“Escape From Davao” confirms that the Yankee spirit can help men conquer even the most unimaginable situations. I find it so hard to read about how the Japanese army treated POWs like spies and not soldiers. This distinction formed the basis of why the Japanese refused to abide by the Geneva Convention by withholding food, medical attention, and other basic necessities like water. Life inside a POW prison in the Pacific was simply unimaginable, but for ten men, the thought of escape kept them sane and alive. Intent on telling the world of the nightmare they experienced, these men were driven to escape from Davao.
After plotting and planning the escape for weeks, the men decide on a date to escape only to abandon their plan when changes to their work duties hinder their escape. When the new date arrives, they begin their adventure by simply walking out of the compound to their daily work details. After battling swamps, bugs, and each other, they are assisted by the local guerillas who help them reach safety.
Although reading of the atrocious behavior of the Japanese toward POWs and their own civilians is not easy, ultimately the story was uplifting. Considering that the author claims to have interviewed so many people to write the book, I thought it was missing a personal element by being written in an overly factual manner. The first 100 pages kept bouncing back and forth between different events, which was confusing and added nothing to the basic story. I would recommend this book to those who enjoyed “Fly Boys” or “Unbroken.”