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The Edge of Terror: The Heroic Story of American Families Trapped in the Japanese-occupied Philippines

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A gripping account of courage, death, and survival in the war-torn islands of the Philippines.   As Japanese military strategists planned their secret offensive against the United States in 1941, they designed a simultaneous two-pronged attack to wipe out American military might in the Pacific. While American battleships blew up and sank in Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers app A gripping account of courage, death, and survival in the war-torn islands of the Philippines.   As Japanese military strategists planned their secret offensive against the United States in 1941, they designed a simultaneous two-pronged attack to wipe out American military might in the Pacific. While American battleships blew up and sank in Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers approached the Philippines, soon destroying both American air and naval forces and leaving General Douglas MacArthur's ground forces in disarray. As the shipping piers in Manila harbor burned, nearly six thousand American civilians were suddenly trapped in the islands for the duration of the war. There would be no more ocean liners or Pan Am Clippers to transport them to safety. These unfortunate individuals and families became the largest body of American citizens ever captured by an enemy army.   Soon most of these hapless civilians realized that they had little option but to surrender to the invading Japanese and be placed in squalid internment camps. However, on the small island of Panay, a group of American missionaries and gold miners bound their fates together and withdrew into hiding in the jungle. Some joined with the Filipino guerrilla forces, actively resisting the Japanese. Others quietly continued their humanitarian tasks amidst the horrors of war. But all of them experienced living hell together.   For the first time in more than fifty years, the little-known story is told of these brave American civilians on Panay. Drawing on diaries, memoirs, family interviews, and military archives, Scott Walker describes daily life during the occupation and the danger these Americans faced in their efforts to serve both God and country. Both a story of profound tragedy and miraculous escape, The Edge of Terror is one of the most intense and dramatic accounts to emerge from World War II.


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A gripping account of courage, death, and survival in the war-torn islands of the Philippines.   As Japanese military strategists planned their secret offensive against the United States in 1941, they designed a simultaneous two-pronged attack to wipe out American military might in the Pacific. While American battleships blew up and sank in Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers app A gripping account of courage, death, and survival in the war-torn islands of the Philippines.   As Japanese military strategists planned their secret offensive against the United States in 1941, they designed a simultaneous two-pronged attack to wipe out American military might in the Pacific. While American battleships blew up and sank in Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers approached the Philippines, soon destroying both American air and naval forces and leaving General Douglas MacArthur's ground forces in disarray. As the shipping piers in Manila harbor burned, nearly six thousand American civilians were suddenly trapped in the islands for the duration of the war. There would be no more ocean liners or Pan Am Clippers to transport them to safety. These unfortunate individuals and families became the largest body of American citizens ever captured by an enemy army.   Soon most of these hapless civilians realized that they had little option but to surrender to the invading Japanese and be placed in squalid internment camps. However, on the small island of Panay, a group of American missionaries and gold miners bound their fates together and withdrew into hiding in the jungle. Some joined with the Filipino guerrilla forces, actively resisting the Japanese. Others quietly continued their humanitarian tasks amidst the horrors of war. But all of them experienced living hell together.   For the first time in more than fifty years, the little-known story is told of these brave American civilians on Panay. Drawing on diaries, memoirs, family interviews, and military archives, Scott Walker describes daily life during the occupation and the danger these Americans faced in their efforts to serve both God and country. Both a story of profound tragedy and miraculous escape, The Edge of Terror is one of the most intense and dramatic accounts to emerge from World War II.

30 review for The Edge of Terror: The Heroic Story of American Families Trapped in the Japanese-occupied Philippines

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sherri Sutton

    My dad recommended this book. I wasn't sure it was going to be interesting, looked like a lot of"war" stuff in it but I found it very compelling, in fact I would think about it when I wasn't reading it - which is always the sign of a good book! I learned so much about the Philippines - the history - WW II, and the missionaries who lost their lives there - in a little village called "Hopevale" - which is also the name of a church in our town - and I knew the church was named after some missionari My dad recommended this book. I wasn't sure it was going to be interesting, looked like a lot of"war" stuff in it but I found it very compelling, in fact I would think about it when I wasn't reading it - which is always the sign of a good book! I learned so much about the Philippines - the history - WW II, and the missionaries who lost their lives there - in a little village called "Hopevale" - which is also the name of a church in our town - and I knew the church was named after some missionaries who were martyred in the Philippines but I never knew the whole story....now I do and it is AMAZING. Those people were so unbelievably strong, what they went through for years, during the war, etc...having a baby out in the Philippine jungle with no modern conveniences!! and then rescue by a US submarine which I found of interest since my son is currently serving on a submarine in the Navy right now in the Pacific! Definitely recommend this if you like history and stories of courageous people!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Merle Dunson

    This book had a slow start, but then was hard to put down. It records the true lifves of missionaries and civilians that were trying to escape possible death by the Japanese during the war. Many times they were walking without shoes for miles and miles in the jungles of the Phillipians. Brave, tough families! I cannot even imagine the lives they had to live in this very scary time in history. We have so much to be thankful for in our peaceful country now.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bud Russell

    An outstanding account of the Hopevale martyrs in the Philippines during WWII. The author's concluding remarks at the end of the book are extremely eloquent. Exceptional rendering of this terrifying ordeal and tragic story. I was especially interested in this story, as it focuses on several American Baptist missionaries and their families.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Beachy

    Be thankful for living in America I couldn't put it down once I started reading. It makes you really thankful for the relative peaceful easy life we've had in the U.S. Since WW2.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Fascinating story. Great to read this after visiting the Hopevale Memorial in Green Lake, Wisconsin.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    In the writings about World War II very little has been said about the civilians working or preaching in the Philippines. The Edge of Terror addresses the story of religious missionaries and other American families once the Japanese attacked. My only fault is that at times the author does not appear to recognize Catholics as Christians [such as the phrase Catholics and Christians}. Other than this fault, a nic e little work that is easy to read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Actually, I'd like to make this 3 1/2 stars because of a slow start. It wasn't enough to stop me reading, and the tension built once the author "got on with it". The Philippines was not a place to be when the Japanese conquered it during WWII. This is the story of a group of miners and missionaries who decided to hide out in the jungle instead of surrendering. Appropriate title.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Hill

    First-rate research by an older peer of mine, with personal roots in the location and personalities involved. American Baptist (ABWE) missionaries hunted, persecuted and martyred by the Japanese in the Philippine Visayas during WWII.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jhaslamsr

    This truly is an amazing story of courage.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mom

    Incredible true story about the Philippines and the missionaries who suffered during WWII. Brings tears to your eyes.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Francis Soares

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dru Copeland

  13. 5 out of 5

    An Delaney

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Wall

  16. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steven Bingham

  18. 5 out of 5

    Josie

  19. 4 out of 5

    T.Martin Bennett

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kami

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mari Lynn Montalvo

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy Bessa

  23. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Groberg

  24. 4 out of 5

    Scott Eveland

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Dorcey

  26. 5 out of 5

    Modonnell5

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kges1901

  28. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Sierra

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