Crisis in the Pacific - The Battles for the Philippine Islands by the Men Who Fought Them, Gerald Astor


Crisis in the Pacific - The Battles for the Philippine Islands by the Men Who Fought Them, Gerald Astor

The Philippine Islands saw fighting from the start to the end of the Pacific War, starting with the Japanese invasion of 1941-42, and ending with the American return to the Philippines in 1944-45. In the intervening years series of resistance movements sprang up, so the islands were never free of fighting, while many of the Americans and Europeans captured in 1942 suffered through two years in Japanese camps.

Astor's book is based on a large number of first hand accounts of the fighting, almost all from American sources. Astor provides a narrative framework for the story, but allows his eye witnesses to do most of the talking. This brings you into the heart of the action in a way that standard narratives can't do and makes this an utterly compelling account of the long campaigns in the Philippines.

The only real flaw in this book is the absence of Japanese or Pilipino voices - the only Japanese account comes from a member of the California-Japanese community who served with the US Army, the only Pilipino from a resistance leader who later moved to the US. Our sources are thus virtually all American, but within that limit there is a great deal of variety, including civilians caught out by the Japanese invasion as well as members of all four American services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) and every rank from the very bottom to the very top. 

This is first class piece of work which really draws you in to the very varied battles fought on, over and on and under the seas around the Philippines. A fascinating book and a classic example of oral history.

1 - First Strikes
2 - Backdrop
3 - Opening Rounds
4 - The Hammer Falls
5 - The Japanese Invade
6 - Retreat
7 - The Siege of Bataan Begins
8 - The Rock
9 - Bataan Begins to Crumple
10 - The Second Line
11 - Bataan Falls
12 - The Death March
13 - Corregidor Falls
14 - Prisoners of War
15 - First Steps to Return
16 - On the Brink
17 - Red Beach
18 - White, Orange, Blue, Violet and Yellow
19 - The Battle of Leyte Gulf
20 - The Kamikazes
21 - Leyte Secured
22 - S-Day, The Lingayen Gulf Invasion
23 - The Manila Plain
24 - The Battle for Manila
25 - Beyond Manila
26 - The Other Islands and the End
27 - Mopping Up
Roll Call

Author: Gerald Astor
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 651
Publisher: Dell
Year: 1996

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