Start reading The Pacific on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration
The Pacific Narrated by Mike Chamberlain $45.50 $12.49
Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

The Pacific [Kindle Edition]

Hugh Ambrose
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $12.39
You Save: $3.61 (23%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $12.49 when you buy the Kindle book.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $12.39  
Hardcover $15.85  
Paperback $13.04  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $0.00 Free with Audible trial
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged --  
The Wars in Europe
Browse books on pivotal moments in European military history. Learn more

Book Description

The New York Times bestselling official companion book to the Emmy(r) Award-winning HBO(r) miniseries.

Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war against Japan. From the debacle in Bataan, to the miracle at Midway and the relentless vortex of Guadalcanal, their solemn oaths to their country later led one to the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot and the others to the coral strongholds of Peleliu, the black terraces of Iwo Jima and the killing fields of Okinawa, until at last the survivors enjoyed a triumphant, yet uneasy, return home.

In The Pacific, Hugh Ambrose focuses on the real-life stories of five men who put their lives on the line for our country. To deepen the story revealed in the HBO(r) miniseries and go beyond it, the book dares to chart a great ocean of enmity known as the Pacific and the brave men who fought.

Editorial Reviews Review

The Pacific: An Opinionated History

The Pacific presents the Pacific War, from America’s first battle with the Japanese to the final shot. It blends eyewitness accounts into a larger perspective on the course of the war. However, this larger perspective is not solely provided by the historian, but also by the veterans. Put another way, instead of layering some oral histories onto a historical framework, I follow the lives of five veterans who, between them, experienced most of the key moments of the war. By walking with these men through their respective wars, the reader comes to see The Pacificas a whole.

The result of this approach is, I think, unusually powerful. The war comes at the reader with speed and power and meaning. The veterans, moreover, were not historians calmly researching and reporting all the facts. Their very definite opinions about people and events, as expressed in the book, must be understood in that light. Although historians may contest some of their judgments, I think they are valuable. It’s not just that veterans have a right to their own opinions—they certainly earned it—it’s that their passion is infectious. Reading this book, you will always care about what happens and why.

A careful reader will of course discern a great many of my conclusions about the war. I choose these particular men out of hundreds of possibilities for a reason. You will notice, for instance, that the US Army receives scant notice. I recognize that there were more army divisions serving in the Pacific than Marine Corps divisions. I admit that in fighting their way through the South Pacific, the soldiers won battles every bit as harrowing as those fought by the Leathernecks. As a historian, though, I believe that the drive through the South Pacific was secondary. Had the US only been able to sustain one drive, it would have been the one through the Central Pacific. In order to keep my book to manageable length, I focused on the US Navy and its Marine Corps.

Although the book focuses on Marines, specifically the story of the First Marine Division, it also includes the life of one aircraft carrier pilot. The Pacific War was a carrier war as no war has ever been. Few men saw as much of the carrier war as Vernon “Mike” Micheel. To see Mike fly a dive bomber at the Battle of Midway and later at the Philippine Sea is to simultaneously appreciate these critical turning points; to understand them within the context of the war; and to witness the profound change in circumstances which occurred between them.

Mike Micheel served with two of the carrier war’s most important figures: Captain Miles Browning and Admiral J.J. “Jocko” Clark. Through Mike, we do not come to understand them in their totality, as their biographies provide. We see them in action and as viewed by someone who served under them. Mike did not care for Browning, who is revered by some historians, because Browning “short decked” his squadrons—as captain of the carrier USS Yorktown, he failed to ensure his pilots had enough open deck and enough headwind with which to take off. Conversely, Admiral Clark, who once accused Mike of skipping work to go drinking in the bars, comes off better than Browning. Clark’s personality could be as abrasive as Browning’s, but his motivations were sound. Mike understood that Clark wanted his ship to be the best. Every sailor on board Yorktown believed that their Admiral worked hard to achieve that goal.

Watching Mike’s experiences with these men, we understand why he judged them so. Part of his information about them came from hearsay or, as its known in the navy, scuttlebutt. Scuttlebutt is notoriously inaccurate. Mike knew that and tried not to be influenced by it, but he still was. The importance of gossip in the life of a man in combat is often stated by historians, but The Pacific endeavors to allow the reader to experience a man’s struggle to understand, to survive.

Each of the millions of men under arms in WWII experienced his own unique war. Each man within a company or a squadron comprehended his reality differently than his comrades. Can five men, with their own set of idiosyncratic experiences, represent this vast and complex war sufficiently to warrant the book’s all-encompassing title? I think so. By choosing these particular five men, I have written a history that simultaneously describes the individual experience and illuminates the general truths of that vast ocean of enmity we call The Pacific.

--Hugh Ambrose

From Publishers Weekly

In this follow-up to his late father's Band of Brothers, which tracked a single army unit from Georgia to the battlefields of Europe, historian Ambrose turns his attention to the Pacific theater, following four individual marines and one Naval Aviator through their time in combat. The book opens with the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the capture of U.S. Forces on the Bataan peninsula and Corregidor Island. First-hand accounts from U.S. combatants describe vividly the horrific conditions of the island-hopping campaign and the ferocity of the fighting, but also the lengths to which young men would go to join up: subject Eugene B. Sledge purposely flunked out of college to enlist in the Marine Corps. Captain Austin Shofner recounts the brutality of his internment in a Japanese prison war camp, his daring escape, fighting alongside Philippine guerillas, and his eventual repatriation with the U.S. Marine Corps. Ambrose also reveals how, at the time, many marines expressed contempt for Gen. MacArthur, receiving accolades back home while they made halting, bloody progress across such islands as Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Doing for the war against Japan what Band of Brothers did for the war against Germany, Ambrose's history effectively immerses readers in the Good War's second front.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1375 KB
  • Print Length: 513 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1847678238
  • Publisher: NAL; Rep Mti edition (February 25, 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0030CVQ3U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,819 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
141 of 151 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Generation Removed March 6, 2010
The 10 segment HBO mini-series will focus on the Pacific theater as seen through the eyes of Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge. Based on the books "With the Old Breed" by Sledge and "Helmet for my Pillow" by Leckie as well as other first person accounts and interviews, the series includes battles in Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa as well as the marines return after VJ Day. The Pacific is the companion book to the series but differs in some ways. It also features the stories of Ensign "Mike" Micheel who got his first experience as a dive bomber at the Battle of Midway and that of Lieutenant Austin Shofner who was a POW in Manila after being part of the initial unsuccessful attempt to hold the Philippines.

As in HBO's prior WW II series, The Pacific manages to personalize events which have been portrayed on more of an epic level in presentations such as Victory at Sea. In doing so, it succeeds in conveying the larger than life terror that citizen soldiers faced just a few months removed from their everyday lives in their hometowns. Micheel describes the "puckering" he feels while preparing to dive bomb an enemy aircraft carrier. A marine experiencing repeated bombing runs by Japanese airplanes writes in his journal: "We are all nervous wrecks." As Shofner struggles to survive the extremes of deprivation in an enemy POW camp, his friend tells him "Death isn't hard. Death is easy." It is at that point that Shofner knows his friend will not survive the camp.

What is extraordinary is how the men surmount these challenges and fight in the face of fear, doubt, lack of food and water, sleep deprivation and the illness that can result from all of these factors.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A passable yet dry account of The Pacific War... March 7, 2010
As a huge fan of Band of Brothers I couldn't wait for the series to start so I picked up Ambrose's The Pacific in order to fill the time and give me a back story for when the series starts. The Pacific certainly did that and more as I now want to read a lot more on the war against the "Japs". With The Pacific I think the subject being covered was what triggered this, as Ambrose's style of writing is both a hit and a miss.

The pros are that I oftentimes wonder as I am reading other memoirs/bios of WWII veterans as to where and how they fit in with one another. With The Pacific the mini bios of the marines and naval pilots are all woven together in a linear timeline so you always know where they are and what they are doing in relation to one another. This is fascinating to me because it adds many levels of detail that help to create an overall richer account of The Pacific War. Add to this the different elements of who they are, i.e. officer, dive bomber and so on, and we are treated to a more in depth look at the structure of the US forces battlling the Japanese in the Pacific ocean.

The cons, and I really only have one worth mentioning, is that Ambrose's style of writing can be rather dry and stiff at times, feeling as though we are getting a recitation of facts instead of a narrative that is weaving the facts together. Although this style can work I oftentimes found that the writing style was having troubles catching my interest and I had to draw myself back in order to continue my own narrative of what Ambrose was telling us.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
124 of 140 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I hope the series is better than the book March 18, 2010
By D. May
I just bought this book the other day. I've read a LOT of history on WW2, perhaps 200+ books.

As the author explains in the Introduction, this book is meant not as a detailed military analysis of the battles that are covered within it, nor is it meant to be a biography, per se. The author claims to be striving for an "in the moment" veteran's-eye view, with all misconceptions, errors of fact, and rampant war rumors (which accompany any combat operation) left intact, for affect. Direct quotes from the players...and related players...are intentionally lacking.

So, if you can imagine a book that has minimal dialogue or quotes, erroneous historical facts cited often, and strives on purpose to have all the depth and breadth of a casual conversation, you end up with what seems to me like a book that HAD a lot of potential, but any time it got near any topic of interest, it did its best to get off the subject and move on to the next topic, as fast as possible. I want to know exactly what these guys were thinking, feeling and saying in these moments, in as much detail as the author could have wrested from his subjects via extensive interviews and research. This book reads more like a field report, all too often just too brief and bound by short sentences, consisting of the barest-of-bones facts.

In the end, it's VERY hard to read. Stilted, encumbered by its self-inflicted "style", it is a lost chance to really contribute to our history in the war...and it was done on purpose, all for the sake of conducting what I would call, "A failed experiment in writing". Hugh Ambrose just isn't his father, sorry to say.

I hope the mini-series is better. I'd skip this book, I don't think that you'll find it a page-turner. :-/
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... this a couple of years ago and found it boring. Watched it last...
Tried to watch this a couple of years ago and found it boring. Watched it last month and found it riveting. Good acting, historical accurate and good action scenes.
Published 23 days ago by Ron Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
This book was similar to Band of Brothers, but I was hoping for a book similar to Citizen Soldiers.
Published 1 month ago by Sidney
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Pacific". Watch the Miniseries, read the book, and rewatch the...
Excellent book, but I can't give more than four stars to anyone who violates the first rule of the writers craft. You always capitalize Marine. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Papa SMURPH 62
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very entertaining. Factual.
Published 1 month ago by Arnold G Hooper
1.0 out of 5 stars The Pacific is incredibly tedious reading, in spite of the fact that...
This book is the most poorly written history of WWII that I have ever had the misfortune to read. I'm not going to go into an account of the book's facts, as it was undoubtedly... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Keegan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
live it
Published 1 month ago by Neil L. Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pacific what more can be said.
I enjoyed the book. It was a very good read.
Published 2 months ago by Charles M. Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars It was OK.
It was OK. But, this is one of those rare instances where I enjoyed the movie much more than the book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Accutron
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugh does a great job with such a massive partof the World War ...
Hugh Ambrose is the son of Steve Ambrose. I have ALL of Mr. Steve Ambrose's books.
Hugh does a great job with such a massive partof the World War in the Pacific
Published 2 months ago by Joseph V. Metchson
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read for those new to the subject matter or ...
An excellent read for those new to the subject matter or for readers who have an in depth knowledge of the Pacific War
Published 2 months ago by Adam Zaret
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Hugh Ambrose is a noted historian and was a consultant on the documentary Price for Peace, for which Steven Spielberg and Stephen Ambrose were the Executive Producers. He was a consultant to his father on his books, and is also serving as a historical consultant on HBO®'s The Pacific miniseries. Ambrose is also the former vice president of the national World War II Museum and has led battlefield tours through Europe and along the Pacific Rim.


Topic From this Discussion
Is this book OK for an advanced 12 year old?
I'm about 75% of the way through the book and have been sorely disaapointed; I wish I had read reviews before purchasing. There has been minimal bad language and very few, if any, sexual references. I would be more concerned with letting him read such a dry account. I suspect from reading... Read More
Jun 15, 2010 by Kerry B. |  See all 5 posts
Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for Similar Items by Category