Too Dead to Die: A Memoir of Bataan and Beyond
by Steve Raymond and Mike Pride

On April 9, 1942, an allied force estimated at 68,000 men, including 12,000 Americans, surrendered to the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. That day, these men disappeared from public sight in the West. The surrender began an ordeal of death, torture, disease, deprivation and slavery that, for the American soldiers who survived it, ended only after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed in August of 1945.

Too Dead to Die is the story of one man’s survival. Steve Raymond, an Army Air Corps clerk, had been converted to a frontline infantry sergeant by the time of the surrender on Bataan. As this book describes with vividness and detail that can be achieved only in an account begun as the events unfolded, he survived the Bataan Death March and nearly 3½ years in the archipelago of Japanese slave labor camps.

From the moment Steve Raymond first heard a Japanese guard screamed “Kurah!” to the glorious dawn of liberation, Too Dead to Die takes readers through his odyssey as he lived it. It is the poignant story of a resourceful man waking each day under the shadow of death but resolving to live. With the skills of an Eagle Scout and the willpower to eat filthy orange peels, insects, fish guts and anything else that might provide the nutrients he needed, he endured a nightmare that seemed to have no end.

For Raymond, survival literally meant victory over a hated enemy. Through the window of a prisoner train, he witnessed the rubble of Japanese cities left by American bombs. “I felt like Marco Polo,” he writes. “Who would believe my fabulous stories of great cities destroyed and white slaves  brutalized?”        
former POW Mr. Steve Raymond

These “fabulous stories” Raymond first recorded in a diary kept in captivity. A determination to bear witness motivated him through terrors and privations. Home at last in 1945, he spent his first months of freedom recreating early diaries lost when a Hell Ship to Japan sank. He began drafting a memoir but soon lost interest. Over the years he sometimes took the memoir out of the drawer and expanded it.

Finally, in 2003, he got his manuscript into the hands of Mike Pride, a New Hampshire newspaper editor and amateur historian. Pride became Raymond’s editor and co-author, reshaping the manuscript into a streamlined narrative.
                                                                                                                                                                Mr. Mike Pride

Plaidswede Publishing, P.O. Box 269, Concord, NH 03302-0269