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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2004
John Toland's book proves to be well written and covered the period right before Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway. The book is written with certain amount of balance in presenting both sides of the fence, the clarity of text is clear and it appears to be well researched.

The book explains why the Allies suffered from series of military defeats during the first six months of the war which ended ironically with the Battle of Midway which sealed the fate of the Japanese effort to win the war. The book goes into details of the Allied defeats. While it does covered the entire Pacific area in general, the American efforts are presented here in greater details. The Philippines Campaign for example, got a lot of attention compared to the Singapore Campaign. In the typical Toland's style, the narratives were taken from individuals which were then woven into the general history format.

I found the book to be interesting and informative. Only real deficit appears to be that the book was published in 1961 and some of the information presented may be old news to veteran military readers. But for newcomers to the field, this would be a great introduction to the subject matter at hand.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2008
But Not In Shame is a historical look of the first 6 months of the war in the Pacific. While the primary focus is on the war between the US and Japan, Mr. Toland does an excellent job describing the British fights for Singapore and Hong Kong and does provide passing information on Indonesia (note: Mr. Toland failed on two accounts though, mentioning the Japanese raid in the Indian Ocean and almost no mention of the battle for Burma). Much of Mr. Toland's effort is spent on the battle in the Philippines. Mr. Toland does an excellent job presenting the cases of MacArthur, Wainwright, and Homma from a neutral perspective. This was particularly difficult in MacArthur and Homma's cases given the destruction of MacArthur's air force on the ground and lack of aggressiveness from MacArthur and the brutality the Japanese melted out during the Death March (interestingly the Japanese did provide more service than I'd initially thought, however they didn't anticipate the number of troops [American and Filipino's] and individual Japanese soldiers were anywhere from helpful to brutal, favoring brutal).

As a historian, Mr. Toland does an excellent job of letting the history tell its story and then bringing forth personal accountings of the action to complete things. While not as detailed as a specific history of a battle might be; this is an excellent book for telling the complete story of the first six months of the war in the Pacific. The writing is solid, to the point, and complete. This makes for a solid 4 star book on a subject many bypass. I'm only rating it 4 stars because Mr. Toland failed to include Burma and the raid to the Indian Ocean and only provided limited insight into the war in Indonesia/Borneo (places I'm trying to learn a little more about). However, given the date of publication (1961) and the fact that it was more difficult to gather data then, one could easily view this as a 5 star book

As a closing note, many modern history writers could learn a lot by reviewing Mr. Toland's work and learning how to tell a complete story; it would help their books out immensely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
But Not in Shame deals with the Pacific War from the bombing of Pearl Harbor, through the Battle of Midway. The author, John Toland, states that he travelled more than 75,000 miles and interviewed almost 800 people to get the research for this fascinating book. The result is a human saga, told through the eyes of participants, from the highest decision makers, down to the lowliest privates and seamen. Though the greater historical outcomes of the events are well known, the narrative is nevertheless suspenseful since the reader is drawn into the personal ordeals of the characters in the story.

Toland, an American, naturally concentrates most on Pearl Harbor, Guam, Wake and the Philippines. However, memorable stories are also told through the perspectives of those trying to defend the old European colonial possessions of Hong Kong, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. The only real omission, as another reviewer has pointed out, is the Japanese conquest of Burma, which was not included in But Not in Shame. Two chapters at the end of the book briefly treat the Coral Sea and Midway battles.

The author, by his own admission, does not adhere to themes in his writing, but seeks to tell history through the experiences of the participants. This type of writing, therefore, can only be achieved during the lifetime of those who lived through the events. To any readers planning to read But Not in Shame, I suggest they first read H. P. Willmott's Empires in the Balance, which treats the same events that Toland does here, but in a grand strategic fashion. The reader will then have a firm grasp on the broad context of events, while following the individual dramas of the characters in But Not in Shame.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 17, 2007
It is to John Toland's tremendous credit that so much information about the Second World War has been collected for countless generations.
But Not In Shame represents Toland's incalculable hours of research, traveling throughout the former Pacific Theater not long after so many bitter battles had ended.
Unlike many early WWII scholars, Toland's writing style is surprisingly contemporary, comparable to current historical writers.
But Not In Shame is a volume of detailed anecdotes and play-by-play accounting of the America's desperate dawn days of WWII.
Much of Toland's writing centers around the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the climax of Midway with great stories of the men and women at Pearl Harbor, Wake, Guam and the atrocities of the march from Bataan as well.
An excellent book that will provide readers with perhaps one of the best understandings of the events surrounding the Filipino-American retreat to Bataan and Corregidor and their subsequent fall.
REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ, AUTHORS DESERVE YOUR OPINIONS. REVIEW EVERY REVIEW YOU READ, CRITICS REQUIRE CRITICISM TOO!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2010
I had found this book in a library years ago and read it. Recently I decided I wanted a copy for my personal collection and found it through Amazon. It's an absolutely excellent book. What's more, the copy I received is in almost unbelievable condition, almost new. The book itself should be read by anyone wanting a different perspective on the beginnings of WWII, and should be read by anyone who prides themselves as a military historian or scholar.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 17, 2007
It is to John Toland's tremendous credit that so much information about the Second World War has been collected for countless generations.
But Not In Shame represents Toland's incalculable hours of research, traveling throughout the former Pacific Theater not long after so many bitter battles had ended.
Unlike many early WWII scholars, Toland's writing style is surprisingly contemporary, comparable to current historical writers.
But Not In Shame is a volume of detailed anecdotes and play-by-play accounting of the America's desperate dawn days of WWII.
Much of Toland's writing centers around the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the climax of Midway with great stories of the men and women at Pearl Harbor, Wake, Guam and the atrocities of the march from Bataan as well.
An excellent book that will provide readers with perhaps one of the best understandings of the events surrounding the Filipino-American retreat to Bataan and Corregidor and their subsequent fall.
REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ, AUTHORS DESERVE YOUR OPINIONS. REVIEW EVERY REVIEW YOU READ, CRITICS REQUIRE CRITICISM TOO!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 17, 2007
It is to John Toland's tremendous credit that so much information about the Second World War has been collected for countless generations.
But Not In Shame represents Toland's incalculable hours of research, traveling throughout the former Pacific Theater not long after so many bitter battles had ended.
Unlike many early WWII scholars, Toland's writing style is surprisingly contemporary, comparable to current historical writers.
But Not In Shame is a volume of detailed anecdotes and play-by-play accounting of the America's desperate dawn days of WWII.
Much of Toland's writing centers around the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the climax of Midway with great stories of the men and women at Pearl Harbor, Wake, Guam and the atrocities of the march from Bataan as well.
An excellent book that will provide readers with perhaps one of the best understandings of the events surrounding the Filipino-American retreat to Bataan and Corregidor and their subsequent fall.
REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ, AUTHORS DESERVE YOUR OPINIONS. REVIEW EVERY REVIEW YOU READ, CRITICS REQUIRE CRITICISM TOO!
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on May 1, 2012
A valuable book, well written by John Toland who knows how to write an appealing piece. It's valuable because it covers a time period in the Pacific -- Pearl Harbor to Midway -- with which many readers will be unfamiliar. Of course everyone knows about Midway. It was, after all, a victory for America. And we probably have heard of Bataan, which fits into the heroic "last stand" narrative.

A stupendous, colossal, epic movie called "Pearl Harbor" appeared a few years ago. I think it was about some rude Japanese interrupting a love affair. Not exactly a heroic last stand but more of a treacherous sneak attack for which the Americans can be forgiven. (The producers were compelled to tack on a victory at the end, lest viewers feel that battles can be lost as well as won.) There are in fact more feature films made about Midway, including award-winning documentaries, than we can count. The one most often seen on television is called simply "Midway." There is a war-time feature film called "Bataan" as well, starring Robert Taylor as the gallant sergeant who would never give up, and a war-time "Wake Island" that fits the frame. There is a feature film called "The Battle of the Coral Sea" but it's not about the battle of the Coral Sea (which was a tie) but about prisoners of war with a bit of newsreel footage thrown in.

There are, as far as I know, no movies called "Singapore" or "The Battle of the Java Sea." We lost those battles, not so much through treachery or because we were faced with overwhelming numbers of the enemy but because sometimes battles are lost despite the best of plans and efforts. And sometimes even our best plans and efforts aren't good enough because no one is perfect.

That's basically why I think this book is such a necessary complement to the many media presentations of Allied victories. Most of us don't know very much about this six-month period after Pearl Harbor. Many of us know virtually NOTHING about it.

Toland is a splendid writer for popular audiences. He gives you enough detail to understand the movement of armed forces and the reasoning behind those movements -- but not too much detail. Most of the names will be unfamiliar but they don't come in swarms. Another virtue of the book is that the Japanese point of view is represented. Their situational brutality is described but so is their bravery and their occasionally friendly gestures. Toland traveled more than 75,000 miles, visited eight countries, and interviewed almost 800 people of all backgrounds to collect this material. Much of this personal stuff is gone for good now, needless to say.

I suspect an argument could be made that something like this should be required reading in high schools. It's always amazing to find out how little our students know of recent history or of history in general. A poll taken around Independence Day two years ago found that one in four Americans couldn't name the country we achieved independence from. Wrong answers ranged from France to China. A substantial number of students don't know which countries went to war against which other countries in World War II.

And I have to conclude with an anecdote. Some years ago the eminent historian Barbara Tuchman gave a lecture at a well-known Midwestern university on the causes of World War I. Afterwards, a student congratulated her for clarifying the dynamics behind the conflict. He added that he'd always wondered why they called "the other one" World War TWO.

Boy, do we need books like this.
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on May 25, 2013
Published 20 years after the event, this book covers the first six months of the war in the Pacific. It starts, obviously, with Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and tells how the Japanese overwhelmed the American, British, Dutch and Australian forces at sea, in the air, and on the ground. The title is drawn from General Wainwright's message informing Roosevelt of his intention to surrender the Philippines "with broken heart and head bowed in sadness but not in shame". At over 400 pages, Toland was able to relate events in detail, and the narrative benefits from the fact that he visited many of the places and interviewed hundreds of survivors, including Japanese. It is very much a story of the people involved, rather than strategy, and is well worth seeking out. Amazingly though, it does not have an index.
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on February 22, 2015
The book was as described and was delivered in a timely manner! I am happy with the purchase.
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