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INTREPID GUERRILLAS OF NORTH LUZON. Focuses on the Cagayan-Apa-yao Forces of the the Filipino-American Guerrillas. By September 1943 all but one member of Troop C had been claimed by combat, enemy capture, or disease.

Click to EnlargeINTREPID GUERRILLAS OF NORTH LUZON. A harrowing tale of valor and determination of the Filipino-American Guerrillas in the most forbidding terrain in the Philippines. Focuses on the Cagayan-Apa-yao Forces, commanded by Major Ralph Praeger, which fought to the death.

North Luzon is home to some of the most forbidding terrain in the Philippines. Following the Japanese invasion of the islands in 1942, it was also the staging area for several Filipino-American guerrilla bands who sought to gather intelligence and to destroy enemy military installations or supplies. Though these troops had some initial successes, they were severely outnumbered, and their greatest fight soon became one for their own survival.

Bernard Norling focuses on the Cagayan-Apayao Forces, or CAF, commanded by Maj. Ralph Praeger. Their bravery was unquestionable, but by September 1943 all but one member of Troop C had been claimed by combat, enemy capture, or disease. The only survivor, Capt. Thomas S. Jones, remembered, "Defeat is a terrible thing. . . . It brings down with it the whole structure about which a nation or an army has been built. It subjects men to the most severe of moral tests at a time when they are physically least able to meet them."

Based primarily upon unpublished sources, The Intrepid Guerrillas of North Luzon includes the diary of Praeger's executive officer, Jones, and draws on transcripts of radio communications between Praeger and General MacArthur's headquarters in Australia.

The struggles of the men of the CAF tell a harrowing tale of valor, determination, and occasional successes mixed with the wildcat schemes, rivalries, mistrust, and betrayals that characterized the intramural relations of guerrilla forces all over the Pacific islands. Though the CAF were unsuccessful in their ultimate mission, they stand as a remarkable example of men who embraced their duty and made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of a larger goal.

REVIEWS: "A story of untold hardship, inspirational leadership, and, ultimately, defeat by an overwhelming foe. . . . A gripping tale of struggle in the face of overwhelming odds." ?Military History of the West ?An outstanding book of guerrilla-warfare history.??Special Warfare ?Evidences some truly remarkable insights into guerrilla warfare in general and into the specifics of the Philippine campaign.? ?Journal of American History ?Important and timely in that it again draws attention to the small group of stalwart American soldiers who refused to surrender at Bataan or Corregidor and to their intrepid Filipino allies who for years harassed and fought the Japanese invaders.? ?Army History ?Norling has proved adept at negotiating this treacherous historical terrain. . . . An excellent job of portraying the grim realities of guerrilla warfare.? ?Indiana Magazine of History ?A model military history?well-written and breaking new ground.? ?Paper Wars "A detailed view of the confused and chaotic background from which emerged later Luzon guerrillas. It was a most horrible, hopeless time for these boys, and this book provides a lesson in the real meaning of patriotism." ?Frank Mathias "The dramatic story of American officers and enlisted men caught behind enemy lines who, together with Filipino guerrillas, tried to upset the Japanese timetable for the conquest of the Philippine Islands." ?Choice "With the publication of this volume, our knowledge of military history has been broadened and our understanding of guerrilla warfare in a Third World setting has been sharpened." ?Journal of Developing Areas "Rich with historical detail, this is an impressive volume on irregular warfare during World War II in the Philippine Islands. Norling's insightful and smoothly written accounts of American military and civilian guerrilla leaders reveal a crucible of courageous determination, costly mistakes, and often desperation." ?Ralph E. Weber

Bernard Norling, professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame, is the author of Behind Japanese Lines and Lapham's Raiders.

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