From Publishers Weekly
"Uncommon courage was a common virtue": this was said of Marines on another island, Iwo Jima. Texas journalist Sloan's excellent research, interviewing and journalistic prose will have readers of this moving book saying it of Wake Island, too: this popular military history is the best account yet of the Battle for Wake Island in December 1941. An almost barren coral atoll in the Central Pacific, Wake was a link in American communications with the Far East and squarely in the middle of Japanese-held islands. So both sides targeted it in the coming war, and soon after Pearl Harbor the Japanese began steady air attacks on the atoll's garrison. That garrison included a minuscule Marine air arm, flying half-wrecked F4F Wildcats, a thin battalion of Marine infantry and artillery, and a large number of civilian construction workers overtaken by the war while building a base. Battered from the air, this motley group actually drove off the first Japanese attempt at a landing, and inflicted heavy casualties on a second and much stronger effort before surrendering. The Wake Islanders can truly be called "heroic," even if Marine Major Devereaux and Navy Commander Cunningham did not coordinate as well as they could have. The Japanese emerge with little credit for either their witless tactics or their harsh treatment of the prisoners, although a Dr. Ozeki saved the lives of several wounded Americans. Wake Island has nearly faded from memory; the survivors interviewed are fading from life; this book is direly needed on any WW II shelf.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is the third recently published account about the capture of Wake Island in December 1941 (after Pacific Alamo
by John Wukovits  and Hell Wouldn't Stop
by Chet Cunningham ), and like its predecessors, the book avails itself of the handful of witnesses to the combat there. Sloan distinguishes himself with a seasoned journalistic approach, emphasizing the personal experience of young marines and civilian construction workers who defeated an initial Japanese attempt to land but succumbed to a second one. The possibility that Wake could have held out has generated conflicting memoirs and naval accounts, which Sloan draws on in his narrative as he recounts the fighting from the perspective of the foxhole. Collectively lauded as heroes at a grim time, when the war was going Japan's way, the marines are ably individualized by Sloan in ground-pounding dramatization of the gory action at every gun position. The last-stand courage of Wake's warriors continues to draw readers of military history. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved