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The Toughest Fighting in the World: The Australian and American Campaign for New Guinea in World War II Paperback – September 30, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

GEORGE H. JOHNSTON (1912–1970) was a distinguished Australian war correspondent and author of a number of books, including My Brother Jack and Clean Straw for Nothing, both winners of Australia’s Miles Franklin Award. He was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 1969.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing; 1 edition (September 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594161518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594161513
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alexei K. Helmbock on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book consists of a week-in-week-out diary of journalist covering the campaign from New Guinea itself. As such, it makes a fun, fascinating read, but like most on-the-scene journalists, many of the immediate reports and facts turn out to be less-than-accurate upon later review. Read this book to get an idea of what being there with the Aussies was like. Don't read this book to get the facts of the campaign.
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My son once asked me "how come all we see from the Pacific war is Marines and Navy and nothing about what Grandpa and the rest of the US Army corp of Engineers were doing in New Guinea? I replied "because the reporters didn't dare go there."

This book is by one reporter who did, and was originally written in almost real-time.

I recommend it.
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My dad fought in the Pacific so I am interested in reading about the war in that theatre. This book is well written and gives one insight into the everyday happenings during the toughest fighting to happen in recent history. This does not tell much about our American boys but it is a good read and a good view from one of our best allies - the Australians.
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George Johnson was an Australian journalist who covered the early WW2 campaigns in Papua, New Guinea. His "you are there" narrative is engaging and paced well. This work includes numerous anecdotes and soldier euphemisms that adds both life and humanity to the struggle he observed. Johnson also devoted print to to often-forgotten air war over New Guinea that preceded McArthur's landing of the American 32nd Division on the island. The later portion of the U.S.-Australian effort to defeat the Japsnese on New Guinea is sparsely handled, and persons interested in the nuts and bolts of the 1942-3 campaign will have to look elsewhere. However, I strongly recommend this book for the particulars of the early portion of the campaign, particularly from the Australian perspective.
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A well-written history of the allied struggle to defeat the Japanese in New Guinea during World War 2. The book is interesting in that it covers the war from the perspectives of both the Americans and the Australians. Although allies these two armies were very different in outlook, training and attitude. The Australians lacked the firepower and equipment that the Americans had, but their troops had done the hard yards in the jungles and were evolving into the world's best light infantry forces. The Americans had little time for the Australians and resisted taking command orders from them. The tensions between the senior US and Australian commanders back in Australia did not help things. Yet the New Guinea fighting was an environment where the tough survived and the weak died. Troops on all sides spent as much time fighting the unforgiving terrain as they did the enemy. Worth a read even if you already have a good knowledge of the war.
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The author wrote this contemporaneously with this campaign, because he was there for almost all of it as a war correspondent. The reader gets to go back in time and read what people were reading about the war in New Guinea in 1942 and 1943. The author writes moving passages about the bravery of the Australian and U.S. soldiers as they endured incredible hardships and brutal conditions. While the Japanese did suffer overwhelming losses compared to the Allies, I wonder if the enemy body counts were inflated to raise morale.

NOTE - there are several passages where the Japanese race is portrayed as less than human in graphic and unapologetic terms. While typical of the times, these passages are likely to jar the modern reader.
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This a classic account of the struggle to stop the Japanese advance toward Australia in 1942 through New Guinea. This is not a history per se, but a series of "episodes" in chronological order telling of the desperate fighting to stop the Japanese and then push them back and away from Australia. The author is a Aussie reporter posted to this battlefield. He tells the stories of Aussies and Americans fighting the elements of New Guinea, which are worse than the enemy, the Japanese. For example: a 6ft plus Yank is surprised by a "little" Jap in the jungle and is almost killed in a wrestling match but prevails by strangling the Jap. This is the combat of New Guinea, up close and personal, where you are lucky to see your enemy 10 feet away in daylight. Very Good and Recommended.
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Hard to put down.Enjoyable to read.I learned a lot about this often overlooked battle front in the South Pacific.The author's style of writing puts you on the scene in the hot,stinking,miserable conditions of New Guinea.I could almost feel the fear and paranoia of the Australian people who knew that the ferocious Japanese war machine was coming their way and the front was just a few hundred miles from their doorstep,and the desperation of the Australian troops and airmen that fought hard to keep Port Moresby and Milne Bay in Allied hands.I almost hated to finish this book having enjoyed my ringside seat safely along the sidelines of this bitterly fought theatre.
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