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[NF] Given Up for Dead by Bill Sloan

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David Ross Erickson
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Joined: March 2011
Location: Midwest, USA

[NF] Given Up for Dead by Bill Sloan

Post by David Ross Erickson » Thu April 21st, 2011, 4:19 pm

I decided to read this book for the simple fact that I didn't know much of anything at all about Wake Island, even though I'm something of a WWII buff. What I was surprised to learn was that between Pearl Harbor (Dec 41) and the Battle of Midway (June 42), the Siege of Wake Island was widely viewed by Americans as an "event of immense historical import." It was the "Alamo of the Pacific," due to the heroic, but ultimately doomed, stand by a small group of American marines and civilians against the early-war Japanese onslaught.

The battle was soon to be overshadowed by Midway and Guadalcanal -- and virtually everything else that happened during the course of the Pacific war. It's a mere footnote now.

The first two-thirds of the book is a riveting play-by-play account of the lead-up to the battle and the fighting itself. The writing is crisp, at times inspired. Anyone who has read this type of historical battle book before will not be disappointed, and will in fact find it a cut above most.

The final third of the book, however, which deals with the battle's aftermath, in particular the incarceration of the island's defenders, is a cut below the norm. It is almost enough to ruin the whole.

The author's strategic analysis is lacking, in my opinion, and he comes off as a little dismissive of the ill-treatment suffered by POWs at the hands of the Japanese. This left a bad taste in this reader's mouth that unfortunately mitigates the value of the book as a whole.

On the other hand, I bought it on Amazon for my Kindle at a bargain price of $6.99. So it's hard to complain about it on that count.

Overall, I would rate it a worthwhile addition to your WWII library, if only to fill in a blank in your overall knowledge.

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Post by fljustice » Fri April 22nd, 2011, 3:00 pm

Thanks for the review, David. I went through a WWII phase several years ago and don't remember much at all about Wake Island.
Faith L. Justice, Author Website

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