Synopses & Reviews
A comprehensive account of the amphibious seizure of Tarawa by the Central Pacific Force in November 1943.
The Bloody Conquest of Tarawa in November 1943 by the newly created Central Pacific Force was the first trial-by-fire of America's fledgling amphibious assault doctrine against a heavily fortified objective. Described by one of the survivors as "a time of utmost savagery", the incredibly violent battle lasted for three days and left 6,000 men dead in an area no bigger than the ground occupied by the Pentagon and its parking lots. This fresh account of the harrowing clash by Col. Joseph Alexander reflects years of research into primary sources, new translations of Japanese documents, and interviews with survivors. A Marine combat veteran himself, Colonel Alexander presents a masterful overview of the brutal engagement and clarifies its significance. The book portrays the battle's full flavor: the decisions, miscalculations, extreme risks, lost opportunities, breakthroughs, and breakdowns. As the battle rages, much of the narrative comes from the troops themselves - Japanese and American - often fighting for the same miserable knob of sand and coral. The Battle of Tarawa was war at its worst and best, and Colonel Alexander's honest presentation of the events assures a balanced and complete understanding of this turning point in the Pacific campaign.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -292) and index.