They Fought Alone


They Fought Alone

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A True Story of a Modern American Hero

By John Keats

When the American forces in the Philippines surrendered in May of 1942, a mining engineer named Wendell Fertig chose to take his chances in the jungle. What happened to him during nearly three years far behind enemy lines is the amazing story that John Keats tells in They Fought Alone.

With the aid of a handful of Americans who also refused to surrender, Fertig led thousands of Filipinos in a seemingly hopeless war against the Japanese. Fertig’s forces, though extremely diverse, banded together to protect the civilian population and combat a ruthless enemy.

Although Fertig and his men had extremely limited resources to insure survival, their ingenuity made them a fearsome force to be reckoned with. They made bullets from curtain rods; telegraph wire from iron fencing; and fought off sickness, despair, and rebellion within their own forces. Their homemade communications were MacArthur’s eyes and ears in the Philippines.

When the American army finally returned to Mindanao, they found Fertig virtually in control of one of the world’s largest islands, commanding a guerilla army of 25,000 to 40,000, and at the head of a civil government with its own post office, law courts, currency, factories, and hospitals.

Teeming with intrigue, adventure, and suspense, They Fought Alone is an extraordinary work of unadulterated nonfiction. Keats, who also served in the Philippines, has captured all the pain, brutality, and courage of this incredible drama, in which many memorable men and women played parts. But They Fought Alone is essentially the story of one man—a testament to the ingenuity and sheer guts of an authentic American hero.

About the Author

John C. Keats (1921-2000), an American writer and biographer, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to writeThey Fought Alone. During his four years of research, Keats sifted through the diaries, memoranda, and tape-recorded conversations that gave form and meaning to this remarkable adventure. Keats accompanied Wendell Fertig on a three-month journey to the Philippines in 1959, where they spoke with hundreds of Filipinos who had served under Fertig’s command.


ISBN: 9781626540514 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 9781626548459 (Paperback)

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