Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reading through the War in the Pacific

So I got this notion to read up on the War in the Pacific, and as a starter I chose Stanley Weintraub's Long Day's Journey into War, a 600 page account of the 48 hours surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Weintraub has collated the personal testimonies of thousands of people from every part of the globe and interwoven them in an hour-by-hour account. The cumulative effect is somewhat dizzying at times, as Weintruab skips across the globe among hundreds of characters, but the reader comes away with a sense of the sheer weight and fearfulness of that moment in our history. Be prepared for a long grueling read (one reviewer called it ("Long, long, long day's journey...") but this was a good book with which to begin my Pacific War Reading Series.

Candidates for the next book in the series: Scott Walker's The Edge of Terror: The Heroic Story of American Families Trapped in the Japanese-occupied Philippines. James Hornfischer's Ship of Ghosts, or Hampton Sides' Ghost Soldiers.

4 comments:

Standfast said...

It's been some time since I read it, but I remember finding John Toland's But Not in Shame: The Six Months After Pearl Harbor (1961)very readable, although no doubt there has been a lot of scholarship since it was written. It begins with Pearl Harbor and ends with Midway.

Bob said...

Yes, that sounds like one I might want to read. I want to go through the war in a chronological way, but some books will span larger segments than others. Toland of course is a renowned historian and storyteller. Thanks for the tip.

DebD said...

I enjoy reading books like this. I read Silent Night which I think was also by Weintraub. I found that one to be a bit dry. Perhaps this would be a better choice.

Thanks for the review!

hopeinbrazil said...

I have read several books on WWII POWs, but not many on the events leading up to the war. This one sounds interesting.