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Wake Island Paperback – 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Major Books; Rev. and enl. ed edition (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890412081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890412084
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,802,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It was a learning eperience for us both.
Joshua S. Sparrow
The late Brigadier General James P.S. Devereux commanded the motley detachment of defenders at Wake Island.
Chris
He adds great details and in sight left out of the other books I've.
Jeffrey A. Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chris on February 16, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The late Brigadier General James P.S. Devereux commanded the motley detachment of defenders at Wake Island. Virtually cut off from the rest of the world, with just twelve Wildcat fighters serving as all-purpose aircraft and a small number of old heavy guns, the marines held off repeated Japanese landing attempts for an astounding 14 days, until they were eventually overwhelmed and forced to surrender. Despite the seeming defeat, the marines inflicted obscenely huge losses on the invading Japanese forces with disproportionately tiny casualties to themselves. Even the Japanese were genuinely surprised when they eventually discovered the puny forces which had thrown so much at them. The incredible casualty figures (5,700+ Japanese as opposed to 96 Americans) speak for themselves.
Devereux, then Major, writes simply and clearly without mentioning any events beyond his knowledge at the time. His straightforward and detailed account cites practically all notable instances of individual combat, giving readers an exciting ground-zero experience. The epic defense of Wake Island is replete with miracles, small and large, as the marines hold on day after day producing victory after victory despite insurmountable odds, eventually forcing the exasperated Japanese to divert two aircraft carriers to assist in the invasion. The final defeat is borne with equal courage and honour as the men are shipped away to separate prison camps in occupied China. The POW odyssey is detailed in the final chapters.
Before the war, it was not known if the "well-fed, lazy Americans" could resist the Japanese juggernaut. After Wake Island, no one would ever doubt the spirit and heroism of the Marine Corps or the courage of Americans.
This is one of the more enjoyable personal accounts to come out of World War 2. You can't go wrong with this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Grant Waara VINE VOICE on July 27, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brigadier General James Devereux's "Story of Wake Island," is based on his own recollection and the few records available at the time. It's less than 200 pages and is the ideal book for the beginner who wants to learn about the struggle for the tiny atoll. Devereux never pretends to speak for anybody but himself, so we see the Wake Island fight unfold in his eyes and at his command post. Still, the author pays heady tribute to the other Marines with whom he served and he illustrates his account with many amusing sidebar stories. For readers who are politically and culturally sensitive, be warned: Devereux uses the epithets "Japs" and "Jap," countless times. However, considering his ordeal in Japanese prison camps, his feelings are well understood. Still, this is a fast read and the General tells his story with simplicity and clarity. Definitely worth looking for if you care to read a good introductory yet concise account of the Battle of Wake Island.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gregory R. Cunningham on November 20, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
According to Major James Devereux himself 'The Story of Wake Island' was never meant to be a historical accurate account, but more of a "romance novel". It is true most of the book is his own perspective, but he grabs all of the headlines for himself and incorrectly takes credit for events that should have been credited to his own men (movement of the 5-inch guns was the idea of the Battery L commander). He trys to blame the island Commander, Winfield Scott Cunningham, for the surrender when it was Devereux who himself said he could not hold out much longer and pressed for a quick decision. Devereux gave his commander only second hand details on the battle front without sending out patrols to get accurate details. With the dreaded outlook presented, no relief force in sight, over a thousand civilians to think about, and few defenders against the large invasion force, Cunningham's only choice's were surrender or die. Devereux said he was shocked about the decision to surrender, but I believe he was happy that the Navy Commander made the tough, right decision.
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