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Top 5 Books (Pacific Theater Edition)

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by KJ Jr, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    As you can see, I am officially on summer vacation.

    Recently I posted a thread on the top 9 "essential" WWII reads as determined by whatever website I was reading. It was a myriad of choices that fit into no real category and the discussion was interesting. I have found that whenever these lists come about they are not categorized. I would like to change that. I would like to start a weekly series focusing on specific content but not limited to theaters of operations; however this week's topic will focus on one theater of operation. I will try to run the gamut of content, genres and collections. Any feedback on topics will be appreciated.

    I was thinking of beginning with the Pacific Theater.

    My rules are simple:

    A) You are not limited to non-fiction titles, though they will encompass the entirety of the lists (IMO there is value in narrative).

    B) I chose only 5 per category because each book choice should have a brief commentary on why it is a valuable inclusion.

    C) Debate is encouraged but don't run away butt hurt because no one agrees with you, lol. Remember, many on here are truly experts in their field so debate with an open ear to learning.

    Have at it!
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    How do you define "top". I can see more areas of interest than 5 which makes it hard to choose just 5. In this day and age sources other than books should also be considered.

    I'll list some of my choices to get this started: Most of these will be naval related which is an area of focus of mine. As such it's going to miss some very important other areas.

    Shattered Sword - Not only for it's description of the pivotal battle of Midway but for the back ground and insight in the Japanese high command and how it made decision. It's also very readable.

    A couple of electronic sources:
    Naval War in China - The naval war between China and Japan 1031 -1941. This war merged into, indeed, was arguably the start of WW2. While this series of web pages looks mostly at the naval aspects of that war I think it rally helps set the stage.

    Oil and Japanese Strategy in the Solomons: A Postulate
    and
    Grim Economic Realities These two focus on the issues Japan had with oil, logistics, and resources in general. Readable short and informative.

    I'd suggest the Pacific area of hyperwar but not sure anyone could rad it all. The details of the code breaking in several of the documents there are high on the list though.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hell, I'd list top five authors and apologize to a dozen others.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Only a dozen...more like 75-100, and that would be after breaking it down with top 5s for:
    Pacific ground
    Pacific air
    Pacific naval surface
    Pacific naval air
    Pacific naval submarine
    Pacific War (general)
     
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  5. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Yes 5 was a tough number but with description of each it may be a bit lengthy. Of course we can go as specific as possible but if I was a newbie who wanted to indulge into the history of the Pacific Theater, what would that top 5 essential reads. Digital sources are included; good add on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  6. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I am putting you to the test, OP. Pretend you are on a deserted island, lol.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    One book I mention fairly often can give one a lot of insight into historical events. it can however be somewhat dry. Others are a good read as well as being educational. Some depend a lot on the person. For instance I usually don't read books like Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors as I'm not as interested in personal anecdotes to the extend they were used in that book. However I was very interested in the topic and the author did an excellent job of weaving it into a coherent tale. To the extent if you are interested in the Battle Off Samar it should be very high on your list IMO. If you are interested in the ground war in the Pacific it isn't going to rate nearly as high. Then there are books like Morrison's history of the USN in WWII which are (from what I've read) very good at giving the broad over view of things but perhaps not the best when it comes down to details.

    I like the idea of what you are trying to do but suggest you narrow the focus quite a bit. Of course if you allow web pages at or near the top of the list for anything WWII is .... Hyperwar.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Edwin P. Hoyt's "Japan's War" (2 volume hardback)

    Ian Toll's 3 volume Pacific War trilogy, although the last volume is not out yet.

    These 5 will give any reader an essential education in the Pacific War.

    With apologies to many authors to numerous to name.
     
  9. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    In the future versions I will certainly narrow it down especially in the case of operational theaters. My thought process was essential reading, possibly for budding historians on varying topics.

    I appreciate the feedback.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I think if the topic is narrow enough this has a lot of promise. Instead of stating a hard cap of 5 you might just state that your asking people to write at least a couple of sentences as to why a particular choice is merited.
     
  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    First thoughts on categories:

    1. Submarine warfare.
    2. Political strategy.
    3. Grand military strategy.
    4. Amphibious operations.
    5. Aviation warfare.
    6. Resource transferal interdiction operations.
    etc.

    And if I was on a deserted island I'd take a copy of Hyperwar. I wouldn't live long enough to read everything on there, but it's worth a try.
     
  12. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Good topics, we can narrow it down to theater and eventually let it evolve into other aspects of the war and genre. Good stuff fellas.

    Still think there should be a cap though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The break down by Sandhurst, West Point, Eta Jima, etc., would do me just fine.
     
  14. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Not really in your listing, but I like Eri Hotta's Japan 1941. It's a pretty comprehensive look at the reasons Japan felt compelled to go to war in 1941. I would also echo Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and Shattered Sword.
     
  15. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Two favourite Pacific War songs...?
    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Tojo (never made it to Darwin)

    Tracy. Tracy was angry.
    A bad mood.
    I told her, "it's an ill wind
    Blows no good."
    (Then she told me)
    "Tojo never made it to Darwin."
    I said, "Tracy, won't you listen - this is Christmas!
    Don't you go."
    She said, "David, I wouldn't miss this for the world but I
    Got to blow."
    (Then she said again)
    "Tojo never made it to Darwin."
    Now she's gone, gone, gone
    Just…
    Now she's gone, gone, gone
    Just like the wind.
    I just sigh,
    But I'm dreaming that I'm gleaming
    In her eye.
    (But I'll always hear)
    "Tojo never made it to Darwin."
    That year, Santa never came.

    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    I was Kamikaze Pilot
    I was a, was a kamikaze pilot
    They gave me a plane, I couldn't fly it home.
    Taught how to take off, I don't know how to land.
    They say it doesn't matter and I just cannot understand.
    I was a kamikaze pilot,
    They gave me a plane, I couldn't fly it home.
    Left my happy homeland in a Zero,
    I got engine trouble so I couldn't be a hero
    (Do you think I care?).
    Now I'll keep my two feet on the ground
    Cause when you're in the clouds
    Everybody tries to shoot you down
    I was a kamikaze pilot,
    They gave…
    Left my happy homeland in a Zero,
    I got engine trouble so I couldn't be a hero
    (Do you think I care?).
    Now I'll keep my two feet on the ground
    Cause when you're in the clouds
    Everybody tries to shoot you down
    I was a kamikaze pilot,
    They gave me a plane, I couldn't fly it home
    On an island there ain't too much to do
    Look after number one 'cause I think I can see
    Lee Marvin chasin' after you.
    I was a kamikaze pilot
    They gave me a plane, I couldn't fly it home.
    Cherry blossoms falling down.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    If I had five:
    1.) Morrison's "Two Ocean War"-The Pacific was primarily a naval war, this short history covers the US Navy in the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Med. While it tells the story of the Pacific in adequate detail, the coverage of the other theaters puts that theater in the context of the overall war. Plus he's a good writer.
    2.) "Neptune's Inferno"-Guadalcanal was the turning point of the Pacific War, this covers the Carrier and Naval battles that decided the struggle for the island.
    3.) "With the Old Breed"-Sledge's book is the best first person account of the ground war.
    4.) "Shattered Sword"-Midway where the Japanese expansion stopped.
    5.) "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors"-An epic naval fight.
     
  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hotta's book goes well with A War It Was Always Going To Lose.
     
  18. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Larry, I would also include Togo's The Cause of Japan even though it's a bit self-serving.

    Bob, a good list. I've read then all and found them helpful. I would add Giangreco's Hell to Pay. It's a good accounting of Operation Downfall.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm planning to PDF that one and put it online RSN.
    He's a go-to for numbers, certainly.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Sounding like Japan in 41 or there abouts is getting a fair number of suggestions by itself. Makes a lot of sense. If you really want to understand the war you have to look at what was happening before it started.
     

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