The Pacific: Hell was an Ocean Away, Hugh Ambrose

The Pacific: Hell was an Ocean Away, Hugh Ambrose

The Pacific: Hell was an Ocean Away, Hugh Ambrose

The Pacific: Hell was an Ocean Away, Hugh Ambrose

Closely linked to the HBO TV series, this sizable book follows the experiences of five US servicemen (four Marines and a Navy aviator) during the four years of the Pacific War, tracing their experiences from the Japanese invasion of the Philippines to the preparations for the invasion of Japan, through the battles of Midway and Guadalcanal and the long island hopping campaign that followed.

Perhaps the biggest difference between this and Band of Brothers is that the men included here served in different locations and services, while the earlier series followed a single company. As a result we get a broader but slightly less focused picture of the war in the Pacific compared to Band of Brothers' view of the European War. This introduces a danger that the book might become a little disjointed, but Ambrose has skilfully weaved his separate stories together to produce a generally coherent whole, and the careers of several of the men overlap on a number of occasions.

The big benefit of this approach is that we get to see more aspects of the war in the Pacific than if we were following a single unit. The five men include one who was on the Philippines during the Japanese invasion, a Navy pilot who fought at Midway, a Medal of Honor winner from Guadalcanal, a teenage recruit to the Marines and Eugune Sledge, the author of With the Old Breed, one of the best first hand accounts of the fighting to emerge from the Second World War. The focus is very much on the Marine Corps's war - the US Army barely gets a mention, and the US Navy's powerful surface fleet is reduced to the role of a supporting player.

All five of these men's stories are remarkable in their own right, so bringing them all together has produced a very impressive piece of work, and is a fitting tribute to the men who fought in the Pacific.

Chapters
Act I: House of Cards
Act II: Even Up and Squared Off
Act III: The Pause that Refreshes
Act IV: Haze Gray and Underway
Act V: Legacies

Author: Hugh Ambrose
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 508
Publisher: Canongate
Year: 2010



Pacific: Hell was an ocean away The Paperback – 1 March 2010

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The Pacific: Hell Was an Ocean Away पेपरबैक – सचित्र, 6 सितंबर 2011

&ldquoDoing for the war against Japan what Band of Brothers did for the war against Germany, Ambrose&rsquos history effectively immerses readers in the Good War&rsquos second front.&rdquo&mdashPublishers Weekly

&ldquoAmbrose&rsquos narrative is convincing. [he] shows the possibilities of readable and complex military history.&rdquo&mdashDr. Allan Millett, Director, Eisenhower Center for American Studies, The National World War II Museum

About the Author

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

First Lieutenant Austin Shofner woke up expecting enemy bombers to arrive overhead any second. Just after three a.m. his friend Hugh had burst into the cottage where he was sleeping on the floor and said, &ldquoShof, Shof, wake up. I just got a message in from the CinCPAC saying that war with Japan is to be declared within the hour. I&rsquove gone through all the Officer of the Day&rsquos instructions, and there isn&rsquot a thing in there about what to do when war is declared.&rdquo With the enemy&rsquos strike imminent, Lieutenant Shofner took the next logical step. &ldquoGo wake up the old man.&rdquo

&ldquoOh,&rdquo Hugh replied, &ldquoI couldn&rsquot do that.&rdquo Even groggy with sleep, Shofner understood his reluctance. The chain of command dictated that Lieutenant Hugh Nutter report to his battalion commander, not directly to the regimental commander. Speaking to a colonel in the Marine Corps was like speaking to God. The situation required it though. &ldquoYou damn fool, get going, pass the buck up.&rdquo At this Hugh took off running into the darkness surrounding the navy base on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines.

Shofner followed quickly, running down to the docks, where the enlisted men were billeted in an old warehouse. He saw Hugh stumble into a hole and fall, but he didn&rsquot stop to help. The whistle on the power station sounded. The sentry at the main gate began ringing the old ship&rsquos bell. The men were already awake and shouting when Shofner ran into the barracks and ordered them to fall out. The bugler sounded the Call to Arms. Someone ordered the lights kept off, so as not to give the enemy&rsquos planes a target.

His men needed a few minutes to get dressed and assembled. Shofner ran to find the cooks and get them preparing chow. Then he went to find his battalion commander. Beyond the run-down warehouse where his men bunked, away from the rows of tents pitched on the rifle range where others were billeted, stood the handsome fort built by the Spanish. Its graceful arches had long since been landscaped, so Shofner darted up the road lined by acacia trees to a pathway bordered by brilliant red hibiscus and gardenias. He found some of the senior officers of the Fourth Marine Regiment sitting together. They had received word from Admiral Hart&rsquos headquarters sixty miles away in Manila that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Their calmness surprised him.

Shofner should not have been taken aback. Every man in the room had been expecting war with the Empire of Japan. They had thought the war would start somewhere else, most likely in China. Up until a week ago, their regiment had been based in Shanghai. They had watched the emperor&rsquos troops steadily advance in China over the past few years as more and more divisions of the Imperial Japanese Army landed. The Japanese government had established a puppet government to rule a vast area in northern China it had renamed Manchukuo.

The Fourth Marines, well short of full strength at about eight hundred men, had been in no position to defend its quarter of Shanghai, much less protect U.S. interests in China. The situation had become so tense the marine officers concocted a plan in case of a sudden attack. They would fight their way toward an area of China not conquered by Japan. If the regiment was stopped, its men would be told essentially to &ldquorun for your life.&rdquo The officers around the table this morning were thankful the U.S. government finally had yielded to the empire&rsquos dominance and pulled them out in late November 1941, at what now looked like the last possible moment.

Upon their arrival at Olongapo Naval Base on December 1, the Fourth Marines became part of Admiral Hart&rsquos Asiatic Fleet, whose cruisers and destroyers were anchored in Manila Harbor, on the other side of the peninsula from where they were sitting. Along with the fleet, U.S. forces included General Douglas Macarthur&rsquos 31,000 U.S. Army troops as well as the 120,000 officers and men of the Philippine National Army. Hart and MacArthur had been preparing for war with the Empire of Japan for years. The emperor must have been nuts to attack the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. Now that he had, his ships and planes were sure to be on their way here, to the island of Luzon, which held the capital of the Philippine government and the headquarters of the U.S. forces. The enemy&rsquos first strike against them, the officers agreed, would likely be by bombers flying off Formosa.

With all this strategic talk, Shofner could see that no orders were in the offing, so he went back to his men. His headquarters company had assembled on the parade ground along with the men from the infantry companies. The word being passed around was succinct: &ldquojaps blew the hell out of Pearl Harbor.&rdquo He confirmed the news not with fear, but with some relish. Lieutenant Austin &ldquoShifty&rdquo Shofner of Shelbyville, Tennessee, had always loved a good fight. Of medium height but robust of build, he loved football, wrestling, and gambling of any kind. He did not think much of the Japanese. He told his men that an attack was expected any moment. Live ammunition would be issued immediately. Next came a sly grin. &ldquoOur play days are now over and we can start earning our money.&rdquo

The marines waited on the parade ground until the battalion commander arrived to address them. All liberties were canceled. The regimental band was being dissolved, as was the small detachment of marines that manned the naval stationwhen the fourth Marines arrived. These men would be formed into rifle platoons, which would then be divided among the rifle companies. Every man was needed because they had to defend not only Olongapo Naval station, but another, smaller one at Mariveles, on the tip of the Bataan Peninsula. The 1st Battalion drew the job of protecting Mariveles. It would depart immediately.

The departure decreased the regiment by not quite half, leaving it the 2nd Battalion, Shofner&rsquos headquarters and service company, and a unit of navy medical personnel. The riflemen got to work creating defensive positions. They dug foxholes, emplaced their cannons, and strung barbed wire to stop a beach assault. They located caches of ammunition in handy places and surrounded them with sandbags. Defending Olongapo also meant protecting the navy&rsquos squadron of long-range scout planes, the PBYs. When not on patrol these flying boats swung at their anchors just off the dock. The marines positioned their machine guns to fire at attacking planes. Roadblocks were established around the base, although this was not much of a job since the only civilization nearby was the small town of Olongapo.

The men put their backs into the work. Every marine had seen the Japanese soldiers in action on the other side of street barricades in Shanghai. They had witnessed how brutal and violent they were to unarmed civilians. Most of them had heard what the Japanese had done to the people of Nanking. So they knew what to expect from a Japanese invasion. Shofner felt a twinge of embarrassment that these preparations had waited until now. The biggest exercise undertaken since their arrival had been a hike to a swimming beach. Shofner thought back to the day before, December 7, when he had spent the entire day looking for a spot to show movies. He let those thoughts go. His assignment was to create a bivouac for the battalion away from the naval station. The enemy&rsquos bombers were sure to aim for the warehouses and the fort. As noon on the eighth approached, he moved with the alacrity for which he was known. He took his company across the golf course, forded a creek, and began setting up camp in a mangrove swamp.

On the other side of the International Date Line, the afternoon of December 7 found Ensign Vernon &ldquoMike&rdquo Micheel of the United States Navy preparing to do battle with the Imperial Japanese Navy. He carried a sheaf of papers in his hands as he walked around the navy&rsquos air station in San Diego, known as North Island. Despite the frenzy around him, Mike moved with deliberate haste. He stopped at the different departments on the base: the Time Keeper, the Storeroom Keeper, the Chief Flight Instructor, and so forth, endeavoring to get his paperwork in order. A few hours before he and the other pilots of his training group, officially known as the Advanced Carrier Training Unit (ACTU), had been told that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Their pilot training was being cut short. They would board USS Saratoga immediately and go to war.

The Sara, as her crew called her, could be seen from almost anywhere Mike walked. She was the navy&rsquos largest aircraft carrier and towered over North Island, the collection of landing strips and aircraft hangars on the isthmus that formed San Diego Harbor. She was the center of attention, surrounded by cranes and gangways. Several squadrons, which included maintenance personnel as well as the pilots, gunners, and airplanes, were being loaded aboard. Most of these crews had been scheduled to board the Sara today. The big fleet carrier had been refitted in a shipyard up the coast and, strangely, arrived a few minutes before the declaration of war. But new guys like Mike had had no such expectation.

Micheel prepared himself for active duty without the burning desire for revenge on the sneaky enemy to which most everyone around him pledged themselves. He knew he wasn&rsquot ready. He had not landed a plane on a carrier. Most of his flight time had been logged in biplanes. He had flown some hours in single-wing metal planes, but he had only just begun to fly the navy&rsquos new combat aircraft. Even when the Sara&rsquos torpedo defense alarm sounded and an attack appeared imminent, it was not in Mike&rsquos nature to let anger or ego overwhelm his assessment.

Mike did not consider himself a natural pilot. He had not grown up making paper planes and following the exploits of pioneers like Charles Lindbergh. In 1940, the twenty-four-year-old dairy farmer went down to the draft board and discovered that he would be drafted in early 1941. If he enlisted, he could choose his service. His experiences in the ROTC, which had helped pay for college, had instilled in him a strong desire to avoid sleeping in a pup tent and eating cold rations. On a tip from a friend, he sought out a navy recruiter. The recruiter assured him that life in the navy was a whole lot better than in the infantry, but then he noticed Mike&rsquos college degree. &ldquoYou know, we&rsquove got another place that you would fit, and that would be in the navy air corps. . . . It&rsquos the same thing as being on the ship with the regular navy people, but you get paid more.&rdquo

&ldquoWell, that sounds good,&rdquo Mike replied without enthusiasm. He had ridden on a plane once. &ldquoIt was all right. But I wasn&rsquot thrilled about it.&rdquo The recruiter, like all good recruiters, promised, &ldquoWell, you can get a chance to try it. If you don&rsquot like it, you can always switch back to the regular navy.&rdquo

More than a year later, Mike arrived at North Island with a mission that placed him at the forefront of modern naval warfare. When civilians noticed the gold wings on his dress uniform, they usually assumed that he was a fighter pilot. The nation&rsquos memories of World War I were laced with the stories of fighter pilots dueling with the enemy across the heavens at hundreds of miles an hour. That heady mix of glam¬our and prestige also had fired the imaginations of the men with whom Mike had gone through flight training. Each cadet strove to be the best because only the best pilots became fighter pilots. When they graduated from the Naval Flight School at Pensacola, the new ensigns listed their preferred duty.

Though he had graduated in the top quarter of his class, and been offered the chance to become an instructor, Ensign Micheel listed dive-bomber as his top choice. While few had heard of it before their training, the dive-bomber was also a carrier-based plane. It served on the front line of America&rsquos armed forces. Instead of knock¬ing down the enemy&rsquos planes, its mission was to find the enemy&rsquos ships and sink them. Mike wanted to fly from a carrier. In his usual quiet way he figured out that the surest way for him to become a carrier pilot was to become a dive-bomber. Many of his fellow classmates had listed fighter pilot as their first choice. Most of them would later find themselves behind the yoke of a four-engine bomber. Although of¬ficially ordered to a scouting squadron, he essentially received his first choice. Scouts and bombers flew the same plane and shared the same mission. Mike came to North Island to improve his navigation enough to be a great scout, but also to learn the art of destroying ships, especially enemy carriers.

Now he filed his paperwork and walked to the Bachelor Officers&rsquo Quarters to pack his bags without once having attempted the difficult maneuver of dive-bombing. As the sun set, a blackout order added to the confusion and tension. Men who had been on liberty or on leave continued to arrive, full of questions. Micheel and the other new pilots headed for the Sara and the moment they had been work¬ing toward. They boarded an aircraft carrier for the first time. Every space was being crammed with every pilot, mechanic, airplane, bullet, and bomb that could be had. Rumors ran wild. The new pilots found their way to officer country, the deck where officers&rsquo staterooms were located.

The loading went on through the night, without outside lights. Then dawn broke. The Sara stood out from North Island just before ten a.m. on December 8. The clang of the ship&rsquos general quarters alarm sounded minutes later. Before she departed, however, calmer heads had prevailed. Micheel and the other trainees had been ordered off. As the great ship headed for open sea, those watching her from the dock would have assumed the Sara and her escort of three destroyers were headed straight into combat.

Monday&rsquos newspapers carried the story of the &ldquoJap attack on Pearl Harbor&rdquo as well as warnings from military and civilian leaders that an attack on the West Coast was likely. It fell to the servicemen of North Island to defend San Diego. The detachment of marines on the base began digging foxholes, setting up their guns, and protecting key buildings with stacks of sandbags. The airmen hardly knew how to prepare. The Sara had taken all of the combat planes assigned to Mike&rsquos training unit. All they had to fly were the ancient &ldquoBrewster Buffalo&rdquo and the SNJ, nicknamed the &ldquoYellow Peril&rdquo because of its bright color and the inexperienced students who flew it.


Contents

The following actors played starring roles in multiple episodes and are split by the principal character they appear in relation to. Characters from the different plot strands do occasionally interact, while Sidney Phillips both serves with Leckie and is the best friend of Sledge.

    as Pfc.Robert Leckie (1920–2001) as Pfc. Sidney Phillips (1924–2015) as Pfc. Lew "Chuckler" Juergens (1918–1982) as Pfc. Wilbur "Runner" Conley (1921–1997) as Pfc. Bill "Hoosier" Smith (1922–1985) as 2nd Lt. Stone as 1st Lt. Hugh Corrigan (1920–2005) as Pfc. Ronnie Gibson as Vera Keller as Pfc. Eugene Sledge (1923–2001) as Cpl. Merriell "Snafu" Shelton (1922–1993) as Sgt. R.V. Burgin (1922–2019)
    as Pfc. Bill Leyden (1926–2008) as Mary Frank Sledge
  • Conor O'Farrell as Dr. Sledge
  • Dylan Young as Pfc. Jay De L'Eau (1923–1997) as 1st Lt. Edward "Hillbilly" Jones (1917–1944)
  • Scott Gibson as Capt.Andrew Haldane (1917–1944) as Sgt. Elmo "Gunny" Haney (1898–1979) as Sgt.John Basilone (1916–1945)
  • Joshua Bitton as Sgt. J.P. Morgan (1919–1980) as Lt. Col.Lewis "Chesty" Puller (1898–1971) as Sgt. Manuel Rodriguez (1922−1942) as Sgt. Lena Basilone (1913–1999)

The Pacific was produced by Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman in association with HBO Miniseries, Playtone, DreamWorks, Seven Network and Sky Movies. [8] [9] Seven and Sky both invested in the project for the right to broadcast it in Australia and the United Kingdom respectively. [10] Nine Network has previously broadcast the HBO productions of Band of Brothers. Nine had a broadcast deal with HBO's parent Warner Bros., but then HBO started to distribute its own productions separately. [11] In April 2007, the producers set up a production office in Melbourne and began casting. [12]

Originally the project was estimated at $100 million to produce, [11] but ended up costing over $200 million, making The Pacific the most expensive television miniseries ever created by any network. [13] [14] [15] According to The Sydney Morning Herald the series cost $270 million, with an estimated A$134 million of that spent in Australia. [16] The Australian newspaper Herald Sun estimates that it brought 4,000 jobs and generated A$180 million for the Australian economy. [17]

Filming of the miniseries in Australia started on August 10, 2007, [18] and finished in late May 2008. [19] From August until November 2007 [20] filming took place at locations in and around Port Douglas, Queensland including Mossman, Queensland [21] Drumsara Plantation, Mowbray National Park [21] and beaches at Rocky Point, Queensland. [21] Production then moved to rural Victoria, [22] [23] in the You Yangs near Lara (from November–December 2007), [24] then at a sand quarry on Sandy Creek Road near Geelong, Victoria until February 2008. [25] Melbourne city locations were used in late 2007 and through 2008 including Central City Studios at Melbourne Docklands (March 2008) [26] [27] Flinders Street (between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, February 1–4, 2008) [28] [29] the intersection of Swanston and Flinders streets (February 2008) [30] Flinders Street station (February 2–3, 2008). [31] Other suburban locations included Mornington Railway, Bundoora, Victoria, [32] specifically the Ernest Jones Hall at the La Trobe University campus, Bundoora (late May 2008) [33] the Railway Hotel, South Melbourne (December 2007) [34] Scotch College, Melbourne (December 2007) [34] Melbourne High School (December 2007). [34] [35]

The series's score was written by Hans Zimmer, Geoff Zanelli and Blake Neely and was released on March 9, 2010. [36]

Historian Hugh Ambrose, son of Band of Brothers author Stephen E. Ambrose, wrote the official tie-in book to the miniseries, [37] The Pacific: Hell was an Ocean Away (2011), which follows the stories of two of the featured men from the miniseries, Basilone and Sledge, as well as stories of Sledge's close friend Sidney Phillips and two men not featured in the series, marine officer Austin Shofner and US Navy pilot Vernon Micheel. The different cast provides a wider view of the Pacific theatre, allowing the book to include the fall of the Philippines, Midway, Philippine Sea and Luzon and expand the narrative to include depictions of life as experienced by prisoners of war, senior officers and the development of naval aviation. It was published in the UK and the US in March 2010 and Ambrose gave a webcast interview about the book at the Pritzker Military Library on April 15, 2010. [38] [39]

The series premiered in the US and Canada on March 14, 2010, on HBO. [40] HBO Asia premiered The Pacific at 9 pm on April 3, 2010, with the first two episodes being consecutively broadcast in the first week. Singapore, Hong Kong, and Indonesia had dual language available. Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Philippines broadcasts were available in high-definition on the HBO Asia HD Channel. [41] The Pacific began broadcast on April 5, 2010 on Sky Movies in the United Kingdom and Ireland. [42] In Portugal, the series was broadcast on April 5, 2010 on AXN and in HD on AXN HD two days after the original broadcast in the US. The series broadcast commenced in Australia on Channel 7 on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, at 8:30 pm. [43] In Denmark, Norway, Finland, France and Sweden, the series began broadcasting on Canal+ in Turkey, CNBC-e on April 18, 2010 in the Netherlands, on April 7, 2010 on Veronica and in Greece, on Nova Cinema on April 10, 2010. In New Zealand, the series began broadcasting on April 12, 2010 on TV One. In Italy, the miniseries began broadcast on May 9, 2010 on Sky Cinema 1 in Germany, on July 15, 2010 on Kabel eins. In Japan, the miniseries started July 18, 2010 on WOWOW. [44] In South Africa, the miniseries started broadcasting on May 5, 2010 on the Mnet channel. In the US, the rights to the series were picked up by Ovation and it started airing sometime in 2019.

Marketing Edit

The first official US trailer for The Pacific aired on HBO prior to the season 2 premiere of True Blood on June 14, 2009. It showed footage of the three main characters, including a conversation between Leckie and Sledge, Basilone's marriage and numerous combat scenes. The trailer concluded with "2010" displayed on-screen -alluding to and confirming the series release date. A second trailer was released on the HBO website after which the date "March 2010" is displayed, giving a more specific series release date. On January 14, 2010, Comcast added on-demand content from the series, including a scene from The Pacific, interviews with the producers and character profiles. [45] Another trailer was shown in February 2010 during Super Bowl XLIV, depicting several combat scenes. An extended trailer (3:47) to the miniseries can be viewed on the series' official website.

No. TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
1"Part One"
"Guadalcanal/Leckie"
Tim Van PattenBruce C. McKennaMarch 14, 2010 ( 2010-03-14 ) 3.08 [46]
Robert Leckie and the 1st Marines land on Guadalcanal and take part in the Battle of the Tenaru. Eugene Sledge persuades his parents to allow him to join the war. The Battle of Savo Island is briefly portrayed.
2"Part Two"
"Basilone"
David NutterBruce C. McKennaMarch 21, 2010 ( 2010-03-21 ) 2.79 [47]
John Basilone and the 7th Marines land on Guadalcanal to bolster the defenses around Henderson Field. Basilone, attempting to relocate his machine gun to a better position, bare-handedly cradles the hot barrel while in action, severely burning his arms, and continues fighting.
3"Part Three"
"Melbourne"
Jeremy PodeswaGeorge Pelecanos and Michelle AshfordMarch 28, 2010 ( 2010-03-28 ) 2.77 [48]
The 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal is relieved and arrives in Melbourne, Australia. Leckie falls in love with Stella Karamanlis, an Australian girl of Greek descent, who invites him to stay at her parents' home. Basilone receives the Medal of Honor and is sent home to sell war bonds.
4"Part Four"
"Gloucester/Pavuvu/Banika"
Graham YostRobert Schenkkan and Graham YostApril 4, 2010 ( 2010-04-04 ) 2.52 [49]
Eugene Sledge enlists in the Marines and trains for combat, while Leckie and the 1st Marine Division are put into action at Cape Gloucester. After their action on Cape Gloucester, Leckie and 1st Marine Division arrive in Pavuvu, which serves as temporary home to the 1st Marine Division. Leckie is treated for nocturnal enuresis caused by combat stress.
5"Part Five"
"Peleliu Landing"
Carl FranklinLaurence Andries and Bruce C. McKennaApril 11, 2010 ( 2010-04-11 ) 2.71 [50]
Sledge is reunited with an old friend, Sidney Phillips. Leckie integrates himself back into the front-line lifestyle. Sledge and Leckie land with the 1st Marine Division at Peleliu.
6"Part Six"
"Peleliu Airfield"
Tony ToBruce C. McKenna, Laurence Andries, and Robert SchenkkanApril 18, 2010 ( 2010-04-18 ) 2.38 [51]
The Marines move to capture Peleliu's vital airfield. Leckie is wounded by a blast concussion during the battle while trying to relay a message to the corpsman. With a face full of shrapnel and limited mobility, he is evacuated and sent to recuperate on a hospital ship as the fighting continues.
7"Part Seven"
"Peleliu Hills"
Tim Van PattenBruce C. McKennaApril 25, 2010 ( 2010-04-25 ) 2.55 [52]
Sledge and the 5th Marines move into Peleliu's Bloody Nose Ridge to face the Japanese. Andrew "Ack-Ack" Haldane is shot and killed by a Japanese sniper while assessing the area of Hill 140.
8"Part Eight"
"Iwo Jima"
David Nutter
Jeremy Podeswa
Robert Schenkkan and Michelle AshfordMay 2, 2010 ( 2010-05-02 ) 2.34 [53]
Basilone is transferred to the 5th Marine Division where he trains Marines for combat. There he meets and marries Lena Riggi. He then lands at Iwo Jima but is killed in action.
9"Part Nine"
"Okinawa"
Tim Van PattenBruce C. McKennaMay 9, 2010 ( 2010-05-09 ) 1.81 [54]
Sledge and the 1st Marine Division land at Okinawa. Sledge, now a seasoned veteran, becomes more cynical and no longer shows any compassion for the Japanese. The men are horrified to discover Okinawan civilians, including women and children, being forced to act as human shields. As he and others prepare to return home from Okinawa, they hear of a "new bomb" that "vaporized an entire [Japanese] city in the blink of an eye".
10"Part Ten"
"Home"
Jeremy PodeswaBruce C. McKenna and Robert SchenkkanMay 16, 2010 ( 2010-05-16 ) 1.96 [55]
Sledge and Leckie return home after the Japanese surrender. Sledge is still haunted by the horrors of war. Leckie starts a relationship with Vera. Basilone's widow, Lena, visits his parents and gives them his Medal of Honor.

Critical reception Edit

The Pacific received widespread critical acclaim. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 91% with an average rating of 8.32 out of 10, based on 43 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "An honest, albeit horrifying, exploration of World War II, The Pacific is a visually stunning miniseries not for the faint of heart." [56] On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". [57]

Time magazine's James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 TV Series of 2010. [58] IGN reviewer Ramsey Isler gave the entire miniseries an 8.5 out of 10, saying "Although I don't think The Pacific overtakes Band of Brothers in terms of technical execution and overall entertainment value, many of the comparisons will be moot as The Pacific is a different kind of series with different goals. This series sought to look beyond the combat and it paints a full, vivid picture of the war and the people that fought it through focused, individual stories. That's a tall order for any series to fulfill, and although The Pacific doesn't always come through with shining colors, it does make an admirable effort." [59] IGN also reviewed each individual episode, with Episode 9 receiving a perfect 10 out of 10 score. [60]

Awards and nominations Edit

The Pacific won a Peabody Award in 2010 for "reminding us of the necessities—and the costs—of service." [61] It also won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film.


Most Popular Book of The Year 04

The Pacific: Hell Was an Ocean Away Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war agains

TITLE: The Pacific: Hell Was an Ocean Away
AUTHOR: Hugh Ambrose
RATING: 4.62 ( 488 Votes)
ASIN: 0451232259
FORMAT TYPE: Paperback
NUMBER of PAGES: 508 Pages
PUBLISH DATE:2011-09-06
GENRE:

The New York Times bestselling official companion book to the Emmy(r) Award-winning HBO(r) miniseries. Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war against Japan. 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 five men who put their lives on the line for our country. To deepen the story revealed in the H

The Pacific: An Opinionated HistoryThe Pacific presents the Pacific War, from America&rsquos first battle with the Japanese to the final shot. It blends eyewitness accounts into a larger perspective on the course of the war. However, this larger perspective is not solely provided by the historian, but also by the veterans. Put another way, instead of layering some oral histories onto a historical framework, I follow the lives of five veterans who, between them, experienced most of the key moments of the war. By walking with these men through their respective wars, the reader comes to see The Pacificas a whole.

The result of this approach is, I think, unusually powerful. The war comes at the reader with speed and power and meaning. The veterans, moreover, were not historians calmly researching and reporting all the facts. Their very definite opin

To paraphrase J. But I decided to give the book the benefit of the doubt and give it a whirl, and I have to say that I was more than just pleasently surprised! Jenny McCarthy is not only very down-to-earth, but she's witty, hilarious, and quite franklynormal! It was so refreshing to read that she isn't perfect after all - that she had acne, and stretch marks, and bad hair days, and bozo boyfriends. Highly recommended.. Second, is as an example of clear prose writing. The whole time was reading was like what am I soppose to be understanding from this book. With inadequate sanitation, insufficient food, no medical care, or educational provisions, the family was truly living a life of privation. As European industrialization took hold, the question of superiority moved almost exclusively from a moral basis to a material one, based on the creation of the more complex machines that emerged be


The Pacific: Hell Was an Ocean Away

I have read all of Stephen Ambrose’s books and this is the first book I have read from the Hugh Ambrose library. Whilst numerous reviewers here are critical of the bullet point style of writing I quite liked it and can see why it was adapted for this book. I think it was the only way to follow four or five different personalities through a variety of different locations in different branches of the US services through the war in the Pacific. That being said I found that Ambrose junior’s style of writing did not match up to Ambrose senior. It’s not that I think that the book was poorly written, far from it, it is just that Ambrose senior is a hard act to follow.

The book itself, well it was the inspiration behind the HBO series THE PACIFIC and as such highlights the brutality and horror that was characteristic of the whole campaign. The book illuminates the war service of legendary marines such as EB Sledge and John Basilone, the inhumanity of being a POW of the IJA and the air war over the Pacific. In the main however the book covers the island campaigns of the marines as they traverse the Pacific covering the intense fighting on Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The witness accounts of the dehumanising brutality displayed by both sides and the animal hatred that the marines had for their enemy reverberates throughout the whole book. In between the temporary lapses in the fighting the book describes what it is like to live under constant fear, fatigue and filth. The struggle of simply living in any of the combat zones sounds utterly debilitating.

The book in reality is a series of true life accounts involving the unimaginable horror that these brave US marines faced in their amphibious campaigns from one end of the Pacific to the other and how they raised to the occasion. These battles are what transformed the marines into a world class fighting unit…and justifiably so. The book loses a star as I feel it is simply not as well written as others on the subject but it still is an enthralling multi personality portrayal about courageous American servicemen struggling to stay alive in the horrific island battles of WW2.

Top critical review

I really wanted to like this book as I am a big fan of Stephen Ambrose's work and I hoped his son Hugh Ambrose would be able to write as well. The big difference here though is that while Stephen Ambrose had a knack for telling soldiers tales he also applied his own historical analysis to the work.

In "The Pacific" what we get is the story of five soldiers who served in the Pacific War and whose stories overlap enough to cover the whole course of the war. There is no attempt at analysis or discussion of the strategy and tactics but simply a re-telling of what was presumably a recorded interview with these veterans.

What is particularly annoying is that part of the book relays the story of Eugene Sledge almost exactly as he wrote it himself in his war memoirs "With The Old Breed". Is there any real need to repeat that story here, as surely there were other unpublished veterans Hugh Ambrose could have talked to.

Its strange therefore that the other 'character' from the television series, Robert Leckie is not included in the book. Hugh Ambrose explains that this was because his experiences were covered in his book "Helmet For My Pillow", and that he has included another similar account that covers the same period. So why repeat one and not the other?

In addition to these two three other veterans add their voices to the story of the Pacific War as seen through their eyes. But that remains the problem - five peoples experiences, even if they were involved in all the major events of the war does not even begin to tell the whole story. For Stephen Ambroses book "Citizen Soldiers" he interviewed dozens of soldiers and gives a much better overall impression of what war in Europe was like for the average soldier. For the war in the Pacific this only tells you what the war was like for five individuals.

As others have pointed out the style of writing is also slightly annoying. Hugh Ambrose attempts to add drama to events by writing in short snappy sentences. While his father was able to do this to great effect Hugh Ambrose over does it and you get entire chapters of tiny sentences which ruin any emotional impact the story might have had.

By the end of the book you get some idea of what the Pacific War was like but I still found myself crying out for some input from the author. At no point does he even try to talk about the background to the war, the weapons, the tactics, the commanders and their strategies, the vehicles and planes, or even the differences between the different branches of service involved. If you are hoping for a history book on the Pacific War this is not it. This is more of a biography of five very brave and resilient men who fought during the war but with nothing more added to place it in context.

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From United Kingdom

I really wanted to like this book as I am a big fan of Stephen Ambrose's work and I hoped his son Hugh Ambrose would be able to write as well. The big difference here though is that while Stephen Ambrose had a knack for telling soldiers tales he also applied his own historical analysis to the work.

In "The Pacific" what we get is the story of five soldiers who served in the Pacific War and whose stories overlap enough to cover the whole course of the war. There is no attempt at analysis or discussion of the strategy and tactics but simply a re-telling of what was presumably a recorded interview with these veterans.

What is particularly annoying is that part of the book relays the story of Eugene Sledge almost exactly as he wrote it himself in his war memoirs "With The Old Breed". Is there any real need to repeat that story here, as surely there were other unpublished veterans Hugh Ambrose could have talked to.

Its strange therefore that the other 'character' from the television series, Robert Leckie is not included in the book. Hugh Ambrose explains that this was because his experiences were covered in his book "Helmet For My Pillow", and that he has included another similar account that covers the same period. So why repeat one and not the other?

In addition to these two three other veterans add their voices to the story of the Pacific War as seen through their eyes. But that remains the problem - five peoples experiences, even if they were involved in all the major events of the war does not even begin to tell the whole story. For Stephen Ambroses book "Citizen Soldiers" he interviewed dozens of soldiers and gives a much better overall impression of what war in Europe was like for the average soldier. For the war in the Pacific this only tells you what the war was like for five individuals.

As others have pointed out the style of writing is also slightly annoying. Hugh Ambrose attempts to add drama to events by writing in short snappy sentences. While his father was able to do this to great effect Hugh Ambrose over does it and you get entire chapters of tiny sentences which ruin any emotional impact the story might have had.

By the end of the book you get some idea of what the Pacific War was like but I still found myself crying out for some input from the author. At no point does he even try to talk about the background to the war, the weapons, the tactics, the commanders and their strategies, the vehicles and planes, or even the differences between the different branches of service involved. If you are hoping for a history book on the Pacific War this is not it. This is more of a biography of five very brave and resilient men who fought during the war but with nothing more added to place it in context.

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I have read all of Stephen Ambrose’s books and this is the first book I have read from the Hugh Ambrose library. Whilst numerous reviewers here are critical of the bullet point style of writing I quite liked it and can see why it was adapted for this book. I think it was the only way to follow four or five different personalities through a variety of different locations in different branches of the US services through the war in the Pacific. That being said I found that Ambrose junior’s style of writing did not match up to Ambrose senior. It’s not that I think that the book was poorly written, far from it, it is just that Ambrose senior is a hard act to follow.

The book itself, well it was the inspiration behind the HBO series THE PACIFIC and as such highlights the brutality and horror that was characteristic of the whole campaign. The book illuminates the war service of legendary marines such as EB Sledge and John Basilone, the inhumanity of being a POW of the IJA and the air war over the Pacific. In the main however the book covers the island campaigns of the marines as they traverse the Pacific covering the intense fighting on Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The witness accounts of the dehumanising brutality displayed by both sides and the animal hatred that the marines had for their enemy reverberates throughout the whole book. In between the temporary lapses in the fighting the book describes what it is like to live under constant fear, fatigue and filth. The struggle of simply living in any of the combat zones sounds utterly debilitating.

The book in reality is a series of true life accounts involving the unimaginable horror that these brave US marines faced in their amphibious campaigns from one end of the Pacific to the other and how they raised to the occasion. These battles are what transformed the marines into a world class fighting unit…and justifiably so. The book loses a star as I feel it is simply not as well written as others on the subject but it still is an enthralling multi personality portrayal about courageous American servicemen struggling to stay alive in the horrific island battles of WW2.

There was a problem loading the comments at the moment. Please try again later.

I bought this book largely based on the fact that Hugh Ambrose is the son of Stephen E. Ambrose, who wrote the exceptional books "Band Of Brothers", "Pegasus Bridge", "Citizen Soldiers" and the utterly brilliant "D-Day". With that level of pedigree behind it, I expected something of equal merit.

I have to say that Ambrose Junior has none of the skill or ability of Ambrose Senior.

By basing the book around 4 different men, all in different placements, be they bomber pilot or front line marine, the story the book weaves becomes difficult. Not necessarily to keep track of, but in the way they are all thrown together and jump from one another can be a bit bemusing.

There are also whole sections of this book that are a slog to read. One section in particular springs to mind in Act Three which follows a Medal Of Honor winner arriving Stateside to take part in a War Bond Drive with movie stars - it's easily the most boring part of the book, and I found myself skipping any mention of it in Act Three.

Ambrose Jnr also tries to cram too much information into one book - there are things that happen to the guys here that would be a solid basis for their own individual books, and some have done exactly that, but by compiling it all into one volume, so much is missed out and so many more interesting threads in the stories just simply aren't followed up. I found after finishing this book, I wanted to read the books of two of the men featured here, something I never felt from reading Ambrose Snr.

Ambrose Snr devoted a large book to just one day in D-Day, and still you felt like you only got a brief glimpse of what happened that day. Ambrose Junior tries to do the same but for a 4 year campaign, and it just all falls apart. He's also obsessed with fact and figures in any give page you have 3 or 4 different battalion numbers mentioned, troop numbers (replacements and original members, enemy numbers), dates, etc when it's not the facts and figures you are reading it for, but for the experiences and stories of the men who were there.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of those, but at the end of the book you can't help but feel short-changed that the uneven balance of war experience and technical historical tome is too much.

The killer blow came near the end when the book wraps up Act Four with the surrender of Japan following one marine hearing on the radio of a "second use of a new weapon. An atomic bomb. ". That's all you get in terms of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, a scant mention of one right at the end, as if they were nothing. Granted, The Pacific deals with the entire campaign, some areas in depth (Guadalcanal), some appearing like a mere footnote in a greater context (Midway), but to completely ignore the bombings utterly amazed me.

I expected good things from this based on the Ambrose legacy, but I can safely say I won't be reading any more titles from Ambrose Jnr from here on in.



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The New York Times bestselling official companion book to the Emmy(r) Award-winning HBO(r) miniseries.

Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war against Japan. 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 five men who put their lives on the line for our country. To deepen the story revealed in the HBO(r) 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.

  • Sales Rank: #344640 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-09-06
  • Released on: 2011-09-06
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.33" h x 1.24" w x 6.01" l, 1.35 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 508 pages

Amazon.com Review
The Pacific: An Opinionated History

The Pacific presents the Pacific War, from America’s first battle with the Japanese to the final shot. It blends eyewitness accounts into a larger perspective on the course of the war. However, this larger perspective is not solely provided by the historian, but also by the veterans. Put another way, instead of layering some oral histories onto a historical framework, I follow the lives of five veterans who, between them, experienced most of the key moments of the war. By walking with these men through their respective wars, the reader comes to see The Pacificas a whole.

The result of this approach is, I think, unusually powerful. The war comes at the reader with speed and power and meaning. The veterans, moreover, were not historians calmly researching and reporting all the facts. Their very definite opinions about people and events, as expressed in the book, must be understood in that light. Although historians may contest some of their judgments, I think they are valuable. It’s not just that veterans have a right to their own opinions—they certainly earned it—it’s that their passion is infectious. Reading this book, you will always care about what happens and why.

A careful reader will of course discern a great many of my conclusions about the war. I choose these particular men out of hundreds of possibilities for a reason. You will notice, for instance, that the US Army receives scant notice. I recognize that there were more army divisions serving in the Pacific than Marine Corps divisions. I admit that in fighting their way through the South Pacific, the soldiers won battles every bit as harrowing as those fought by the Leathernecks. As a historian, though, I believe that the drive through the South Pacific was secondary. Had the US only been able to sustain one drive, it would have been the one through the Central Pacific. In order to keep my book to manageable length, I focused on the US Navy and its Marine Corps.

Although the book focuses on Marines, specifically the story of the First Marine Division, it also includes the life of one aircraft carrier pilot. The Pacific War was a carrier war as no war has ever been. Few men saw as much of the carrier war as Vernon “Mike” Micheel. To see Mike fly a dive bomber at the Battle of Midway and later at the Philippine Sea is to simultaneously appreciate these critical turning points to understand them within the context of the war and to witness the profound change in circumstances which occurred between them.

Mike Micheel served with two of the carrier war’s most important figures: Captain Miles Browning and Admiral J.J. “Jocko” Clark. Through Mike, we do not come to understand them in their totality, as their biographies provide. We see them in action and as viewed by someone who served under them. Mike did not care for Browning, who is revered by some historians, because Browning “short decked” his squadrons—as captain of the carrier USS Yorktown, he failed to ensure his pilots had enough open deck and enough headwind with which to take off. Conversely, Admiral Clark, who once accused Mike of skipping work to go drinking in the bars, comes off better than Browning. Clark’s personality could be as abrasive as Browning’s, but his motivations were sound. Mike understood that Clark wanted his ship to be the best. Every sailor on board Yorktown believed that their Admiral worked hard to achieve that goal.

Watching Mike’s experiences with these men, we understand why he judged them so. Part of his information about them came from hearsay or, as its known in the navy, scuttlebutt. Scuttlebutt is notoriously inaccurate. Mike knew that and tried not to be influenced by it, but he still was. The importance of gossip in the life of a man in combat is often stated by historians, but The Pacific endeavors to allow the reader to experience a man’s struggle to understand, to survive.

Each of the millions of men under arms in WWII experienced his own unique war. Each man within a company or a squadron comprehended his reality differently than his comrades. Can five men, with their own set of idiosyncratic experiences, represent this vast and complex war sufficiently to warrant the book’s all-encompassing title? I think so. By choosing these particular five men, I have written a history that simultaneously describes the individual experience and illuminates the general truths of that vast ocean of enmity we call The Pacific.

From Publishers Weekly
In this follow-up to his late father's Band of Brothers, which tracked a single army unit from Georgia to the battlefields of Europe, historian Ambrose turns his attention to the Pacific theater, following four individual marines and one Naval Aviator through their time in combat. The book opens with the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the capture of U.S. Forces on the Bataan peninsula and Corregidor Island. First-hand accounts from U.S. combatants describe vividly the horrific conditions of the island-hopping campaign and the ferocity of the fighting, but also the lengths to which young men would go to join up: subject Eugene B. Sledge purposely flunked out of college to enlist in the Marine Corps. Captain Austin Shofner recounts the brutality of his internment in a Japanese prison war camp, his daring escape, fighting alongside Philippine guerillas, and his eventual repatriation with the U.S. Marine Corps. Ambrose also reveals how, at the time, many marines expressed contempt for Gen. MacArthur, receiving accolades back home while they made halting, bloody progress across such islands as Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Doing for the war against Japan what Band of Brothers did for the war against Germany, Ambrose's history effectively immerses readers in the Good War's second front.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
A project conceived by the late historian Stephen Ambrose and carried through by his son, this work tracks several marines and a navy pilot through WWII in the Pacific Ocean. If extant combat memoirs render several names in this group recognizable to serious WWII readers (and form the foundation of Ambrose’s chronicle), a new HBO combat drama—advertised on Super Bowl XLIV no less—that debuts in tandem with the book will accord even wider renown to the warriors. Inhabiting the same volume, the main characters, nevertheless, enact separate narratives that cross intermittently in battles such as the harrowing amphibious landings on Peleliu and Iwo Jima and the ghastly campaigns on Guadalcanal and Okinawa. The account of the pilot is even more autonomous, because it is framed by aircraft-carrier warfare at Midway and elsewhere. Although structurally this work collects more than unifies the biographies, its author’s original research, which textures the five individuals, should rekindle interest in Ambrose’s sources—classics in war literature such as Robert Leckie’s Helmet for My Pillow (1957) or Eugene Sledge’s With the Old Breed (1981). --Gilbert Taylor

Most helpful customer reviews

143 of 153 people found the following review helpful.
A Generation Removed
By The Ginger Man
The 10 segment HBO mini-series will focus on the Pacific theater as seen through the eyes of Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge. Based on the books "With the Old Breed" by Sledge and "Helmet for my Pillow" by Leckie as well as other first person accounts and interviews, the series includes battles in Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa as well as the marines return after VJ Day. The Pacific is the companion book to the series but differs in some ways. It also features the stories of Ensign "Mike" Micheel who got his first experience as a dive bomber at the Battle of Midway and that of Lieutenant Austin Shofner who was a POW in Manila after being part of the initial unsuccessful attempt to hold the Philippines.

As in HBO's prior WW II series, The Pacific manages to personalize events which have been portrayed on more of an epic level in presentations such as Victory at Sea. In doing so, it succeeds in conveying the larger than life terror that citizen soldiers faced just a few months removed from their everyday lives in their hometowns. Micheel describes the "puckering" he feels while preparing to dive bomb an enemy aircraft carrier. A marine experiencing repeated bombing runs by Japanese airplanes writes in his journal: "We are all nervous wrecks." As Shofner struggles to survive the extremes of deprivation in an enemy POW camp, his friend tells him "Death isn't hard. Death is easy." It is at that point that Shofner knows his friend will not survive the camp.

What is extraordinary is how the men surmount these challenges and fight in the face of fear, doubt, lack of food and water, sleep deprivation and the illness that can result from all of these factors. Seeing the War in the Pacific through the eyes of the men who fought it, the reader comes to understand that while military strategy initiates each battle, individual acts of teamwork, sacrifice and courage drive the results that follow. It is impossible not to constantly ask yourself if you would have measured up under similar circumstance. It becomes increasingly difficult to answer confidently in the affirmative.

The Pacific also illustrates how little information each person at the battlefront has about the larger context in which he is operating. Due to the necessity to keep military strategy secret as well as the challenges in conveying information on the front, marines exist on a diet of rumor and speculation as to what will next occur. The book also does a good job of showing the incredible logistical challenges involved in providing food, water and other supplies every day to large numbers of field personnel scattered across a wide area under hostile conditions. Technical resources, battle strategy, national will and individual courage determine military success in The Pacific but the ability to keep men hydrated determines whether they will be able to fight at all.

My favorite parts of the book are the descriptions of American dive bombers. Just reading about a pilot idling his engine to begin an 8,000 foot virtual free fall dive to drop a thousand pound bomb on an enemy ship causes some "puckering." If the pilot survives the dive, he hopes to have enough gasoline to find his own fleet on return and then ends by dropping his Dauntless onto the moving top of an aircraft carrier. When needed, Ensign Micheel volunteers for a second mission later the same day.

My father was a gunner on a destroyer escort in the Pacific. At his knees as a small child, I sat through countless viewings of Victory at Sea. As I got older, I could never fully understand how much a part of him his service was. I now know more about the war in which he served but I'm not sure I am that much closer to understanding what he felt. Reading books like The Pacific gives me some idea for how an 18 year old kid from East Boston could spend 3 years on a ship at war, return home with one photo over his workbench, a knife and a set of tattoos and never once talk about his experiences with his son. I wish I could have known him better and, at the same time, hope that I could have served as resolutely if needed.

71 of 74 people found the following review helpful.
A passable yet dry account of The Pacific War.
By Brian Hawkinson
As a huge fan of Band of Brothers I couldn't wait for the series to start so I picked up Ambrose's The Pacific in order to fill the time and give me a back story for when the series starts. The Pacific certainly did that and more as I now want to read a lot more on the war against the "Japs". With The Pacific I think the subject being covered was what triggered this, as Ambrose's style of writing is both a hit and a miss.

The pros are that I oftentimes wonder as I am reading other memoirs/bios of WWII veterans as to where and how they fit in with one another. With The Pacific the mini bios of the marines and naval pilots are all woven together in a linear timeline so you always know where they are and what they are doing in relation to one another. This is fascinating to me because it adds many levels of detail that help to create an overall richer account of The Pacific War. Add to this the different elements of who they are, i.e. officer, dive bomber and so on, and we are treated to a more in depth look at the structure of the US forces battlling the Japanese in the Pacific ocean.

The cons, and I really only have one worth mentioning, is that Ambrose's style of writing can be rather dry and stiff at times, feeling as though we are getting a recitation of facts instead of a narrative that is weaving the facts together. Although this style can work I oftentimes found that the writing style was having troubles catching my interest and I had to draw myself back in order to continue my own narrative of what Ambrose was telling us.

Overall the book is workable as a companion volume to the upcoming HBO series for not only illustrating the lives of some of the men being represented but in also layering more detail with the inclusion of other equally fascinating men, notably Shofner and Micheel, who were perhaps more fascinating to read about because of their experiences as a POW in a Japanese POW camp and as a dive bomber, respectively. I would certainly recommend to read the other more immensely readable WWII memoirs of the Pacific Theater, i.e. Helmet For My Pillow and With The Old Breed, in order to get a better feel for what will be depicted in the HBO series, and pick up The Pacific as a companion volume instead of a stand alone history of the Pacific War.

131 of 148 people found the following review helpful.
I hope the series is better than the book
By D. May
I just bought this book the other day. I've read a LOT of history on WW2, perhaps 200+ books.

As the author explains in the Introduction, this book is meant not as a detailed military analysis of the battles that are covered within it, nor is it meant to be a biography, per se. The author claims to be striving for an "in the moment" veteran's-eye view, with all misconceptions, errors of fact, and rampant war rumors (which accompany any combat operation) left intact, for affect. Direct quotes from the players. and related players. are intentionally lacking.

So, if you can imagine a book that has minimal dialogue or quotes, erroneous historical facts cited often, and strives on purpose to have all the depth and breadth of a casual conversation, you end up with what seems to me like a book that HAD a lot of potential, but any time it got near any topic of interest, it did its best to get off the subject and move on to the next topic, as fast as possible. I want to know exactly what these guys were thinking, feeling and saying in these moments, in as much detail as the author could have wrested from his subjects via extensive interviews and research. This book reads more like a field report, all too often just too brief and bound by short sentences, consisting of the barest-of-bones facts.

In the end, it's VERY hard to read. Stilted, encumbered by its self-inflicted "style", it is a lost chance to really contribute to our history in the war. and it was done on purpose, all for the sake of conducting what I would call, "A failed experiment in writing". Hugh Ambrose just isn't his father, sorry to say.

I hope the mini-series is better. I'd skip this book, I don't think that you'll find it a page-turner. :-/

See all 178 customer reviews.

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The Pacific: Hell Was an Ocean Away (Paperback)

This was my father's war. What's in this book is a lot of what he wouldn't talk about. Yet I knew about a lot of it simply because he was there, in the Pacific, when all this was going on. What I wasn't truly aware of was the level of mistakes that were made. The SNAFUs, the Situation Normal All Fouled Up that went on with so many of the island landings. Much of what I learned about the Pacific war was after I myself became a Marine – but it still wasn't the same because I wasn't there. This book takes you there and no matter how hard you try, you may leave a bit of yourself behind with the men who didn't come home. I cannot think of another book that really makes the island war live. Flags of Our Fathers comes close but The Pacific carries it all the way. There are some things in it you may not like hearing about but they happened and for a reason. As always, war changes those who fight them – good or bad. If you have a love of history and a sense of pride in our fighting men, I recommend this book. It had me riveted from the first page to the last.

Description

The New York Times bestselling official companion book to the Emmy® Award-winning HBO® miniseries.

Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war against Japan. 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 five men who put their lives on the line for our country. To deepen the story revealed in the HBO® 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.

About the Author

Praise For&hellip

Praise for The Pacific

&ldquoDoing for the war against Japan what Band of Brothers did for the war against Germany, Ambrose&rsquos history effectively immerses readers in the Good War&rsquos second front.&rdquo&mdashPublishers Weekly

&ldquoAmbrose&rsquos narrative is convincing. [he] shows the possibilities of readable and complex military history.&rdquo&mdashDr. Allan Millett, Director, Eisenhower Center for American Studies, The National World War II Museum


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