Author: Richard Overy
ISBN: 978184908 3942
Publisher: Osprey Publishing

Click Here To Purchase War in the Pacific 1941-1945 (General Military)

It’s difficult to believe that War in the Pacific, a new oversized book from Osprey Publishing which coincides with the recent HBO special, is only 56 pages long because it packs in so much information regarding the Pacific conflicts of WWII.

The chapters – which begin with “Imperial Japan,” end with “The Japanese Surrender” and cover every major battle in between -- are only two pages long (10 inch by 11 inch pages, that is) and consist of concisely informative text along with a plethora of sidebars and photographs. 

For example, the chapter regarding the protracted battle for the island of Peleliu has a timeline, sidebars on both Major General William Rupertus (the commander of the 1st Marine Division which initiated the US assault) and Captain Everett Pope (whose company of Marines captured “Hill 100”), and two photographs of the initial invasion (one showing the landing craft under fire before landing ashore and another showing the “alligator” vehicles and the Marines just arriving on the beach).  There is also a photograph of an assault group stationed on the beach, another of an unnamed Marine who bears a haunted expression (the text explains that the battle cost the US nearly 2,000 casualties and more than 8,000 wounded), a contemporary photograph of the weapon used by the US Marines during the battle (an M1919 Browning machine gun), and one photograph showing the devastation the battle wreaked on the island.  Other chapters contain bios on Japanese commanders.

The book also contains two folders of historical treasures: a plethora of facsimile documents directly related to the conflict, including desperate radio messages sent from Iwo Jima, a telegram addressed to the naval units in the Hawaii area regarding the attack on Pearl Harbor (“AIRRAID ON PEARHARBOR  X  THIS IS NO DRILL”), and a letter written by General MacArthur to his wife just before he set out to liberate the Philippines.  Of especial note is the first draft of Roosevelt’s “Date of Infamy” speech (yes, it’s “Date” not “Day”) where the reader can see – among other things -- that the man himself scratched out the banal words “world history” and replaced them with compelling and unforgettable word “infamy.”

Also included is a copy of the Central Pacific edition of “Yank” magazine (a widely circulated weekly made available to all servicemen overseas during WWII), a “Pocket Guide to Australia” (issued to servicemen serving under MacArthur), and a poster advertising a US loan drive.  Within the text are several helpful maps as well.

In his foreword, Captain Dale A. Dye (senior military advisor for the related HBO special) mentions that the war in the Pacific has been “overshadowed by the more accessible and understandable campaigns in Europe.” He hopes that with the publication of War in the Pacific that “much-needed light [will be shed] on the service and sacrifice of the gallant men and women who served in the Pacific War.” 

Richard Overy’s book should go a long way towards making that happen: it’s an excellent introduction for those with no prior knowledge of the conflicts and at the same time, alluring eye candy for those already familiar with it.

 Click Here To Purchase War in the Pacific 1941-1945 (General Military)