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1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls Paperback – Bargain Price, April 3, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In 1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls, Groom combines a historian's careful attention to substance with the novelist's flair for style to produce an impressive account of the first year of World War II.
While Groom includes the requisite facts and figures of a historical chronicle, his forte is storytelling. Avoiding the boring presentations of many academic textbooks, he presents a vivid and suspenseful narrative filled with graphic descriptions of horrendous events.
In every sense of the word, 1942 is a page-turner.
In the first months of 1942, the outlook for the Allies was grim. The Japanese had captured Wake, Guam, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, Manila, and Thailand. Following the fall of the Philippines, Japanese atrocities increased in intensity during the infamous 65-mile Bataan Death March.
"The Japanese octopus continued to crawl all over the Pacific," writes Groom. There seemed to be nothing to stop its tentacles from reaching out in every direction.
"Following the Pearl Harbor disaster [Dec. 7, 1941]," Groom continues, "America was in grave military danger. Most of our Pacific fleet and air force no longer existed and the Japanese were running amok all over that ocean and in the Far East, banging at the very gates of Australia and India and even invading U.S. territory in Alaska.
"America was almost totally unprepared for war and would not be fully equipped for another year.Read more ›
Groom delves into the popular details, along with the "nooks and crannies" of the war. He does not present the facts in dry detail as some historians do, but makes history come alive with human details.
As to the remarks of a previous reviewer regarding the fact that Groom presents no new facts, perhaps he should have read the introduction where the author tells his readers that this book is not for the WWII buff who knows everything, but for the common person who desires a better understanding regarding the events that made this war the defining event of the 20th century.
1942 is different from the other two books in one very large sense: the other two books attempted to illuminate for Americans two campaigns that (to Americans anyway) are obscure. Groom openly was trying to change that with those first two books. This current book isn't about an obscure campaign: it's instead a retelling of America's role in World War II during 1942, our first full year of participation.
Groom doesn't attempt any ground-breaking research, here. The bibliography mentions only secondary sources and autobiographies of participants. If he consulted any archives or documentary sources he doesn't mention it. Instead, he's distilled what must be a couple of hundred books into 400 pages of entertaining prose, covering American participation in the war over the course of a year.
Since the year he chose to cover is 1942, the book mostly deals with battles in the Pacific against the Japanese. Pearl Harbor, the Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal are the heart of the book's narrative, and in these he largely succeeds in doing what he's trying to do: explain what American participation in the war meant, and how it was fought. He also includes a considerable number of anecdotes and personal accounts of various stages of the war, from American females spies to the guy who escaped from a POW camp in China and walked 700 miles to freedom.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting read. Provided a perspective of WWll and the lead up that I was unaware of. Well written.Published 28 days ago by Rick
I'm a fairly avid history reader and have read most of the great authors (Norman Davies, Anthony Beevor, Stephen Ambrose). Winston Groom is their equal. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stephen F. Clark
I share readers' views that give this book high marks.
I must be among the last of my generation who still remembers WWII, being born in early 1937. Read more
Wow what a great read!!! The details were fascinating. His writing style impressive. I learned some new facts. Highly recommend this readPublished 2 months ago by Bama Belle
This will give you a ton of info on WWII. Well researched and well written. It'll cost you. You will end up buying all of W. Grooms books so be warned!Published 3 months ago by Tubulchain
Well written and documented tale of our country's unprepared state. That we payed for this with the blood of young men still resonates. Have we learned from history? Read morePublished 4 months ago by Christine Mustapich