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The Color of War: How One Battle Broke Japan and Another Changed America
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The Color of War: How One Battle Broke Japan and Another Changed America

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  42 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
From the acclaimed World War II writer and author of The Ghost Mountain Boys, an incisive retelling of the key month, July 1944, that won the war in the pacific and ignited a whole new struggle on the home front.

In the pantheon of great World War II conflicts, the battle for Saipan is often forgotten. Yet historian Donald Miller calls it "as important to victory over Japan
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Crown (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jun 21, 2012 itpdx rated it liked it
This book is written the way I like history to be written—while giving the overall picture, it gives us the stories of the regular people who lived the history. I very much like to know what it was like to be there (without being shot at, blown up, or being hungry and dehydrated myself). James Campbell does an excellent job of this. But I am still unconvinced that these two incidents belong together. The book centers on the invasion of Saipan and the explosion at Port Chicago, California during ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Elgin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military
One of the best WWII books I have read in years...two fascinating and surprisingly related stories recounted in a masterful way. This book tells the story of the invasion of Saipan, one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific, and the story of the black Navy sailors that worked as longshoremen loading the ammunition and bombs for the Pacific battles. The Saipan story followed a few young (17-19 yrs old) white men from the time of their induction in the Marines through the end of the battle and ...more
Jock Mcclees
Jul 21, 2016 Jock Mcclees rated it it was amazing
This book talks about the battle of Saipan and also the ammunition loading facility at Port Chicago on San Francisco Bay. It is kind of 2 books in one. It is the story of white soldiers fighting on the Pacific islands starting with the Marshall Islands and then primarily focusing on the invasion of Saipan.

I have read some war stories but this one is one of the most graphic in terms of the hell that they experienced, not just during the shooting but in the living conditions or lack of them. Why w
Meg - A Bookish Affair
This book is really made up of two stories. The first story is that of the Battle of Saipan, a very decisive battle in the Pacific theater during World War II. It was a hard fought battle that really turned around how the Americans were doing in the war against Japan. The second story is that of the Port Chicago explosion, a much lesser known event that happened during World War II that happened at a Naval munition shipping port of sorts. I actually had never heard of this event (at least that I ...more
Murdo Morrison
Jun 20, 2012 Murdo Morrison rated it it was amazing
This review is for an Advance/Proof copy of the book.

The Color of War: How One Battle Broke Japan and Another Changed America juxtaposes an account of the invasion of Saipan by American forces with that of a devastating explosion at Port Chicago, a munitions transfer depot in the Bay Area of California. The central theme of the book is an examination of the effects of segregation in the American armed forces during World War 2. The author weaves a compelling story, using the personal stories of
Aug 29, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
I received this book as a giveaway and am required by law to include that information in this review.

Now, with that out of the way, a review. I don't do a lot of pleasure reading, or at least, not as much as I would like as my job requires a lot of detailed reading. My interest in this book was to see if it was something my husband would like to read. He is very interested in historical World War II accounts.

For the first 32 pages I didn't see a connection to World War II and race although I had
Jun 24, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
The Battle of Saipan is considered by those who are knowledgeable to be as important to the ultimate Allied victory over Japan as Normandy was in the ultimate victory over Germany. This book explores the Battle and a little known tragedy in an ammo loading facility in Port Chicago in California. At the facility, in early 1944, under the extreme pressure to get ammo to the Pacific, mistakes were made (or, maybe, an early version of a small atomic bomb was detonated to gauge the damage) and a huge ...more
Sep 17, 2014 Barry rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, history
This book provides an interesting glimpse into life for black Americans serving in the military during World War II. Not only does it peel the cover off the military, it also provides a good look at attitudes and the treatment of black civilians in America. Though the book appears to focus on incidents relating to a large ordnance explosion on the coast of California, it ends up encompassing far more of the Pacific theater during the war. While highly interesting, after a while I started ...more
Dec 31, 2015 George rated it liked it
This is really two independent books that come together only on July 17, 1944. On that date, Port Chicago Naval magazine exploded and the Japanese surrendered on Saipan while its leadership faced up to the idea that the war was lost. I pretty much ignored the Saipan story as it discussed the tactics of capturing the island, palm tree by palm tree--not my kind of story. Port Chicago's story is a step on the US' road to racial equality. It was an excellent telling of that story. That story is the ...more
Sep 16, 2013 Olivia rated it liked it
I won this book in a good reads giveaway.

It took me a while to get into this book which may in part be due to the fact that history books aren't usually what I read. However, I thought the description of the explosion at Port Chicago and the trial afterwards were really interesting. I found myself getting frustrated with the obvious racial relations and segregation that was occurring during WWII. While I did have a harder time getting interested in the war component of the battle of Saigon, it
Sep 17, 2012 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, history
A free copy of this book was received from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I enjoy reading about history, especially military history. This book provided an interesting glimpse into a part of WWII which I hadn't seen before. I was drawn into the book by the general topic and then my attention was grabbed by the individual stories which the author recounted. The Battle was a very important event and the book shows it in the proper perspective. It also provides good information on what it was lik
Oct 04, 2012 Doug rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2012 Vince rated it really liked it
Well written and well documented look into both the Battle for Saipan and the explosions that rocked Port Chicago leading to the death of many ammunition loaders of African descent. Both battles were important, one was a needed step towards victory over Japan and the other was a needed step towards full equality in the armed services. Worth reading especially if you like a lateral view of history and like to appreciate the interconnectedness of events.
I received this book for free as a review co
Oct 18, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it
A part of history that I never knew...heartbreaking, tragic, and hard to understand based on today's world. A must read for history students. Campbell spells out the story and the reader feels like there were there with the soldiers seeing what they are seeing, feeling what they are feeling. Thanks to Goodreads for providing my copy.
Mar 06, 2013 Jack rated it really liked it
Very insightful. A look at WWII history from a different perspective -- men who WANTED to fight for their freedom, but the culture would not let them. Pres. Truman would change that just a few years later.
Feb 15, 2013 Felicia rated it really liked it
I won this book from Goodreads first reads. I put this book to read since me and my son had been talking about WWII. I thought this book took you into the heart of the people at the time. I thought it was great.
Matthew Thompson
Jul 17, 2015 Matthew Thompson rated it it was amazing
they better be teaching this in US history classes now, i can't believe i grew up in the east bay and never heard of port chicago until reading this book.
Jul 15, 2012 Hildegart rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
First-reads book. This was a really good book and I liked how it looked at the experiences of African-American troops in WWII. Definitely a book that should be read if you enjoy WWII history.
Aug 03, 2012 Carl added it
Shelves: history
Good look at the racial issues that came up in WWII. I was impressed to see the adversity minorities overcame.
David rated it liked it
Nov 23, 2013
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Aug 27, 2012
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Nov 18, 2012
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Author, adventurer and producer James Campbell is a native of Wisconsin, where he lives with his wife and three daughters. He has written stories for Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Military History, Backpacker, Audubon, Field and Stream, and many other magazines and newspapers. His first book, The Final Frontiersman was chosen by Amazon in 2004 as the #1 Outdoor title of the Year and one ...more
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