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D-Days in the Pacific Paperback – April 4, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A distinguished historian who revised and updated Henry Steele Commager's History of World War II now focuses on the Pacific War. The theatre emerges as a series of amphibious landings, for which the U.S. had prepared before the war and which almost certainly shortened the war. But as the U.S. fought its way from Guadalcanal to Okinawa and prepared to invade the Japanese home islands, its troops faced skilled and tenacious resistance by the Japanese. Survivors on both sides (Americans include Eugene Sledge, William Manchester and James Jones) emphasize the brutality and the stress of the close-quarters combat that often arose from an amphibious landing. The author also emphasizes the strained relations between MacArthur and Nimitz, which led to a two-front campaign that pushed even American resources to the limit. As he concludes, Miller notes with unusual balance the role that the casualties of Iwo Jima and Okinawa played in the decision to drop the A-bomb, by creating expectations of even bloodier battles in the course of an invasion. The book also includes annotation and a bibliography valuable for further reading and a good selection of 80 b&w illustrations and 10 maps. It lacks only enough background on prewar diplomacy and the Japanese campaign in China to be the perfect introduction to the Pacific War. Agent, Lou Reda.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Miller's very readable account of the offensives in the Pacific, from the turning of the tide at Guadalcanal to VJ-day, portrays a series of amphibious landings, many of them bloodily and tenaciously contested. He skillfully uses official records and the remembrances of frontline survivors to depict the savagery and stresses of the close-quarters combat usually encountered in amphibious warfare. He also discusses the strained relationship between General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, respectively the army and navy commanders in the Pacific, provoking one to wonder whether both sometimes forgot whom they were supposed to be fighting. Accounts of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, with their high casualty rates, introduce Miller's consideration of the decision to drop the atomic bomb. After those island campaigns, everyone from the president to the private believed something big should shorten the war and reduce American casualties. Excellent narrative history and first-class illustrations eventuate in superior historiography. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Simon & Schuster Pbk. Ed edition (April 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743269292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743269292
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Donald L. Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College. He hosted the series A Biography of America on PBS and has appeared in numerous other PBS programs in the American Experience series, as well as in programs on the History Channel. He is the author of eight previous books, among them the prize-winning City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America, The Story of World War II, and D-Days in the Pacific.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Edwin B. Burgess on March 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Published to coincide with the History Channel broadcast of the same title, and based on The Story of World War II, which was in turn Miller's revision and update of Henry Steele Commager's book of the same name. Miller is a much-published history professor and PBS host. Although the title refers to the 127 separate over-the-beach operations that occurred in the Pacific theater, he spends most of his effort on a relatively small number of familiar names-Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Saipan, Peleliu, Okinawa. Good section on the B-29 raids, with many quotes from General Curtis LeMay. Miller's discussion of the decision to use the atomic bomb, with the war aims, fears, and political intentions surrounding it, concentrates on the soldiers in the theater who expected a bloody and suicidal struggle on the home islands, and were eager to do anything to avoid it. The author has a remarkable narrative flair and a fine eye for the detail that makes history come alive. Effective use of first-person accounts. Nothing new here, but a fine introduction to the war in the Pacific. Extensive bibliography. Well worth the purchase as a reasonably short and accessible history.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chase on July 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
D-days in the Pacific is the most accurate account of the war in the Pacific. I particularly enjoyed the personal accounts of the soldiers and the effects of the war that could only be told by the men who fought it. Donald Miller does a wonderful job of blending the human aspect along with the historical facts to make D-Days in the Pacific a great story for anyone who's interested in history.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. M. Gould on April 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have the 4th edition of "D-Days in the Pacific," which I am hugely enjoying reading.
I don't find the errors a reviewer on this site wrote that he was "astonished" to find.
Looking at the few he mentions I am guessing they could've been typo's or printer's errors, and obviously they've been corrected.

Mr. Miller's body of work speaks for itself (i.e., "The Story of World War II", "City of the Century", "Masters of the Air", "Lewis Mumford: A Life"). I have read them all. His prose is beautifully crafted, absolutely gripping, a pleasure to read and incredibly factual. He crafts his writing much like another favorite author of mine, William Manchester. And with encomiums from the likes of David McCullough, James Bradley, Joseph E. Persico, Geoffrey Ward and Walter Boyne I don't need to think twice about Mr. Miller's veracity

I highly recommend "D-Days in the Pacific."

Michael Gould
Bedford, Hills, NY
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nesmuck on March 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just picked up this book because I read that the author is an historical consultant for the HBO upcoming series The Pacific. Miller's book is the only general account of the Pacific that reinforces the stark realism of the narrative describing the unusually-savage fighting, by using first-hand accounts of the same eyewitnesses used in the HBO series.

Perhaps I have a different edition than the reviewer who claims that D-Days in the Pacific has many factual errors because I could find none that he cited.

For those looking for an introduction to the war in the Pacific, D-Days in the Pacific is an excellent choice.
The book well illustrated with has photographs as well as maps that help the reader understand the brutal and vast nature of this conflict. D-Days deserves a wide readership. Historians, students, and the general populace too will find it compelling.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ben Kuhn on February 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chronicles with great detail the various amphibious operations in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Includes many first hand accounts from the men who were there to give the book more of a personal feeling about what combat was like. Begins with the attack on Pearl Harbor then discusses nearly all of the battles, including Tarawa and Iwo Jima, up until the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. A must have book for anyone interested in the Pacific Theatre.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tim Hamilton on April 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
The author of this, the best one-volume history of the Pacific War, is a world-renowned, best-selling historian of World War 11 and a Historical Consultant to the HBO series, "The Pacific." He is quoted voluminously and seen often on "The Pacific's" astonishing web-site and his book is recommended reading in the HBO Teachers Guide to the series--one of only a handful of books to be recommended.

This book is the only history of the Pacific that both deals in depth with all the battles covered in the HBO show and features Eugene Sledge, who Miller interviewed long before the series was conceived. It is a "can't miss" book for readers looking for a highly readable history told from the "under the helmet" perspective employed by Hanks and Spielberg, the producers of "The Pacific." Miller previously collaborated with Hanks as a writer for the magnificent film "Beyond All Boundaries," that is setting attendance records at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. The museum was founded by Stephen Ambrose, the historian Miller credits with inspiring and urging him to write "D-Days in the Pacific." Miller and Ambrose apparently were long-time friends; and before he died, Ambrose made accessible to Miller his tremendous collection of oral histories of the Pacific War. This is the book Ambrose would have written had he lived.

Two readers point to several inaccuracies in the book. After talking to several other readers, it is my understanding that these were copy editing errors that appeared in only the first printing of the book. In the volume I purchased none of the mistakes pointed out by one critic of the book on this web site appear. For example, on p. 15 Miller does not say that the Arizona contained one million tons of explosives. There is no mention of this.
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