Into the Rising Sun: World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat

Into the Rising Sun: World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat

by Patrick K. O'Donnell


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In his award-winning book Beyond Valor, Patrick O’Donnell reveals the true nature of the European Theater in World War II, as told by those who survived. Now, with Into the Rising Sun, O’Donnell tells the story of the brutal Pacific War, based on hundreds of interviews spanning a decade.

The men who fought their way across the Pacific during World War II had to possess something more than just courage. They faced a cruel, fanatical enemy in the Japanese, an enemy willing to use anything for victory, from kamikaze flights to human-guided torpedoes. Over the course of the war, Marines, paratroopers, and rangers spearheaded D-Day–sized beach assaults, encountered cannibalism, suffered friendly-fire incidents, and endured torture as prisoners of war. Though they are truly heroes, they claim no glory for themselves. As one soldier put it, "When somebody gets decorated, it’s because a lot of other men died."

By at last telling their stories, these men present a hard, unvarnished look at the war on the ground, a final gift from aging warriors who have already given so much. Only with these accounts can the true horror of the war in the Pacific be fully known. Together with detailed maps of each battle, Into the Rising Sun offers a complete yet deeply personal account of the war in the Pacific and a ground-level view of some of history’s most brutal combat.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439192580
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 02/23/2010
Pages: 314
Sales rank: 745,992
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Bestselling author Patrick K. O’Donnell is a special operations historian who has written nine previous books: First SEALs; Beyond Valor, Into the Rising Sun; Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs; The Brenner Assignment; They Dared Return; We Were One (selected for the Marine Commandant’s Professional Reading List); Give Me Tomorrow; and Dog Company. The author is the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious William E. Colby Award and the OSS Society’s John Waller Award. He has provided historical consultation for DreamWorks’s award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers and for documentaries produced by the BBC, the History Channel, and Fox News. He served as a combat historian in a Marine rifle platoon during the Battle of Fallujah and is in demand as an expert speaker on WWII espionage, special operations, and counterinsurgency on the modern battlefield. Over the past twenty years, O’Donnell has interviewed more than 4,000 veterans who fought in America’s wars from WWI to Afghanistan and specializes in “unearthing untold true stories that read like novels.” Visit him online at

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Overview: The Elite Infantry of the Pacific 9

Chapter 1 Operation Shoestring 17

Chapter 2 Starvation Island: Guadalcanal 37

Chapter 3 Up the Solomons: Strangling Rabaul 63

Chapter 4 Burma: Merrill's Marauders 89

Chapter 5 New Guinea 119

Chapter 6 Into the Marianas 133

Chapter 7 Leyte: The Return to the Philippines 149

Chapter 8 Luzon 175

Chapter 9 Clearing the Philippines: Corregidor, Luzon, and Negros 193

Chapter 10 Into the Jaws of Hell: Iwo Jima 221

Chapter 11 The Last Battle: Okinawa 257

Chapter 12 Home 283

Appendix 293

Notes 295

Acknowledgments 305

Index 308

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