Patrick K. O'Donnell has made a career of uncovering the hidden history of World War II by tracking down and interviewing its most elite troops: the Rangers, Airborne, Marines, and First Special Service Force, forerunners to Americas's Special Forces.
These veterans were often the first in and the last out of every conflict, from Guadalcanal and Burma to the Philippines and the black sands of Iwo Jima. They faced a cruel enemy willing to try anything, including kamikaze flights and human-guided torpedoes. As O'Donnell explains in the introduction, most of the men in this book were at first reticent to talk. Over the course of the war, they had spearheaded D-Day-sized beach assaults, encountered cannibalism, suffered friendly-fire incidents, and endured torture as prisoners of war. Heroes among heroes, they include many recipients of the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and other medals of battlefield valor, but none bragged about it. As one soldier put it, "When somebody gets decorated, it's because a lot of other men died."
By telling their stories, these men present an unvarnished look at the war on the ground, a final gift from aging warriors who have already given so much. Only with such accounts can the true horror of the war in the Pacific be fully known.
"Those seeking the uncensored truth and a dose of military history will not be disappointed." (
"A superior addition to World War II oral archives." ( Booklist)
"Succinct historical narratives help set the stage for these eyewitness accounts....This important work preserves these veterans' shocking and moving stories for generations to come." ( Library Journal)
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