Reading the War in the Pacific

The reviews coming in of the new HBO mini-series, The Pacific, which starts on Sunday, are strong. In expectation of increased reader interest on the subject, Osprey is reissuing its 2005 publication, The Pacific War: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima, edited by Daniel Marston, in a handsome paperback edition (left).  

Osprey is also offering War in the Pacific (right), a new slipcased assemblage of facsimile documents, maps, and memorabilia, by Richard Overy, with a foreword by the senior military advisor to the HBO series. Osprey refers to it as a coffee-table book, but it really is far more a product for hands-on learning and manipulation of removable ephemera, not likely to survive intact in library circulation, but fine in the classroom. 

Zenith Press, in the meantime, offers its own coffee-table book, Islands of Hell: The U.S. Marines in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945, by Eric Hammel. In our forthcoming military studies book review roundup in the April 1 issue of LJ, you’ll see that our reviewer Edwin Burgess admires its "marvelous" combat pictures, captions, and maps. While he’s less enthusiastic about the text, he notes the book’s value for its images and its homage to the brave men who fought in the Pacific Theater.    

This month, Newmarket Press has reissued A Glorious Way To Die: The Kamikaze Mission of the Battleship Yamato, by Russell Spurr, about that ship’s final, suicidal mission in the 1945 Pacific. Reviewing the book upon its initial publication in 1981, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "If you wish to experience just how well the written word can outstrip television or the movies, try a chapter of Russell Spurr’s pulse-racing prose…."  Can it outstrip the combined forces of HBO, DreamWorks, Spielberg and Hanks?  We’ll see!

Margaret Heilbrun About Margaret Heilbrun

Margaret Heilbrun is a former Senior Editor, Library Journal Book Review.