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From the Publisher
Barrett Tillman, author of Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945
"To most of the reading public, the aerial siege of Rabaul remains one of the untold stories of the Pacific War. Nobody is better qualified than Bruce Gamble to relate that lengthy campaign, beginning with the first 15 months of the conflict. The depth and variety of his coverage is exceptional: not only the Allied and the Japanese perspectives, but the personalities and their attendant feuds; and ultimately the successful air blockade that released the unstoppable might of an industrialized America to take the war ever nearer Japan itself."
"With the publication of this magnificent Rabaul Trilogy, former Navy flight officer Bruce Gamble has established himself in the foremost rank of Pacific War historians. In a compelling narrative that reads like an exciting novel, Gamble details "a history of World War II's longest battle," from the capture of Rabaul, New Britain, by the Japanese in January 1942, to its isolation, bombardment and final liberation by Allied forces in August 1945." - Armchair General
"Fortress Rabaul would certainly benefit anyone interested in the Pacific war, the history of military aviation, and the geopolitical future of the region as the United States pivots toward the Asia-Pacific." - Military Review
Anthony Tully, coauthor of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
"Continuing his theme of Rabaul opened in Darkest Hour: The True Story of Lark Force at Rabaul, Bruce Gamble now continues the saga, moving forward with the Japanese occupation in January 1942 to the almost immediate start of the Allied counter air-offensives against Rabaul. Gamble sets the stage magnificently, with a compelling description of the geography, volcanic origin and cultural setting and development level of Rabaul at the time of the Japanese occupation. After an excellent description of the too little, too late attempts to prepare for the Japanese invasion and the futile attempts to repel the powerful Japanese carrier strikes, the focus shifts to the Japanese construction at Rabaul that will make it the famous fortress port of the Solomons campaign. The human drama, Allied and Japanese, is enriched by skillfully placed anecdotes, like a botched demolition of an ammo dump by the Allied garrison to Japanese carrier aircraft having embarrassing results in bombing runs, to behind-the-scenes bickering of officers and staffs. The narrative reads with all the vigor and imagery of a novel, while incorporating copious facts and detailâ?¿Not only does Fortress Rabaul fill an important gap in the coverage of the Southwest section of the Pacific War, it makes fine and engaging reading."
AIR CLASSICS "Drawing on a variety of sources from both sides, the author has written a detailed reference book that reads like a novel."
WWII HISTORY MAGAZINE "...Fortress Rabaul opens a broader vista on this under-studied campaign with its wide research, thoughtful analysis, and gifted story-teller's panache."
WORLD WAR II
"Using international sources, Gamble musters anecdotes from airmen on both sides to illustrate the appalling natural challenges and capricious weather, miserable living conditions, primal diseases, and frightful hazards posed by limitless spans of water and cloud-cloaked jungle peaks. He also incorporates incisive sketches of key leaders among the antagonists, notable American Maj. Gen. George Kenny and Japanese Vice Adm. Jinichi Kusaka, and underlines the logistical nightmares that rendered both aircraft and spare parts scarce for combatants locked in war at such distant reachesâ?¿.Fortress Rabaul opens a broader vista on this under-studied campaign with its wide research, thoughtful analysis, and gifted story-teller's panache."
Col. Walter Boyne, USAF (Ret.), author of Clash of Wings "This tour de force by Bruce Gamble is an absolute must for anyone interested in the true story of one of World War II's most interestingâ??and most overlookedâ??battles. The author rivals Stephen Ambrose with his detailed personal accounts of not only victory and defeat, but also of the more routine events that entail quiet pride orâ??sometimesâ??suppressed embarrassment."
Eric Hammel, author of Islands of Hell: The U.S. Marines in the Western Pacific "Not for the first time, Bruce Gamble has done amazing work gathering a dazzling array of tiny, little facts, then arranging them in a big, dazzling story that amazes one's inner historian even as it breaks one's heart on its way to a triumphal conclusion."