Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941–1943

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Whole libraries have been written about the battles of the Pacific Theater in WWll, so it is not easy for any historian to present something new. McManus enters a crowded field with volumes of time-honored masterpieces already on the shelves. Nevertheless, he offers some interesting spin on rather well-known battles. His attention to detail through journal entries and soldiers’ letters pulls the reader into the raw emotional turmoil of the time.

Although well-written in colorful prose, the premise of the book presents some tortured contradictions. For example, McManus focuses his attention on the gains of the United States Army as opposed to the celebrated successes of the Marine Corps, and yet, at every opportunity, he castigates General Douglas MacArthur, the primary strategist related to ground troops.

Another mystery to McManus’s literary construction concerns his decision to end the material in the middle of the Pacific war–the conquest of the Makin Atolls in November 1943–when the actual war raged on for another eighteen months. Why does the author stop here? Perhaps he intends to offer a second volume in the future. Certainly this one is heavy enough, but the reading itself keeps the reader turning pages.

Overall, this book deserves consideration for any serious study of military history, even if only as a counterweight to more favorable opinions about the leaders engaged in that conflict.


Reviewed By:

Author John C. McManus
Star Count 3.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 640 pages
Publisher Dutton Caliber
Publish Date 2019-07-30
ISBN 9780451475046
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2019
Category History
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