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Given Up for Dead: America's Heroic Stand at Wake Island Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 2008
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Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Within hours of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese strike at Wake Island. Thinly defended by a few companies of Marines and a very small Marine Air Squadron VMF-211, Wake Island was in the process of being fortified. Beside the small military detachment, there was large numbers of civilian construction crews on the Island that were sent to Wake to build various bunkers, hospitals, and barracks. PanAm also has a facility on Wake to service it's clippers that stop periodically on there way to the orient and back again. It is this small population of Americans that must face the Japanese assault that has not met defeat yet.
Bill Sloan is a master storyteller. In Given Up for Dead he tells the story in a way that will stir your admiration for the defenders, both military and civilian. He uses standard sources but also mixes in information from the few survivors that are still alive. Primary sources, especially eye witness accounts, form the backbone of this book.
Ultimately the American Marines are forced to surrender, but not until they give the Japanese a preview of what's in store for them in the subsequent months. It was the Marines at Wake Island that stopped the Japanese for the first time. It was also the Marines of Wake Island that sank the first Japanese naval vessel of WWII.
This is a pivotal book both in the history of the Marine Corps and the history of WWII. If you're a history buff then you'll want this book on your own bookshelf.
Wake Island was meant to be an advance base against possible Japanese aggression in the Pacific, but the attack on Pearl Harbor left the small Wake Island garrison isolated behind enemy lines. The island, a way station for Pan American's fleet of Pacific clippers, had a minimal number of defenders, a small squadron of aircraft, and not much else. The supply line back to Hawaii was cut; there could be no hope of food, fresh water, ammunition or reinforcements until the Navy, battered by the surprise attack, could put together a relief squadron out of spare parts.
No sooner had word of the attack on Pearl Harbor spread across the three islands at Wake than the Japanese struck, first with bombers and then with a naval task force bent on an amphibious assault of the island. The brave defenders managed to beat back the Japanese ships with the few remaining airplanes on the island and some well-timed artillery strikes, but a second wave of the Emperor's soldiers was on its way, racing against a rescue fleet dispatched from Hawaii.
To tell more about the valiant defense of Wake Island here in this review would spoil things, which I am constitutionally opposed to doing. Besides, there's no need to do that here.Read more ›
Wake island is a sleepy little atoll out in the middle of the Pacific, but it is strategically located. It was originally supposed to be built up during the 1930s, but lack of funding hampered this, until the coming of Pan Am, who wished to use it as a base for transoceanic travel. The island is mostly coral, scrub and trees, and is pretty desolate. For these men, however, it would become a crucible, and it would also gain the American military its first victory over the Japanese, though it was short-lived. The final defeat is shown to be completely unnecessary, as only a few miscues by the commanders (both on the island itself and back in Hawaii) result in the premature ending of a battle that was actually going fairly well for the Americans.
Sloan has interviewed most of the survivors from this battle, and he references the books written by the two commanders who died in the 1980s. This gives a very vivid view of the battle, right on the ground watching as the 3-inch gun crews manage to blow up two Japanese destroyers who ventured too close to land.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great account and inspiring read. The defenders of Wake island should never be forgotten.Published 4 months ago by Patrick Moriarty
Excellent story about a long forgotten battle by a brave group of patriotic young men far from home in the earliest days of WWII.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Quite a story. And presented in a complete and balanced way, especially as regards the decision to surrender.Published 10 months ago by Howier
I'v read this book twice now and it piques my patriotism. Once I glance at the first few lines, I can't put this exciting novel back on the library shelf.Published 13 months ago by Adam Wiktorek
One of the best books I have in my collection. I learned so many things. I wish I could give it a ten star.
So many early books had it all wrong. Read more
I've read all of Bill Sloan's Pacific campaign books and I consider him one of the best authors. Very readable. Keeps your interest.Published 15 months ago by C. Moore