Customer Reviews for

The Pacific

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

Hugh Ambrose has produced a book worthy of his father's legacy

I received an early release of Hugh Ambrose' "The Pacific," which is an intriguing addition to the literature of the Pacific Theater in World War II. Human elements added to the battle narrative personalize the war, and Hugh Ambrose brings out aspects to the war's fam...
I received an early release of Hugh Ambrose' "The Pacific," which is an intriguing addition to the literature of the Pacific Theater in World War II. Human elements added to the battle narrative personalize the war, and Hugh Ambrose brings out aspects to the war's familiar history that I either had forgotten or learned for the first time.

I think this is Hugh Ambrose' first work on his own, and I was suspect that he might be trading too much on his father's legacy--somewhat as the younger Shaara (whose works are good, but not truly great)--or too commercialized alongside the forthcoming HBO series. However, Hugh Ambrose has produced a book worthy of his father's legacy. It's a solid narrative, which seems consistent with Steven Ambrose' "Band of Brothers," "Citizen Soldiers," "D-Day," and "The Wild Blue" -- perhaps to be expected as Hugh Ambrose was a close collaborator on his father's projects.

The book purports to go beyond the forthcoming HBO series of the same title, which I expect will also be outstanding. It's just too bad that so many of the Marines who served in the Pacific Theater won't be able to experience this tribute, having already slipped from this world to join their friends lost 70 years ago.

If you enjoy history with strong narratives, such as the works of Steven Ambrose, Shelby Foote, David Hackett Fischer, or David McCullough; you are sure to find this book irresistible.

posted by Fabriano on February 28, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

The Pacific theater of WWII is a topic far larger than the somehwhat misnamed book by Hugh Ambrose. Ambrose's book, however, is an excellent summary of the violence which distinguished service in that theater from Europe.

Readers seeking an exciting narrative will find (as in Band of Brothers, to which it has been compared)an engaging summary of the personal experiences of its characters. However, unlike BoB which had the structural assistance of a story told about protagonists and even...
Readers seeking an exciting narrative will find (as in Band of Brothers, to which it has been compared)an engaging summary of the personal experiences of its characters. However, unlike BoB which had the structural assistance of a story told about protagonists and events within a single group of men interacting over an extended period of time, those written about here served in different branches of the services, in different units within the branches, and were involved in different battles during different years of the war. Most did not know one another or share the same events.

Standing alone, the individual narratives do provide some fascinating insights not widely written about elsewhere. Two examples from many: (1)the differences in performance of the various naval dive bomber aircraft placed in the context of life and death of their crews, and (2)the weather and logistics challenges which were often determinant in whether or not the initial US assaults on Japanese held islands were successful.

Given this structure, it is perhaps inevitable that even clever fitting-together does not prevent occasional fragmentation and a lack of continuity of time, place and the characters. Readers with a solid understanding of the historic events will have less trouble understanding the big picture within which the individual stories take place.

posted by HISTORIANJV on April 10, 2010

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    The Pacific theater of WWII is a topic far larger than the somehwhat misnamed book by Hugh Ambrose. Ambrose's book, however, is an excellent summary of the violence which distinguished service in that theater from Europe.

    Readers seeking an exciting narrative will find (as in Band of Brothers, to which it has been compared)an engaging summary of the personal experiences of its characters. However, unlike BoB which had the structural assistance of a story told about protagonists and events within a single group of men interacting over an extended period of time, those written about here served in different branches of the services, in different units within the branches, and were involved in different battles during different years of the war. Most did not know one another or share the same events.

    Standing alone, the individual narratives do provide some fascinating insights not widely written about elsewhere. Two examples from many: (1)the differences in performance of the various naval dive bomber aircraft placed in the context of life and death of their crews, and (2)the weather and logistics challenges which were often determinant in whether or not the initial US assaults on Japanese held islands were successful.

    Given this structure, it is perhaps inevitable that even clever fitting-together does not prevent occasional fragmentation and a lack of continuity of time, place and the characters. Readers with a solid understanding of the historic events will have less trouble understanding the big picture within which the individual stories take place.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2011

    Basically History! Statistical repetition!

    Impressive research, but not an adventure story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mediocre compared to his father's works

    I am an avid Stephen Ambrose fan and have read most of his books. Hugh is trying to carry on his father's works. It is generally well written but bounces around quite a bit. There could be more detailed maps for troop deplacementsas well as a overview of the war theatre, I found them lacking. I liked John Basilone's military efforts, however the war bond drive was a chore to get through. If you like WWII stories you would most likely enjoy it. The personal views on General MacArthur I felt were less than accurate, but I think he was trying to give a perspective from the troops. Marines tend to look down on Army guys anyway. I also felt I would have liked to have seen the reality of what happened as well as the perspective of the individual. I felt like I could have just bought the memoirs of the soldiers I wanted to read about. All in all it's as pretty good read.

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