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Eagle Against the Sun Hardcover – Import, 1985
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From Publishers Weekly
A historian at the Army Center for Military History, Spector concentrates on the problem of command in the Southern Pacific theaters, the rivalries between the various U.S. armed services and the problem of allocating resources. PW praised his ability to "show how even the most efficiently run campaigns unfold against a background of violent dispute." November
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"Spector has done the impossible and done it ,with dazzling brilliance. Mining a warehouse of material with absolute control, he has produced a superbly readable, insightful, gripping, unbiased one-volume history of the American-Japanese war that is at the same time a glorious celebration of the American spirit."
-- Clay Blair. front page. The Washington Post Book World
"The best one-volume history of that complex conflict... No other presents as balanced a view or provides such terse and searching analyses not only of the great battles but of half-forgotten aspects, such as the impact of blacks and female participants on the services...No future book on the Pacific war will be written without paying due tribute to Eagle Against The Sun."
-- Drew Middleton, The New York Times
"Clear, coherent, effective...this is an excellent book... likely to be for a long time to come the standard, comprehensive history of the Pacific Ocean War." -- Russell E Weighley, Temple University. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Pros: A very well done account of the Pacific Theater of World War II. Spector covers all of the major battles, operations, the important players for Japanese and Allied forces, the locations, and some other interesting nuggets such as introducing the American military build up in all branches from WWI to WWII as well as Japanese military build up.
Cons: At times the formatting is confusing. What I mean is...he talks about parts of the Pacific theater until page 300ish til 1944 or so and then jumps to the Chinese and Burma part of the war way back in 1941 and 1942, which could be confusing to casual readers. I am a history major so I handled it alright but even to me it was puzzling. Then, in the 400ish page ranges he started including random chapters on the negro, women, etc, in the war, and a chapter on what men did on leave in various locations in the war. Don't get me wrong, some of the more interesting chapters in the book, but perhaps he should have worked these into the book earlier as I was use to the various island operations and theaters of war discussed and then he goes to a chapter on leave just as the final build up is coming to end the war.
I know the cons look longer than the pros but this is definitely a 4/5 star book. The info is great, the sources are awesome. This book focus's on the operational part of the Pacific Theater, not a narrative type of the war like some historians like Stephen Ambrose, Cornelius Ryan, and Antony Beevor have done so well over the years, and I love those types of history books the best, but this is still a fairly easy read of sorts, if you can stay focused on all the dozens of names and places. There is only one map at the beginning, which some might not like, but it does a good job of showing locales of major battles but just one map...so some might want a book with more maps. Overall, I recommend this book...if you enjoy World War II history or if you are someone who enjoys history and can handle a for the most part operational view on the war, not a narrative for the most part.
As the subtitle of the books state, this is about the american war with Japan, so not a lot (but indeed some) focus on the European actors in the Pacific.On the other hand it also takes in China's role as a US ally, telling the story about the mainland war in addition to the Pacific story.
While maps are important for individual campaigns, that is not the purpose of this book. What this book does is tie together all the things going on in the different parts of the Pacific theater, such as how MacArthur and Nimitz each thought their own plan should get priority on limited shipping and supplies, just how limited those supplies were, and how Admiral King, by unexpectedly putting a division of Marines on Guadalcanal, caused the US to actually ship more troops and planes to the Pacific than to Europe at the same time that we were officially saying we had a "Europe First" policy.
Individual battles are not talked about much, but when you get done with this book you will understand how they fit together into the large picture of the entire war in the Pacific. I already knew a lot about individual battles, but now I also know why they happened and what their effect was on the war as a whole.
Spector does add a very unflattering image of Douglas MacArthur that pulls away a lot of the smoke and mirrors that surrounded him. I think alone makes the book well worth the time to spend on it.
Does give some insights into intelligence services and involvement of China in WWII which few books cover.
Also gives many footnotes.
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on this one. I know . . . I did.