Brutal Pacific War combat is depicted from both Japanese and American perspectives in the new novel The 'Canal. It is late 1942. America and Japan are locked in a bitter struggle over the strategic but remote island of Guadalcanal. The victor will control the vital sea-lanes in the southwest Pacific, the defeated loses the strategic initiative and perhaps the war. The Americans hold the island and its airfields but just barely, the marine garrison weakened by months of jungle fighting. Recognizing that Guadalcanal may prove to be the decisive battle in the Pacific, Japan decides to break the stalemate and commits the cream of its military to its capture. But America cannot respond in kind. On the other side of the globe, the German army has captured Moscow and America's Russian ally demands a second front in Europe or make a separate peace with Germany. Supplies and troops meant for the Pacific are diverted to the European invasion, moved up a full year.
In the face of this new strategic reality, there is one last hope for the American defenders. Washington scrapes together enough cargo ships and fresh ground troops to defeat the starving Japanese on Guadalcanal. The cargo fleet arrives off the island first but before it can land its supplies, a Japanese naval force, sent under cover of darkness to bombard the airfields, stumbles upon the fleet and destroys it. This throws the American plan into doubt until intelligence indicates that the Japanese are planning their own fresh infusion of troops and supplies. To prevent sure defeat ashore, they proceed with their plan to land a fresh army division but on a more limited scope.
It now becomes a raceto see who can resupply their garrison first. The Japanese decide to commit their superbattleship, the Yamanashi, to ensure their troops reach the island intact. The Americans counter with their own battleships but they do not match the combat power of the Japanese behemoth. The stage is set for the climactic battle for the island, told through the eyes of Japanese and American alike. Sit in admirals' conferences, in gun turrets, in aircraft cockpits and in foxholes as the story is told. Live through the experiences of these men as they fight both their mortal enemy and the jungle.
In the balance lies the outcome of the Pacific War. . .
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About the Author
Steve Athanas has spent his life studying the military and warfare. As a teenager he attended a military high school, then graduated in 1982 from the United States Air Force Academy, majoring in military history. After graduation he served as a special operations helicopter pilot before leaving active duty in 1988.
For this book he traveled to the Solomon Islands and spent considerable time on Guadalcanal, where the scars of the Pacific campaign can still be seen. With the help of native guides he pushed inland to areas that "hadn't seen a white man" in fifty years.
The 'Canal is Steve Athanas' first book. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a great novel of the campaign for Guadalcanal.The beginning and the end will have you wondering. The whole 'guts' of the book will keep you riveted with intense action vividly described by someone who has had hands on experience espicially in the air. You will wonder 'what next?' as the action comes at you from all angles. If you can put this book down at bedtime, I'd be surprised.
The 'Canal is a novel of the fighting on Guadalcanal. Once the characters are in place, the story begins. Page after page of action-packed fighting at sea, on the land, and in the air. You are there with these men, Japanese and American, as they fight for their very lives. Never read a book quite like this and be prepared for a surprise ending. The only disappointment for this reader was that the book eneded too soon!