I finished reading this book a short time ago and, on the whole, found it to be engaging and informative. Largely told through the combat service stories of 4 U.S. Marines (Private First Class Sidney Phillips; Lieutenant Colonel Austin Shofner; Gunny Sergeant John Basilone, a Medal of Honor recipient in recognition of his bravery in repelling a savage Japanese attack on Guadalcanal; and Private Eugene Sledge) and 1 naval aviator (Vernon Micheel), “The Pacific” sets out to show the Pacific War for what it was: a largely American undertaking. The reader is made aware of the devotion to duty displayed by soldiers, sailors, and Marines and the heavy sacrifices they sustained through 4 years of a war of unremitting savagery.
Unlike most of their German allies, who, when pressed in battle against superior numbers and firepower, would often surrender, the Japanese generally preferred to fight to the death in keeping with their warrior code of Bushido. Furthermore, the Japanese were notorious for their brutal treatment of Allied POWs, as Lieutenant Colonel Shofner’s story attests. (Shofner, who fought as a junior officer in the defense of the Philippines in 1941 and was captured after the fall of Corregidor in May 1942, later escaped and rejoined the Marines in time to take part in the Battles of Peleliu and Okinawa.)
This book is ideal for any reader who is seeking a general knowledge of what the Pacific War was like on a human level.