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This is Guadalcanal
     

This is Guadalcanal

by William S. Butler, William S. Butler, Betsty Maestro
 

In the desperate battle for Guadalcanal, every American soldier had to walk a thin red line between life and death. On August 7, 1942, American Marines waded into the Pacific island called Gaudalcanal.

They encountered jungles, alligators, insidious malaris, and a particularly deadly adversary in the Japanese soldier. Only weeks after their defeat at Midwas, the

Overview

In the desperate battle for Guadalcanal, every American soldier had to walk a thin red line between life and death. On August 7, 1942, American Marines waded into the Pacific island called Gaudalcanal.

They encountered jungles, alligators, insidious malaris, and a particularly deadly adversary in the Japanese soldier. Only weeks after their defeat at Midwas, the Japanese were Gutsy, vicious, and prepared to give their own lives to take out just one American. There was no surrender.

Captured by combat photographers, here is thw real story of one of America's fiercest battles in the Pacific theater. Men, ships, carriers, and planes turned a certain defear into an excruciating yet decisive American victory. Taken in the air, at sea and on land, these are rarely seen photographs from the Battle of Guadalcanal.

On August 7, 1942, American Marines waded onto a pacific island called Guadalcanal. They encountered jungles, alligators, insidious malaria, and a particularly deadly adversary in the Japanese soldier. Only weeks after their defeat at Midway, the Japanese were gutsy, vicious, and prepared to give their own lives to take out just one American. There was no surrender.

Witness firsthand the six months of hell that was Guadalcanal with the original combat photography of This is Guadalcanal — the epic battle that was the inspiration for The Thin Red Line, the major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox by writer-director Terrence Malick. Captured by combat photographers, here is the real story of men, ships, carriers and planes that resulted in the decisive American victory that turned the tide of war in the South Pacific in 1942.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Witness firsthand the six months of hell that was Guadalcanal with the original combat photography of This Is Guadalcanal. This is the epic battle that formed the basis of James Jones's The Thin Red Line and the major motion picture based on that powerful novel. Captured by combat photographers, here is the real story of men, ships, carriers, and planes that resulted in the decisive American victory that turned the tide of war in the South Pacific in 1942.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688170813
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/03/1998
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.97(h) x 0.39(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Battle of Guadalcanal was a grueling, six-month struggle on land, in the air, and at sea, to oust the Japanese Imperial forces from the Solomon Islands.It was more than a battle over a chain of islands in the Pacific.Guadalcanal was the crucible of American and Japanese military traditions.It was a trial of withering machine gun fire against waves of soldiers brandishing gun and sword, with soldiers encountering an adversary that fought at night.It turned into one of the fiercest battles of World War II.

As Japan island-hopped toward Australia, America saw the Solomons as the place to draw the line.Further, from these islands the U.S. could build a series of naval bases across the Pacific to support and eventual attack on Japan.The original objective had been to land on an island in the Solomons called Tulagi, but then the Japanese started building a fighter strip on the larger island of Guadalcanal.The American command knew the Japanese had to be stopped from establishing the strategic airbase, and wanted to take control of Guadalcanal for themselves.They would transform this island into an "unsinkable aircraft carrier."

The Marines landed on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942, scattering the enemy into the jungle.On Tulagi, they met bitter resistance but recaptured the small island the next day.Knowing that the Japanese would fight to dislodge them, the Marines set their perimeter around the Guadalcanal airfield renamed Henderson Field.Henderson would be the focus of the battles to follow for the next six months.

Humiliated by their defeat at Midway, the Japanese preferred dying over surrender and they were determined not to loseGuadalcanal.The enemy's capacity for killing startled the young, inexperienced Marines.Constantly damp from rain, sweat, and the fetid muck, Americans nonetheless found the humidity of day preferable to the deadly assaults at night by the frenzied Japanese soldiers.

Since this battleground was isolated by vast stretches of the Pacific Ocean, vicious naval battles were fought as each side attempted to stop the re-supply transports.American ships were, at first, devastated by night attacks and the superior Japanese torpedoes.On the carriers, if the relentless shelling wasn't enough, there were the kamikazes.American ground forces, knee-deep in mud, encountered warriors wielding bayonets, machetes, and nerves of cold steel.As James Jones wrote in his gut-wrenching autobiographical novel, The Thin Red Line: "They had been initiated into a strange, insane, twilight fraternity where explanation would be forever impossible."

Darkness intensified the jungle environment and deadly zeal of the enemy.Nearly every battle took place at night.Exploding shells, torpedoes, grenades, machine guns and bombs painted the heavens with an eerie glow, night after night.Even without rainstorms, mosquitoes and racking fevers, few would have slept during their long nights on Guadalcanal.

Guadalcanal was the first, and perhaps only, battle of World War IIthat combined assaults on the ground, at sea, in the skies and between aircraft carriers.The American forces confronted naval destroyers, jungle warfare, aerial dogfights, submarines, torpedoes, grenades, barbed wire and bare hands.On all fronts this beautiful tropical island was a hellish nightmare.Disease was widespread, and wounds festered beneath rotting bandages, killing large numbers outside of battle.Others simply went into shock, or worse, insane.

Americans sent a total of 60,000 troops to Guadalcanal under "Operation Watchtower," between August 1942 and February 1943.The 1st Marine Division was there the longest, four grueling months, and Guadalcanal remains one of the defining campaigns in the history of the Marine Corps.

More that 1,600 American ground forces were killed, and nearly triple that number were lost at sea.The Japanese lost more that 25,000 troops on the island, and uncounted more on sunken ships.Both sides lost dozens of warships, several carriers, and hundreds of Airplanes.

There have been few military campaigns of this magnitude, and Guadalcanal was the first in history to be immortalized on camera.Much of the night action is necessarily missing from these pages.But the vivid was images presented here, captured by combat photographers, are eyewitness to the legendary, pivotal battle that changed the course of the war in the Pacific.

Copyright ) 1998 by L. Douglas Keeney and William S. Butler

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