Deborah Hopkinson

Award Winning Author of Fiction & Nonfiction for Children & Teens

Race Against Death

The Greatest POW Rescue of World War II

Race Against Death

What is this book about?

A thrilling account of the most dar­ing World War II res­cue mis­sion, lib­er­at­ing hun­dreds of Amer­i­can pris­on­ers of war.

Fol­low­ing the bomb­ing of Pearl Har­bor, Amer­i­ca entered World War II, and a new the­ater of bat­tle opened up in the Pacif­ic. But US troops, along with thou­sands of Fil­ipino sol­diers who fought along­side them, were over­tak­en in the Philip­pines by a fierce­ly deter­mined Japan­ese navy, and many Amer­i­cans and Fil­ipino fight­ers were killed or captured.

These Amer­i­can and Fil­ipino pris­on­ers of war were forced to endure the most hor­rif­ic con­di­tions on the dead­ly trek known as the Bataan Death March. Then, the Amer­i­can ser­vice­men who were held cap­tive by the Japan­ese mil­i­tary in Cabanat­u­an Camp and oth­ers in the Philip­pines, faced beat­ings, star­va­tion, and trop­i­cal dis­eases, and lived con­stant­ly under the threat of death.

Unable to for­get their com­rades’ fate and con­cerned that these POWs would be bru­tal­ly mur­dered as the tides of war shift­ed in the Pacif­ic, the US Army Rangers under­took one of the most dar­ing and dan­ger­ous res­cue mis­sions of all time. Aid­ed by the “Angels of the Under­ground,” the Sixth Ranger Bat­tal­ion and coura­geous Fil­ipino guer­ril­la sol­diers set out on an uncer­tain and treach­er­ous assign­ment. Often called the Great Raid, this remark­able sto­ry remains large­ly forgotten.

Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son presents an extra­or­di­nary and unflinch­ing look at the hero­ic ser­vice­men and women who coura­geous­ly weath­ered the worst of cir­cum­stances and con­di­tions in ser­vice to their coun­try, as well as those who answered the call to save their fel­low soldiers.

Awards and Recognition

  • Junior Library Guild selection


“Told with great detail and through the per­spec­tives of the indi­vid­u­als who lived the expe­ri­ence first­hand, this is an impact­ful book that will raise aware­ness and encour­age young read­ers to seek more infor­ma­tion; a must-buy for any pub­lic or school library.” (School Library Jour­nal, starred review)

“Hopkinson’s bril­liant account of this event is cin­e­mat­ic and irre­sistibly read­able, as, indeed, is the entire book, which is beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten, gen­er­ous­ly illus­trat­ed with black-and-white peri­od pho­tographs, and enhanced by exten­sive back mat­ter. The book will be invalu­able for both class­room use and inde­pen­dent read­ing. And kudos to it for memo­ri­al­iz­ing human courage and com­pas­sion.” (Michael Cart, Book­list, starred review)

“A fas­ci­nat­ing, nuanced, and emo­tion­al his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive.”” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

Race Against Death

author, Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son
Scholas­tic Focus
ages 9 and up, April 18, 2023
ISBN 978–1338746167

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