it’s not just one person’s view of events in and around the Bataan peninsula during World War II, this is a very good book.
   "Carefully researched and footnoted, with a thorough bibliography and index, Bataan Diary is nonetheless fast-moving and eminently readable. It even has really good maps."

Read entire review by Sara Collins Medina.

Sara Collins Medina is a free-lance writer, editor and desktop publisher in Manila and edits the quarterly Bulletin of the American Historical Collection.

Philippine Scouts Heritage Society:
   "The book...also examines the larger war effort in the Pacific and the involvement of other Americans and Filipinos, many of them Philippine Scouts, in the anti-Japanese guerrilla movement on Luzon.  It contains interesting information on commando infiltration teams, both Filipino and American, sent in by submarine to help shore up the resistance movement.  It also examines in some detail prison camp conditions and the brutal counter intelligence activities of the dread Japanese Kempei-tai

Read entire review by J. Michael Houlahan.

J. Michael Houlahan is a career Foreign Service officer whose many assignments include the the U.S. Emabssy, Manila.

The Park Record, Park City, Utah
    "...the writing keeps the readers' attention, working like a story to foster suspense and interest.  With its focus on characters and the places they inhabit, the book avoids the dryness or sterility which can often afflict a work bent on objectivity.  Because Schaefer's writing avoids these things, the work is an easy read."

Read entire review by Matt James.

Matt James is Editor of the "Scene," The Park Record newspaper, Park City, Utah.

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