When Pearl Harbor was attacked in '41, the author was stationed on the Philippines as a member of the longest mass flight of B-17's ever sent from the U.S. to the Pacific area. His force was only awaiting orders to bomb Japanese installations on Formosa but those orders never came. But Whitcomb is not telling of that military fiasco. This is a story of one man's effort for survival- an incredible, fascinating account. Air Force personnel were soon evacuated from Manila to Bataan, and when that peninsula fell, to Corregidor. Shortly after, General Wainwright surrendered the island. Rather than wait for the slow death that was the Corregidor prison compound fate, Lt. Whitcomb and Bill Harris escaped, made the five hour swim to Bataan, spent five days in the mountains behind enemy lines and in attempting to sail a small craft to Australia, were recaptured. Whitcomb, posing as a civilian, was interned in various prison camps and was repatriated from Shanghai with non-combatants. Because he, as an officer, was fraudulently exchanged, he was detained in the States before he could rejoin the war in the Pacific. But for Whitcomb the war meant the two years of subterfuge, unbelievable hardship suffered alone and the heroism which war at its worst sometimes evokes.