Book picks similar to
D-Days in the Pacific by Donald L. Miller


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world-war-ii
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Midnight in the Pacific: Guadalcanal--The World War II Battle That Turned the Tide of War


Joseph Wheelan - 2017
    offensive of World War II began with no fanfare early August 7, 1942. But, before it ended six months later with the first U.S. land victory, Guadalcanal was a household name. There, marines faced bloody banzai attacks in the stifling malarial jungles while the U.S. sailors and pilots battled Japanese air and sea armadas day and night. The all–in battles consumed thousands of men, hundreds of planes, and dozens of warships and— stopped the Japanese Juggernaut. Guadalcanal was the Pacific War's turning point.Published on the 75th anniversary of the battle, Midnight in the Pacific is both a sweeping narrative and a compelling drama of individual Marines, soldiers, and sailors caught in the cross–hairs of history.

Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa


Joseph H. Alexander - 1995
    Gen. Mike Ryan, USMC (Ret.) Navy Cross recipient Green Beach, TarawaOn November 20, l943, in the first trial by fire of America's fledgling amphibious assault doctrine, five thousand men stormed the beaches of Tarawa, a seemingly invincible Japanese island fortress barely the size of the Pentagon parking lots (three-hundred acres!). Before the first day ended, one third of the Marines who had crossed Tarawa's deadly reef under murderous fire were killed, wounded, or missing. In three days of fighting, four Americans would win the Medal of Honor. And six-thousand combatants would die.Now, Col. Joseph Alexander, a combat Marine himself, presents the full story of Tarawa in all its horror and glory: the extreme risks, the horrific combat, and the heroic breakthroughs. Based on exhaustive research, never-before-published accounts from Marine survivors, and new evidence from Japanese sources, Colonel Alexander captures the grit, guts, and relentless courage of United States Marines overcoming outrageous odds to deliver victory for their country."Without a doubt the best narrative of the struggle ever produced."--Richard B. Frank, Author of GuadalcanalA MAIN SELECTION OF THE MILITARY BOOK CLUB Winner of the 1995 General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., Award, awarded to the year's best nonfiction book pertinent to Marine Corps HistoryWinner of the Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Outstanding Writer of the Year, presented by the Navy League of the United StatesWinner of the Roosevelt Naval History Prize, awarded by the Naval War College

Miracle at Midway


Gordon W. Prange - 1982
    Told with the same stylistic flair and attention to detail as the bestselling At Dawn We Slept, Miracle at Midway brings together eyewitness accounts from the men who commanded and fought on both sides. The sweeping narrative takes readers into the thick of the action and shows exactly how American strategies and decisions led to the triumphant victory that paved the way for the defeat of Japan. "A stirring, even suspenseful narrative . . . The clearest and most complete account so far." (Newsday) "Something special among war histories . . . No other gives both sides of the battle in as detailed and telling a manner."(Chicago Sun-Times) "A gripping and convincing account." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Ultimate Battle: Okinawa, 1945: The Last Epic Struggle of World War II


Bill Sloan - 2007
    With the same "grunt's-eye-view" narrative style that distinguished his Brotherhood of Heroes (on the Battle of Peleliu), Bill Sloan presents a gripping and uniquely personal saga of heroism and sacrifice in which at least 115,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen from both sides were killed, as were nearly 150,000 civilians caught in the crossfire or encouraged to commit suicide by Japanese troops. It is a story set against a panorama of more than 1,500 American ships, nearly two thousand Japanese kamikazes sworn to sink those ships, and two huge armies locked in a no-quarter struggle to the death -- the 541,000 GIs and Marines of the U.S. Tenth Army, and Japan's 110,000-man 32nd Army. Woven into the broader narrative, in "Band of Brothers" style, are the personal stories of men who endured this epic battle and were interviewed by the author. In many cases, their experiences are told here in print for the first time.A few days after Japanese defenders surprised American assault troops by allowing them to land virtually unopposed on April 1, 1945, scouts of the 96th Division stumbled onto the outerworks of formidable Japanese defenses near Kakazu Ridge, where fierce fighting erupted. It would continue without respite for nearly three months as American forces used every weapon and strategy at their disposal to break through three cunningly designed Japanese lines of defense, each anchored by commanding high ground, intricate underground installations, and massed artillery. When one line was about to be breached, the Japanese would slip away to the next one, forcing the Americans to repeat the same exhausting and deadly "corkscrew and blowtorch" assaults all over again.Much of the action in "The Ultimate Battle" unfolds among men pinned down under relentless fire on disputed hillsides, in the ruins of shell-blasted villages, and inside stricken tanks and armored cars. Sloan also takes readers aboard flaming ships and into the cockpits of night-fighter aircraft to capture the horror and heroism of men and vessels besieged by kamikazes.When the battle was over, most of the GIs, Marines, and sailors who survived it were too worn out to celebrate. More than 49,000 of their comrades had been killed or wounded, and they knew that the even more brutal invasion of Japan's home islands loomed just ahead. But as Sloan makes clear, the slaughter at Okinawa helped to convince President Truman to use the atomic bomb against Japanese cities in the hope of shortening the war and averting a far more horrific loss of life."The Ultimate Battle" is a searing and unforgettable recreation of the Okinawa campaign as it was experienced by men who were there. It is filled with fresh insights that only those men can provide.

Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal


James D. Hornfischer - 2011
    Hornfischer created essential and enduring narratives about America’s World War II Navy, works of unique immediacy distinguished by rich portraits of ordinary men in extremis and exclusive new information. Now he does the same for the deadliest, most pivotal naval campaign of the Pacific war: Guadalcanal.Neptune’s Inferno is at once the most epic and the most intimate account ever written of the contest for control of the seaways of the Solomon Islands, America’s first concerted offensive against the Imperial Japanese juggernaut and the true turning point of the Pacific conflict. This grim, protracted campaign has long been heralded as a Marine victory. Now, with his powerful portrait of the Navy’s sacrifice—three sailors died at sea for every man lost ashore—Hornfischer tells for the first time the full story of the men who fought in destroyers, cruisers,  and battleships in the narrow, deadly waters of “Ironbottom Sound.” Here, in brilliant cinematic detail, are the seven major naval actions that began in August of 1942, a time when the war seemed unwinnable and America fought on a shoestring, with the outcome always in doubt. But at Guadalcanal the U.S. proved it had the implacable will to match the Imperial war machine blow for violent blow. Working from new interviews with survivors, unpublished eyewitness accounts, and newly available documents, Hornfischer paints a vivid picture of the officers and enlisted men who took on the Japanese in America’s hour of need: Vice Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, who took command of the faltering South Pacific Area from his aloof, overwhelmed predecessor and became a national hero; the brilliant Rear Admiral Norman Scott, who died even as he showed his command how to fight and win; Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan, the folksy and genteel “Uncle Dan,” lost in the strobe-lit chaos of his burning flagship; Rear Admiral Willis Lee, who took vengeance two nights later in a legendary showdown with the Japanese battleship Kirishima; the five Sullivan brothers, all killed in the shocking destruction of the Juneau; and many others, all vividly brought to life.The first major work on this essential subject in almost two decades, Neptune’s Inferno does what all great battle narratives do: It cuts through the smoke and fog to tell the gripping human stories behind the momentous events and critical decisions that altered the course of history and shaped so many lives. This is a thrilling achievement from a master historian at the very top of his game.

Tarawa: The Incredible Story of One of World War II's Bloodiest Battles


Robert Sherrod - 1944
    In mid-November of that year, the United States waged a bloody campaign on Betio Island in the Tarawa Atoll, the most heavily fortified Japanese territory in the entire Pacific. They were fighting to wrest control of the island to stage the next big push toward Japan—and one journalist was there to chronicle the horror. Dive into war correspondent Robert Sherrod’s battlefield account as he goes ashore with the assault troops of the U.S. Marines 2nd Marine Division in Tarawa. Follow the story of the U.S. Army 27th Infantry Division as nearly 35,000 troops take on less than 5,000 Japanese defenders in one of the most savage engagements of the war. By the end of the battle, only seventeen Japanese soldiers were still alive.This story, a must for any history buff, tells the ins and outs of life alongside the U.S. Marines in this lesser-known battle of World War II. The battle itself carried on for three days, but Sherrod, a dedicated journalist, remained in Tarawa until the very end, and through his writing, shares every detail.

First to Jump: How the Band of Brothers was Aided by the Brave Paratroopers of Pathfinders Com pany


Jerome Preisler - 2014
    Army Pathfinders. The vanguard of the Allied forces in World War II Europe. Countless times they preceded invasions and battles vital to bringing the enemy to its knees.Because before the front lines could move forward, the Pathfinders had to move behind enemy lines . . .The first into combat, and the last out, their advance jumps into enemy territory were considered suicide missions by those who sent them into action. World War Two’s special operations commandos, they relied on their stealth, expert prowess, and matchless courage and audacity to set the stage for airborne drops and glider landings throughout Europe.They were born of hard necessity. After the invasion of Sicily almost ended in disaster, General Jim Gavin was determined to form an all-new unit of specialized soldiers who would jump ahead of the airborne forces—including the now legendary Easy Company—without any additional support, stealing across enemy terrain to scout and mark out drop zones with a unique array of homing equipment.Sporting Mohawk haircuts, war paint, and an attitude of brash confidence, they were the best of the best. Their heroic feats behind the lines were critical to nearly all of the Allies’ major victories from Normandy to snowy Bastogne—where they saved the day for thousands of besieged American troops in an operation almost forgotten by history—to the attack on the Ruhr River in Germany.This is the story of the U.S. Army Pathfinders—their training, bonding, and battlefield exploits—told from the perspectives of the daring men who jumped and the equally bold transport crews who risked everything to fly them into action.INCLUDES PHOTOS

The Pacific


Hugh Ambrose - 2009
    From the debacle in Bataan, to the miracle at Midway and the relentless vortex of Guadalcanal, their solemn oaths to their country later led one to the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot and the others to the coral strongholds of Peleliu, the black terraces of Iwo Jima and the killing fields of Okinawa, until at last the survivors enjoyed a triumphant, yet uneasy, return home. In The Pacific, Hugh Ambrose focuses on the real-life stories of the five men who put their lives on the line for our country. To deepen the story revealed in the miniseries and go beyond it, the book dares to chart a great ocean of enmity known as The Pacific and the brave men who fought. Some considered war a profession, others enlisted as citizen soldiers. Each man served in a different part of the war, but their respective duties required every ounce of their courage and their strength to defeat an enemy who preferred suicide to surrender. The medals for valor which were pinned on three of them came at a shocking price-a price paid in full by all.

Okinawa: The Last Battle


Roy Edgar Appleman - 1948
     The battle for the island of Okinawa would last for the next eighty-two days. Through the course of this dramatic battle over 20,000 Americans would lose their lives and over 75,000 Japanese were killed in one of the bloodiest clashes of World War Two. Okinawa: The Last Battle is a remarkably detailed account of this monumental event by four soldiers who witnessed the action first-hand. They take the reader to heart of the fight explaining the preparations for the invasion, under its codename Operation Iceberg, through to the major conflicts at the beachhead, Ie Shima, breaking through the defenses surrounding Shuri and overcoming the last-ditch counter-offenses of the Japanese. This book is essential reading for anyone interested the Pacific Theater and how the United States Marines and Army were able to overcome the Japanese in the last few months of the war. Corporal Eugene B. Sledge said of the battle: "The Japanese fought to win - it was a savage, brutal, inhumane, exhausting and dirty business." Okinawa: The Last Battle was written by U. S. Army historians who participated in the Ryukyus campaign as members of a group organized to accompany the American forces to the Ryukyus and secure at first hand the materials for a history of their operations. Maj. Roy E. Appleman was attached to the 27th Division, M/Sgt. James M. Burns and Lt. Col. Stevens accompanied the Tenth Army headquarters and Capt. Russell A. Gugeler served with the 7th Division on Okinawa. After the war many of the authors went on to become prominent military historians. Appleman passed away in 1996, Burns in 2014, Stevens in 2001 and Gugeler in 1985. Their work was first published in 1948.

Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The Disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II (General Military)


Jeffrey R. Cox - 2013
    In the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese juggernaut quickly racked up victory after victory. Desperate to secure resource-rich regions in the Pacific and ensure their continued dominance of South East Asia, Japanese forces were determined in their efforts to conquer Malaya, Singapore and the oil-rich islands around Java Sea - Borneo, Sumatra and Java itself.  In the face of this seemingly unstoppable tide stood a small Allied force - American, Australian, British and Dutch. Thrown together by circumstance; cut off from reinforcements or in many cases retreat; operating with old, obsolete equipment and dwindling supplies, there was little hope of victory. Indeed, the month-long Java Sea Campaign, as it subsequently became known, quickly evolved from a traditional test of arms into a test of character. In the face of a relentless enemy and outnumbered, outgunned and alone, they defiantly held on, attempting to buy weeks, days, even hours until a better line of defense - and offense - could be established.  These were the men of the US Asiatic Feet, the British Far Eastern Fleet, the Royal Netherlands Navy's East Indies Squadron and the Royal Australian Navy. And their supporting units like Patrol Wing Ten, the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service, the US Army Air Force's 17th Pursuit Squadron and submarines of all these fine nations. A campaign that has been too often either ignored by historians or criticised for poor command decisions, this is the story of the sailors and the airmen at the sharp end, and how they fought and endured the first months of the War in the Pacific.

A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight


Robert J. Mrazek - 2008
    fleet win critical victories at Midway and Guadalcanal. These 35 American men--many flying outmoded aircraft--changed the course of history, going on to become the war's most decorated naval air squadron, while suffering the heaviest losses in U.S. naval aviation history. Mrazek paints moving portraits of the men in the squadron, and exposes a shocking cover-up that cost many lives. Filled with thrilling scenes of battle, betrayal, and sacrifice, A DAWN LIKE THUNDERis destined to become a classic in the literature of World War II.

The Battle of Midway


Craig L. Symonds - 2011
    At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever.In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice. Symonds begins with the arrival of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese attack, and describes the key events leading to the climactic battle, including both Coral Sea--the first battle in history against opposing carrier forces--and Jimmy Doolittle's daring raid of Tokyo. He focuses throughout on the people involved, offering telling portraits of Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance and numerous other Americans, as well as the leading Japanese figures, including the poker-loving Admiral Yamamoto. Indeed, Symonds sheds much light on the aspects of Japanese culture--such as their single-minded devotion to combat, which led to poorly armored planes and inadequate fire-safety measures on their ships--that contributed to their defeat. The author's account of the battle itself is masterful, weaving together the many disparate threads of attack--attacks which failed in the early going--that ultimately created a five-minute window in which three of the four Japanese carriers were mortally wounded, changing the course of the Pacific war in an eye-blink.Symonds is the first historian to argue that the victory at Midway was not simply a matter of luck, pointing out that Nimitz had equal forces, superior intelligence, and the element of surprise. Nimitz had a strong hand, Symonds concludes, and he rightly expected to win.

The Twilight Warriors: The Deadliest Naval Battle of World War II and the Men Who Fought It


Robert Gandt - 2010
    The end of World War II finally appears to be nearing. The Third Reich is collapsing in Europe, and the Americans are overpowering the once-mighty Japanese Empire in the Pacific. For a group of young pilots trained in the twilight of the war, the greatest worry is that it will end before they have a chance to face the enemy. They call themselves Tail End Charlies. They fly at the tail end of formations, stand at the tail end of chow lines, and now they are catching the tail end of the war. What they don’t know is that they will be key players in the bloodiest and most difficult of naval battles—not only of World War II but in all of American history.The Twilight Warriors relives the drama of the world’s last great naval campaign. From the cockpit of a Corsair fighter we gaze down at the Japanese task force racing to destroy the American amphibious force at Okinawa. Through the eyes of the men on the destroyers assigned to picket ship duty, we experience the terror as wave after wave of kamikazes crash into their ships. Standing on the deck of the legendary superbattleship Yamato, we watch Japan’s last hope for victory die in a tableau of gunfire and explosions.Among the Tail End Charlies are men such as a twenty-two-year-old former art student who grows to manhood on the day of his first mission over Japan and his best friend, a ladies’ man and intrepid fighter pilot whose life abruptly changes when his Corsair goes down off the enemy shore. Another is a young Texan lieutenant who volunteers for the most dangerous flying job in the fleet—intercepting kamikazes at night over the blackened Pacific. Their leader is a charismatic officer who rises to greatness in the crucible of Okinawa. Directing the vast armada of sea, air, and land forces is a cast of brilliant and flawed commanders—from the imperturbable admiral and master of carrier warfare to the controversial soldier assigned to command the land forces. The fate of the Americans at Okinawa is intertwined with the lives of the “young gods”— the honor-bound Japanese airmen who swarm like killer bees toward the U.S. ships. The kamikazes are dispatched on their deadly one-way missions by a classic samurai warrior who vows that he will follow them to a warrior’s grave.The ferocity of the Okinawa fighting stuns the world. Before it ends, the long battle will cost more American lives, ships, and aircraft than any naval engagement in U.S. history. More than simply the account of a historic battle, The Twilight Warriors brings to life the human side of an epic conflict. It is the story of young Americans at war in the air and on the sea—and of their enigmatic, fanatically courageous enemy.

The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach


John C. McManus - 2014
    McManus has written a gripping history that will stand as the last word on this titanic battle. Nicknamed the Big Red One, 1st Division had fought from North Africa to Sicily, earning a reputation as stalwart warriors on the front lines and rabble-rousers in the rear. Yet on D-Day, these jaded combat veterans melded with fresh-faced replacements to accomplish one of the most challenging and deadly missions ever. As the men hit the beach, their equipment destroyed or washed away, soldiers cut down by the dozens, courageous heroes emerged: men such as Sergeant Raymond Strojny, who grabbed a bazooka and engaged in a death duel with a fortified German antitank gun; T/5 Joe Pinder, a former minor-league pitcher who braved enemy fire to save a vital radio; Lieutenant John Spalding, a former sportswriter, and Sergeant Phil Streczyk, a truck driver, who together demolished a German strong point overlooking Easy Red, where hundreds of Americans had landed.Along the way, McManus explores the Gap Assault Team engineers who dealt with the extensive mines and obstacles, suffering nearly a fifty percent casualty rate; highlights officers such as Brigadier General Willard Wyman and Colonel George Taylor, who led the way to victory; and punctures scores of myths surrounding this long-misunderstood battle.The Dead and Those About to Die draws on a rich array of new or recently unearthed sources, including interviews with veterans. The result is history at its finest, the unforgettable story of the Big Red One’s nineteen hours of hell—and their ultimate triumph—on June 6, 1944.INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHS

Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor


James M. Scott - 2015
    Army bombers under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel Japan’s factories, refineries, and dockyards in retaliation for their attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid buoyed America’s morale, and prompted an ill-fated Japanese attempt to seize Midway that turned the tide of the war. But it came at a horrific cost: an estimated 250,000 Chinese died in retaliation by the Japanese. Deeply researched and brilliantly written, Target Tokyo has been hailed as the definitive account of one of America’s most daring military operations.