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Under a Blood Red Sun: The Remarkable Story of PT Boats in the Philippines and the Rescue of General MacArthur Hardcover – October 31, 2016
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"... author, John J. Domagalski, should be thanked for bringing the brave men and their tough little boats back into the limelight. The heroics of the PT boat men won Lieutenant Bulkeley the Congressional Medal of Honor, among other medals, and he was touted in the U.S. early in the war as one of our first heroes. He went on to have a long career after the war and was retired as a Vice Admiral." (Wargamers Needful Things)
"Under a Blood Red Sun balances scholarly research with accessible storytelling to preserve and illuminate the story of Lieutenant Bulkeley and his men, enriched with maps, appendices, notes, a bibliography, and an index. Highly recommended, especially for public and college library military history collections." (Midwest Book Review)
“…provides much food for thought given the current geopolitical situation in the South China Sea…An excellent book published very presciently.” (Work Boat World)
About the Author
John J. Domagalski is the author of 'Into the Dark Water: The Story of Three Officers and PT-109.' Domagalski's fascination with history began at a young age by building model ships and reading books about World War II. This interest eventually grew into research and writing.
Top customer reviews
So in one respect, this book was satisfying, because it fills in a lot of information that was unavailable at the time White's book was written. It includes the background of squadron commander John Bulkley, plenty of detail on the design and building of the first PT boats, more about the other officers in the squadron besides the four who were interviewed for THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, and fuller descriptions of the actual combat activities of MTB-3 (with the evacuation of MacArthur dealt with most thoroughly).
The downside is, the book took me quite a while to get through because of the way it was written. The style is choppy, occasionally producing some very awkward sentences in efforts to dramatize incidents that would be quite gripping enough if stated plainly. The timeline is also somewhat disconcerting, as it switches back and forth between different groups of characters in alternating paragraphs and chapters (an issue I've run into frequently in recently-published nonfiction). There is a lot of material on the general situation in the Philippines during the Japanese invasion, perhaps more than needed—while it's helpful to have some context for what was going on at the time of the PT boats' exploits, there does seem to be much that's not entirely necessary or relevant, with whole chapters spent on the decisions of generals, and away from the main characters of the narrative.
So if you're interested in learning more about Bulkley and his squadron, you'll very likely want to read this as a companion to the original THEY WERE EXPENDABLE; though in a literary sense I think a better job could have been done with it.