The Pacific War

Published: June 19th, 2015     
Product Image
Reviewed by: Bill O'Malley - IPMS# 46473
ISBN #: 978-1-4728-1061-8
Other Publication Information: Soft cover, 328 pages, B&W photos, color maps
Price: $9.95
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing

This is an excellent book that briefly summarizes many of the major campaigns of the Pacific War, and provides detailed descriptions of the significant sea and land battles. The book is 264 pages, plus 56 pages of black-and-white photographs, and eight pages of colored maps of several of the military operations. Each of the chapters are written by different authors and have previously been published as separate titles.

The Forward by Captain Dale Dye, USMC (retired) prefaces the book, describing the war in the Pacific as a dollar job on a dime budget. When the rest of the country was worrying about Europe and Hitler, the fighting men in the Pacific had a perverse pride fighting an obsessive enemy without the publicity that attended allied advances in Europe.

"Those of us who live free today have had 70 years to contemplate their service and sacrifice and we have not done enough to let the aging survivors know how vital it was to our way of life".

In the Introduction, Professor Robert O'Neill discusses the build-up of Japan's modern sea power and air power leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. After acquiring the former German islands of the northern and central Pacific, and with a reduction in British forces, Japan had only the United States in the way of their new international order for the Pacific and China.

The individual chapters of the book then discuss the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the bloody battles that would follow on through Okinawa.

List of chapters & authors

  • Forward, Captain Dale Dye, USMC (ret.)
  • Introduction, Professor Robert O'Neill
  • Pearl Harbor, Carl Smith
  • Coral Sea, Mark Stile
  • Midway, Mark Stile
  • Guadalcanal, Joseph Mueller
  • Tarawa, Derrick Wright
  • Marshall Islands, Gordon L. Rottman
  • Peleliu, Jim Moran and Gordon L. Rottman
  • Leyte Gulf, Bernard Ireland
  • Iwo Jima, Derrick Wright
  • Okinawa, Gordon L. Rottman
  • Index

Each of the individual battle chapters are broken into similar sections:

  • Origins of the campaign
  • Opposing commanders
  • Opposing forces
  • Opposing plans
  • The invasion
  • Aftermath

The chapters describe the military forces and operations involved in each of the battles. The Aftermath sections of each chapter describe the heavy toll on human life and military equipment from each of the battles. The text provides a good summary of the military operations, and the many photographs help to illustrate the extreme conditions men fought under. Many profiles of the military leaders and the consequences of their actions are described.

The book is a nice overview of the Pacific War, summarizing the military campaigns and the strategy behind each of the battles. Curiously the book ends in June 1945 with the conquest of Okinawa. There is no mention of the air campaign against mainland Japan, or the atomic bombs that ultimately ended the war. It would have been nice to have a summary chapter that wraps up the Pacific War and describes the factors contributing to Japan's surrender.

Another excellent book by Osprey Publishing, certainly interesting for Pacific War history buffs, but also an interesting read for modelers. Many of the photographs provide ideas for dioramas or battle scenes.

Many thanks to Osprey for continuing to publish these informative books. Thanks to Dave Morrissette and Dick Montgomery for all their hard work with the review crew and for letting me review this book.

  • Back cover
    Back cover
  • Map
  • Sample page
    Sample page
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