South Pacific Cauldron: World War II's Great Forgotten Battlegrounds (Hardback)Alan Rems (author)
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While Guadalcanal is familiar to most Americans and the Kokoda Trail is well known to Australians, the war in the South Pacific includes many now forgotten operations that deserve to be well remembered. Also, significantly, the official Australian history of World War II correctly observed that Australia's part in the Pacific war is barely mentioned in American histories. This volume finally brings the major Australian contribution to the fore, recognising too the valuable part played by New Zealand forces in the Solomons campaign.
The dramatis personae could hardly be improved upon, including brilliant and imperious General Douglas MacArthur, audacious and profane Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, and bibulous and indelicate Australian General Thomas Blamey. No less interesting are many others that will be mostly new to readers, many from the Japanese side, including indomitable generals Noboru Sasaki and Hatazo Adachi. As for the fighting men, many of their stories are captured in accounts of the actions for which they were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, Victoria Cross, and other decorations for valour.
Three chapters are of special interest. Based on the author's archival research, Chapter 10 tells through confidential correspondence the remarkable story of the death of the top Marine general in the Pacific and its cover-up sanctioned by Halsey. Chapter 23 concerns the first African-American ground troops in combat and tells how the performance of one company on Bougainville resulted in a reversal of that policy. Chapter 26 involves Blamey's questionable decision to eradicate the isolated Japanese forces, forcing his Australian militia to risk their lives knowing their sacrifices could make no difference in the outcome of the war.
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 33 mm
"Written in a narrative style accessible to readers of all backgrounds, South Pacific Cauldron is a complete history of all World War II battles and conflicts that took place in the South Pacific Cauldron region, including numerous little-known operations such as the final Australian campaign. A handful of black-and-white maps and photographs as well as notes, a bibliography, and an index round out this invaluable contribution to military and world history shelves."- The Midwest Book Review
"Rems often offers critical analysis of the decisions made by these and other officers, and readers will find particularly interesting questions he raises about the necessity of a number of operations, such as Bougainville or the continuation of major operations in the theatre after the fall of the Philippines, which he concludes were not only ill-conceived, but a waste of time, materiel, and most tragically men. South Pacific Cauldron is an important contribution to the literature of the Pacific War."--Strategy Page.com
"Seventy years after the end of World War 2, Australian policy emphasises the South Pacific's crucial role in Australia's national security. Supporting Australian policy, the ADF's forthcoming enhanced amphibious capability is intended for employment in the South Pacific and the wider region. This employment is initially focused on security, stabilisation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief tasks. South Pacific Cauldron provides members of the ADF with historical context for operations in the South Pacific, including the utility of amphibious operations."--Australian Defence Force Journal
"Readers already familiar with the war in the Pacific and newcomers alike will find this a great one-volume condensation of the South Pacific campaign. Rems explains the operations lucidly, giving clear and concise accounts of both friendly and enemy activities. His evaluations of the commanders on both sides and their principal lieutenants are frank but balanced. The controversies between allies and even between branches of service are carefully dissected and explained. This well-rounded presentation is an excellent book that no CAMP member should fail to read."- Journal of America's Military Past
"Award-winning author Alan Rems brilliantly tells of the ground, naval, and air campaigns against the Japanese during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, in the South Pacific, a region long overlooked by public interest but equally as important as the more famous battles in the Central Pacific. Rems offers both the big picture and the foxhole view of bloody warfare in the jungles and mountains.... "-- Military Officer
"Alan Rems adds breadth and context to our understanding of World War II's South Pacific campaigns in an accessible, highly readable and well-packaged book that is especially timely given the approach of the 70th anniversary of VJ (Victory over Japan) Day."--Military Review
"Rems has produced a remarkably well-written work on the hard-won victories achieved by the Allies in the South Pacific. South Pacific Cauldron is a fitting tribute to the men who fought and died in an often overlooked theater of World War II. As such, it is a welcome addition to our knowledge of World War II in the Pacific Theater." --On Point: The Journal of Army History
"For decades the history of the Guadalcanal campaign has dominated the South Pacific literature available to new generations of readers. But there was much more to the fighting in that area, as Alan Rems demonstrates in this well-researched history of a major theater of World War II. The fighting against a determined Japanese enemy was complicated by the command issues involving not only American interservice cooperation, but also those with Allies, notably Australia. Air and sea power were valuable contributors to the capture of island after island and to eventual victory."--Paul Stillwell, naval historian and author of The Golden Thirteen: Reflections of the First Black Naval Officers and Submarine Stories: Recollections from the Diesel Boats
"South Pacific Cauldron is a first-rate account of the brutal and important fighting that occurred in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea during World War II. By examining the campaign from the American, Australian, and Japanese perspectives, Alan Rems provides military history buffs with a fine starting point for the overlooked military operations in one of the world's most hostile environments."--Stephen R. Taaffe, author of Marshall and His Generals: U.S. Army Commanders in World War II and MacArthur's Jungle War: The 1944 New Guinea Campaign