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The Pacific
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The Pacific

3.9 288
by Hugh Ambrose

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The New York Times bestselling official companion book to the Emmy(r) Award-winning HBO(r) miniseries.

Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war against Japan. From

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The Pacific 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 288 reviews.
Fabriano More than 1 year ago
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.
HISTORIANJV More than 1 year ago
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.
rickr44318 More than 1 year ago
Hugh Ambrose's "The Pacific," as the dust jacket reminds us, is the "official" companion volume to HBO's miniseries of the same name, which has been airing this spring. The book surveys several Pacific War veterans - naval aviator and Navy Cross recipient Vernon Micheel, and First Marine Division veterans Eugene Sledge, Sidney Phillips, Medal of Honor recipient John Basilone, and escaped POW Austin Shofner - and many of their comrades-in-arms. Ambrose admits in the Acknowledgments that he accepted a formidable task in picking up the baton from his late father Stephen. Contrary to the senior Ambrose's "Band of Brothers" (likewise an HBO miniseries), "The Pacific" was a far broader canvas - what campaigns, units and individuals to focus on? What to omit? Demands of space and attention compelled Ambrose to bypass Robert Leckie, a veteran of Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester whose memoir "Helmet for My Pillow" was one of the foundation sources for the HBO project. Likewise, the submarine campaign, the strategic bombing of Japan, etc. are not addressed here, but there are excellent books that do so. "The Pacific's" focus is on the Marines' land war against Japan and naval aviation's support of it (Micheel and Shofner are not depicted on-screen). Ambrose takes us from the first war alert on Bataan to the surrender of Corregidor, from Stateside "boot" training to the torrid jungles of Guadalcanal and New Britain, from the Cabanatuan POW camp to the fleshpots of Melbourne, from the blistering coral of Peleliu to the black sands of Iwo Jima and the monsoon-drenched desolation of Okinawa ... and he describes the Stateside readjustment these veterans and their brothers-in-arms faced after living through Hell. "The Pacific" is well-written and flows easily as Ambrose moves from principal to principal. There is ample detail of the horror and waste of combat, of the changing nature of battle as the Marines drew ever closer to Japan's home islands, as well as the lighter moments in rest camps and on Stateside leave. The book also clarifies characters, timelines and other facts that were significantly altered in the miniseries, presumably for "dramatic effect"; for that reason alone, it's worth reading. There are some unfortunate editorial irks - the Navy's early torpedo bomber was designated the TBD, not "TDB"; characters are introduced summarily, then detailed by full name and rank pages later; it's Espiritu Santo, not "Espiritu Santos." Most annoying, however, are the incessant paeans to HBO. The front of the dust jacket carries HBO's tagline "Hell Was An Ocean Away" and an inset that practically bellows: "FROM THE PRODUCERS OF 'BAND OF BROTHERS'! THE PACIFIC!! NOW A 10-PART MINISERIES EVENT!!! HBO MINISERIES!!!!" And, most obnoxiously, a self-congratulatory blurb on the back hypes HBO, Playtone/Tom Hanks, DreamWorks/Steven Spielberg, and the "Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-winning 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers" ... Good grief, give it a rest! (I was startled to see that HBO - not the author - owns the copyright to "The Pacific.") My advice? Buy the book in hardcover and savor it ... just throw away the dust jacket.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Expertly done, vivid, and personel to the characters. Reminding us of the greatest sacrifice you can give to your country, and the patriots who fought. A must read.
joroJR More than 1 year ago
This book was written for anyone to understand. It surely gave me a feeling for the turmoil that the soldiers went through. It appears that the soldiers did the work and killing and the brass took the credit for what they did. I find what the Japanese did to the American POWs appauling. It gave me a different understanding of what was happening. Thank you Hugh Ambrose for your excellent job!
Raymondo More than 1 year ago
Being an avid WW II reader I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book about the 3 greatest U.S. Marine island invasions. The book lets you live it all in the safety of your living room. If you are a big fan of WW II books you must read this one. It won't let you down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At the one star all the way at the bottom you are not an american for saying that. Millions of men and women died because of the war, the japanese attacked us beccause we supported the allies. The book tells a sad but amazing story of how we beat the axis and became the most powerful nation and military force on this planet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the way the book was written like fiction and told their stories, but stayed with historical facts.
clark79 More than 1 year ago
The book The Pacific was recomended to me by the wonderful people at Barns And Noble. On the basis that I am interested in World War II topics and have injoyed the Band of Brothers book and show. In my oppinion it was very readable even for me because i hardly ever read books and I am not the best of readers but it was well wrighten and very understandable. The style is historical with a little bits of facts mixed in. A good compareson would be Band of Brothers or Fly Boys. The book is about 5 different guys in different parts of the military and there adventures in the pacific front. I would highly recomend this book to any one that wants to learn about the pacific front on a first hand basis and like to learn about World War II.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not finish the book but so far it has been excellent. I am an avid reader of World War II books.
21703683 More than 1 year ago
The author captures many essenses of Infantry combat: the smell of death, sitting in a flooded foxhold and sharing a ration spoon with a buddy. The book is a thoughtful blending of historic happenings in World War II and the inner feelings of the individual Marines that lived through them. Through the thoughts and conversations of the principal characters, the reader is reminded of many controversal events of the times (General MacArther's pre-war planning, the write-off of the troops of Bataan and the design faults of Navy carrier aircraft) without the hindsight and softning of 65 years. Particularly poignantis the recounting of the battle for Pelilu, with the loss of so many Marines to capture an airfield that was no longer needed. The incident also demonstrates the unfortunate inflexibility of some senior military leaders to deviate from a plan once the plan is initiated. The book gives due honor to the Marines of the "Greatest Generation" and demonstrates that they are the finest Amphibious forces in the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book kept me intrigued and waiting for the next event. The book details the lives and events of each of the characters and there is a lot of detail in the book. The Movie on HBO is closely following the book as well. Would recommend the book to anyone who enjoyed Band of Brothers. Lots of detail in the book, my wife read it as well and is watching the series with me.
CAPTBILLUSMC More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All in all a good read, but like the ground war in the Pacific in WWII, it grinds on through the island battles providing little differentiation from one battle to another. The book also omits major elements of the war in the Pacific, including the crucial role played by the Navy's submarine service; and loses focus on major elements when key characters are rotated out of the Pacific theater.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It jumps all over the place.
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Pretty gruesome
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wabisabi More than 1 year ago
When I bought this book, I thought it had been written by Stephen Ambrose. I've read a lot of his books and have enjoyed all of them. It wasn't until I opened the book that I realized it was written by Stephen's son. I now have two favorite authors with the same last name. I've purchased the "The Pacific" DVD because I enjoyed the book. I hope the DVD is just as good!!