Facing Fearful Odds: The Siege of Wake Island

Facing Fearful Odds: The Siege of Wake Island

by Gregory J. W. Urwin, G. Urwin
     
 

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Although the siege of Wake Island was not one of World War II's biggest campaigns, it had a profound psychological effect on the course of the nation's struggle. This was the battle that first raised American spirits in the dark weeks following Pearl Harbor. For sixteen suspenseful days, 449 U.S. Marines, assisted by a handful of sailors and soldiers and a few hundred

Overview

Although the siege of Wake Island was not one of World War II's biggest campaigns, it had a profound psychological effect on the course of the nation's struggle. This was the battle that first raised American spirits in the dark weeks following Pearl Harbor. For sixteen suspenseful days, 449 U.S. Marines, assisted by a handful of sailors and soldiers and a few hundred civilian construction workers, withstood repeated attacks by numerically superior Japanese forces. Although Wake finally fell on 23 December 1941, its garrison made the Japanese pay an embarrassingly high price for a tiny coral outpost.

Based on interviews with over seventy American and Japanese participants, the riveting, you-are-there narrative pulsates with the crack of rifles, the stutter of machine guns, the roar of cannon, and the concussion of bombs. This is a military history from the bottom up, an unforgettable reading experience told from the perspective of enlisted men and junior officers who served on the front lines.

Gregory J. W. Urwin is a professor of history at Temple University. His many books include Custer Victorious: The Civil War Battles of General George Armstrong Custer, available in a Bison Books edition.

Editorial Reviews

Choice
"An excellent work of military history, Urwin's book should be the last word on the subject for quite a while."—Choice
Sea History
"Gregory Urwin reports this story with impressive technical thoroughness, placing it in the framework of the Pacific War's early months. . . . Facing Fearful Odds is a well-organized and extremely well-written piece of history."—Sea History
The Journal of Military History
"The gallant stand by a beleaguered group of Americans on Wake Island in the central Pacific during the opening salvos of the Pacific War remains an enduring epic. . . . The author has succeeded superbly in bringing the myriad of facets together while never losing his focus on the human drama."—The Journal of Military History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803295629
Publisher:
University of Nebraska Press
Publication date:
06/01/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
754
Sales rank:
757,650
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.55(d)

Meet the Author

Gregory J. W. Urwin is a professor of history at Temple University. His many books include Custer Victorious: The Civil War Battles of General George Armstrong Custer, available in a Bison Books edition.

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