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Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians (Classic Reprint Series) Paperback – February 1, 1995
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Students of World War II history will delight to find an exclusive focus on how the battles were fought in Alaska and the Aleutians: something commonly overlooked in favor of the more graphic and active European and Pacific arenas. This first appeared in 1969: it remains one of the best accounts of the war, reading like fiction and including fine documentary records in this reprint. -- Midwest Book Review
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this book is fascinating and reads like any suspense novel, except that it's all true. i found this book years ago and only picked it up because my dad spent the war in the aleutians, and i wanted to know more about what happened there. much later i learned my dad had received the bronze star. i'm reading the book again...not only because of my family history...but because it is an important book that is beautifully written. it's a classic.
Brian Garfield relates the tale of how the Americans fought back and re-won the Aleutians. It is a tale of cold weather, fog, logistical excellence, naval battles, and air raids with obsolete or second hand aircraft. The scope of the campaign involves thousands of troops and a thousand miles of front over barren wilderness.
This is the definitive work on the Aleutians Campaign and a must read for anyone interested in the Pacific War.
The more you know about flying, the scarier the missions they flew are. They had no radar, no GPS, and flew just above the wavetops with little or no visibility horizontally. I'm just a private pilot who also has navigated Southeast Alaska on a fishing boat, and I can't believe these aircrews did what they did. I handed the book to my father, a World War II bomber navigator in the Pacific Theater, and he was even more aghast. "I'm sure glad we weren't there" was his main feeling after reading the book.
Dead reckoning is a technically accurate description of the navigation method used to fly these missions. Flying low enough that they could see the ocean below, they read the wavetops, in ferocity and direction, to judge the wind's effect on their course. Pilots in planes following a lead aircraft would also read the propwash on the waves from the plane in front of them, because they could not see the other bomber through the fog. They didn't want to fly into his tail, but neither did they want to lose track of the leader. Either action could be fatal. Many of these aircrews never returned to their base.
This is a hard book to put down.
1960's. When I was there, it was only about 20 years removed from the actual war. With the aid of a Honda 90 bike, my wife a I spent many hours exploring the remaining buildings. Many of the barracks still had girls pictures on the walls. We found what was evidently an under ground hospital. We now live in King Cove, near Cold Bay, that was only mentioned once. I read with keen interest the battle of Attu. A Private Frank Barnett was the only foot soldier mentioned. You should read this book to find out why. I am sure he was no relation to me. Army records show he was from Iowa and Chinese descend.
This book was both interesting and heartfelt in its content - it provided a window into the prevailing posture of wartime politics and non-disclosure that was the order of the day back then (and today it seems!) regarding the Aleutian campaign of WWII.
First class in many respects.
One thing kept coming up throughout the book though...
There is a glaring typo on the spelling of General Simon Buckner...or, Beukner as it appeared as published on the Kindle version quite a number of times.
Is there a spell-checker anywhere in the house?
This aside, I really enjoyed learning about this great piece of our heritage from this book!
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