by Earl Hinz
Bess Press 1995
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|Pacific Island Battlegrounds of World War II
Then and Now
Pacific Island Battlegrounds highlights decisive World War II military operations in the islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia and describes the changes that have occurred in these islands during the 50 years since the end of the war. Over 100 b/w and color photos, maps and an index.
The author is a contributor to Pacific Magazine and a Marine Corps veteran of WW II. He was at Ewa Marine Air Base during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After the war, he traveled to many of the famous Pacific battlefields with his wife on his sailboat Horizon. The book is full of wartime photos, history, maps and current pictures.
The book succeeds in giving readers an excellent look into the histories of the more famous operations of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Included are chapters on Pearl Harbor, Wake, Midway, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Marshall Islands, Rabaul, New Guinea, New Hebrides, Truk, Saipan, Guam and Peleliu.
Each chapter provides a clear and concise historical summaries of the war history for each location. These histories are written as overviews, and do not contain all the many details that one would find in historical anthologies. Rather, it is the author's intention to provide highlights that might stimulate further reading on the subject
Every section ends with a write up about the fifty years that have passes since the war. These "now" sections bring readers up to speed about political changes in each region, and identify issues and events that have defined the modern history of the location.
The author has chosen many unique wartime photographs to illustrate each history. They include some more rare Pacific war imagery, like coastal defenses on Oahu beach. The book's maps are of exceptional quality. They were created by Angela Wu-Ki and are much better than most history books because of their clarity.
Of course, the most interesting section to me is the fourteen pages of color photographs of each location today. Each section of the book has four color photos of locations in that country today. For the Papua New Guinea section, there are photos of Hanuabada village (near Moresby), the Air Niugini DC-3 on display at Moresby, Coastwatchers Memorial in Madang, and Parliament house in Moresby.
I would have like to see more present day photos, and of course more wreck photos! Regardless, the book is a good addition to anyone's library who is interested in the war in the Pacific and war wrecks. And worth it for a wide survey of Pacific wrecks, and their history.
Review by Justin Taylan