Synopses & Reviews
In the campaign against Japan in the Pacific during the Second World War, the armed forces of the United States, Australia, andand#160;the Australian colonies of Papua and New Guinea made use of indigenous peoples in new capacities. The United States had long used American Indians as soldiers and scouts in frontier conflicts and in wars with other nations. With the advent of the Navajo Code Talkers in the Pacific theater, Native servicemen were now being employed for contributions that were unique to their Native cultures. In contrast, Australia, Papua, and New Guinea had long attempted to keep indigenous peoples out of the armed forces altogether. With the threat of Japanese invasion, however, they began to bring indigenous peoples into the military as guerilla patrollers, coastwatchers, and regular soldiers.
Defending Whose Country? is a comparative study of the military participation of Papua New Guineans, Yolngu, and Navajos in the Pacific theater. In examining the decisions of state and military leaders to bring indigenous peoples into military service, as well as the decisions of indigenous individuals to serve in the armed forces, Noah Riseman reconsiders the impact of the largely forgotten contributions of indigenous soldiers in the Second World War.
North County Times
“Eric Hammel has written nearly 40 narrative and pictorial histories of World War II. In his most recent book, "Islands of Hell: The U.S. Marines in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945," he presents a masterful and extensively researched pictorial history of the final year of the Pacific island-hopping campaign…Hammel's research is deep, and his knowledge of the war is vast. He provides insights and context that make the book much more than a collection of photos, enhancing the reader's immersive experience…
“Hammel has created in Islands of Hell a beautiful, high-quality coffee-table book, well-suited for the historian, the novice and the warrior. During the battle for Iwo Jima, Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz remarked of the American forces that "uncommon valor was a common virtue." The author allows each reader a glimpse into the valor and virtues of the Greatest Generation.”
*** 1/2 (out of four)
"A worthy contribution to comparative military history."and#8212;Alison R. Bernstein, Journal of American History
andquot;Defending Whose Country? is a welcome contribution to the existing body of literature and posits some interest questions in this understudied area of military history.andquot;andquot;andmdash;Alexios Alecou, Army History
By the summer of 1944 the tide had turned in the Pacific War against the Japanese. The war was not nearly over, however, and the U.S. Marines had their heaviest combat in front of them. Here for the first time is a detailed photographic history for the Fighting Leathernecks' fierce combat for the Marianas, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Illustrated with hundreds of never-before-published photographs and supplemented with full-color maps, Islands of Hell is a historical and visual treat.
About the Author
Eric Hammel is a critically acclaimed military historian and author of more than thirty combat and pictorial histories, including the extremely popular Iwo Jima: Portrait of a Battle (Zenith Press 2006). He lives in Northern California.