Valor: The Astonishing World War II Saga of One Man's Defiance and Indomitable Spirit (Hardcover)
Valor is the magnificent story of a genuine American hero who survived the fall of the Philippines and brutal captivity under the Japanese, from New York Times bestselling author Dan Hampton.
Lieutenant William Frederick “Bill” Harris was 25 years old when captured by Japanese forces during the Battle of Corregidor in May 1942. This son of a decorated Marine general escaped from hell on earth by swimming eight hours through a shark-infested bay; but his harrowing ordeal had just begun.
Shipwrecked on the southern coast of the Philippines, he was sheltered by a Filipino aristocrat, engaged in guerilla fighting, and eventually set off through hostile waters to China. After 29 days of misadventures and violent storms, Harris and his crew limped into a friendly fishing village in the southern Philippines. Evading and fighting for months, he embarked on another agonizing voyage to Australia, but was betrayed by treacherous islanders and handed over to the Japanese. Held for two years in the notorious Ofuna prisoner-of-war camp outside Yokohama, Harris was continuously starved, tortured, and beaten, but he never surrendered. Teaching himself Japanese, he eavesdropped on the guards and created secret codes to communicate with fellow prisoners. After liberation on August 30, 1945, Bill represented American Marine POWs during the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay before joining his father and flying to a home he had not seen in four years.
Valor is a riveting new look at the Pacific War. Through military documents, personal photos, and an unpublished memoir provided by his daughter, Harris’ experiences are dramatically revealed through his own words in the expert hands of bestselling author and retired fighter pilot Dan Hampton. This is the stunning and captivating true story of an American hero.
“Hampton skillfully interweaves Harris’s travails with the major events of the Pacific war and draws a nuanced portrait of the dynamic between father and son. The result is a captivating portrait of courage and determination during wartime.” –Publishers Weekly
“The spectacular adventures of an American soldier who refused to surrender after the Japanese conquest of the Philippines....A fast-paced WWII tale for military-history devotees.” –Kirkus Reviews
“From the relentless defense of an island fortress, to a desperate trek behind enemy lines, this is World War II adventure at its finest. Not only did the heroes of this book outlive the unthinkable, they went on to do something unusual for their generation: they actually wrote about it. Now, Dan Hampton has unearthed their story and given it the reverence it deserves. The reward is all ours. Valor is a true time capsule of World War II history.” --Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of Spearhead
“Valor reads like an action/adventure thriller, but this is a true story of extraordinary courage in the face of overwhelming odds. At a time when America is searching for real heroes, Dan Hampton has found the genuine article in Lieutenant Bill Harris. As a combat veteran myself, I salute the heroism and memory of Lieutenant Harris, and as a writer, I salute the writing skills of Dan Hampton. I could literally not put this book down.” –Nelson DeMille, bestselling author of Plum Island and The Deserter
“An extraordinary tale told extraordinarily well, Valor is the intense, gripping saga of a Marine Corps officer little known today. Dan Hampton's highly detailed account of Lt. Col. Bill Harris' remarkable service in WW II and Korea benefits from in-depth research and an attention-getting writing style.” –Barrett Tillman, author of Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945 and US Marine Corps Fighter Squadrons of World War II