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The Pacific

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,146 Ratings  ·  280 Reviews
Penguin delivers you to the front lines of The Pacific Theater with the real-life stories behind the HBO miniseries.Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war against Japan. From the debacl ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by NAL (first published December 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jon
Dec 19, 2010 Jon rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2010
I have to say that I would like Goodreads to change scoring method, because I would give this book about a 4.2 to 4.3 out of 5. It was an interesting format book. No chapters but 5 acts as it is a companion to the HBO mini-series of same namesake. Secondly, the author is the Son of the Late and famed Stephen Ambrose, one of my if not my favorite Historians. This is his first book solely written by him as he had previously contributed to his Father's research and writing before his unfortunate an ...more
Pdm
Nov 07, 2010 Pdm rated it it was ok
When is a war story not a war story? When it tells the highs and lows of a conflict or battle as lived by and seen through the eyes of those that did the fighting at the lowest levels.

This is not a 'big map and small hands' book with lots of diagrams detailing the chess moves between foes. This makes the book all the better. A slow start in my opinion morphed into an enthralling read that had me almost feeling the emotions of the those involved. That is what this book is about.

The various cent
...more
Mark
Feb 02, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, war
I think that I pretty much auto-five star most World War II-related histories. No exception here. I'm not sure why it jumped into my head to read it now, but there you go.

First thing about this book is it's kind of got a disservice done to it by trying to bill it as a companion to HBO's The Pacific. I guess the book and the miniseries are aiming to do the same thing, but as they are different mediums they can be approached in totally different ways. Where the miniseries only has time to follow L
...more
Kenny
Jun 08, 2010 Kenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
A companion piece to the HBO miniseries of the same name, one really wishes that Stephen Ambrose (Hugh's father and author of many wonderful books about WWII) had lived to oversee the writing. Hugh's prose is rather sodden and he shies away from really getting close to the characters, as I'd hoped. I have read Eugene Sledge's memoir "With the Old Breed," as well as Robert Leckie's book "Helmet for my Pillow," both source books for the miniseries and used liberally in "The Pacific," but none of t ...more
Hilmi Isa
Tidak seperti buku Band of Brothers,yang ditulis oleh mendiang bapa kepada penulis buku ini,The Pacific sebenarnya merupakan sebuah buku companion kepada siri televisyen mini drama terbitan HBO yang mempunyai tajuk yang sama. Ini bermakna,siri televisyen tersebut bukanlah diadaptasi dari buku ini seperti yang berlaku terhadap siri televisyen HBO,Band of Brothers,beberapa tahun yang lalu. Walau bagaimanapun,format antara kedua-duanya tidak jauh berbeza. Dengan mengikuti pengalaman dari kaca mata ...more
Reds_reads
Jun 25, 2011 Reds_reads rated it it was ok
Shelves: wwii, 2010
I bought this as it billed itself as the companion book to the HBO series The Pacific. This has probably coloured my reaction to the book as I do not consider it to be a companion book - the series focuses on the story of three Marines who fought in the Pacific during WWII - Basilone, Leckie and Sledge - and the book tells the story of Basilone, Sledge plus three others, but no Leckie. The additional three stories are welcome as they provide much additional information. The omission of Leckie an ...more
Brian
Apr 10, 2010 Brian rated it liked it
The mistake with this book--which had some very vivid and harrowing accounts of of the Pacific War--was that it was written to be a "companion" to a tv mini-series. Not sure if it was the authors intention or the editor thought it would be a great idea to jump from "character to character" in such a willy-nilly fashion, but I found that reading it that way slowed me down. There were really only 5 chapters in this massive tome--each chapter devoted to roughly one year of the war, give or take. Ot ...more
Lawyer
On the cover of "The Pacific" the following appears beneath the title,"Hell Was an Ocean Away." Hell isn't an ocean away when you're reading this book, you're holding it in the palms of your hand. Hugh Ambrose's writing is tortuous, tedious, and disjointed. The book's cover warns the reader that this is a companion to the Spielberg/Hanks television series. The scope of war in the Pacific is too broad a canvas for Ambrose's brush. What may play well on the screen does not work on the page. If you ...more
Josh
Mar 20, 2010 Josh rated it it was amazing
So far this book is amazing. The pace is good. Ambrose sticks with the narrative. He does not spend page after page talking about the various parts of a tank. He also writes with a good voice; good storyteller. Really really really really good book.
Burt
Aug 24, 2015 Burt rated it it was amazing
In my humble opinion, this book is a "must read" for every American, especially since the last of "The Greatest Generation" will soon be completely gone from our midst. It should definitely be required reading and absolutely mandatory in order to graduate from high school. It clearly documents the price paid by our fathers and grandfathers and now, great grandfathers, in the 2nd World War - a price that must never be forgotten. Judging by the number of ratings this book has had, I sense that no ...more
Paul
Sep 19, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
Companion to the HBO miniseries, this is a pretty decent volume, although there aren’t any new insights, because it’s a confluence of other primary sources, but the stories are distilled for the convenience of the casual historian. I listened to this book on CD while driving, and it did a good job of holding my attention, even with stories with which I was very familiar as an historian.
I do have some problems with factual errors, however. For instance, during the description of the Battle of Mid
...more
Andrew
As Hugh Ambrose is the son of the celebrated writer and historian Stephen Ambrose, comparisons between the two are hard to avoid. Hugh has made a good fist of trying to capture the experiences of five individuals who fought in the Pacific Theatre. He has not done a good job. The book does suffer alot less (if at all) from the pro-American/anti-British tosh which his father used to espouse and which let him down as a historian, as well as marring my enjoyment of his work. What let's Ol Hughie dow ...more
Matt
I wish I could give Hugh Ambrose's The Pacific a 3.5 but I can't. The book is exactly what it says it is a oompanion to the mini series The Pacific. I found the book hard to get into but once I had established a rythm with the book it was an easy read. Ambrose does have a nice writing style but the first quarter of the book has him leaving his subjects in what seemed to be an incomplete thought which was frustrating.

In the last three quarters of the book was much better but filled with some sma
...more
Jim
Oct 22, 2011 Jim rated it it was amazing
A must read book. One hard to read and harder to put down. This book covers World War II in the Pacific from the perspective of a few chosen men, some names you'll recognize, some not. One asks is war justified, the conclusion is the starting of a war is not as it is the recognition of a failed diplomacy, but one's defense against an aggressor and the war for freedom is justified. That is what this book brings out, ordinary men in drastic unusual circumstances. They do what they must to survive, ...more
Cody Poinsett
Sep 24, 2010 Cody Poinsett rated it it was amazing
I am currently reading The Pacific. I like it a lot so far. There is a lot of action. The author really tries to express the feelings and all the trouble the soldiers had to deal with during the war in the pacific. I am currently at the part where P.O.W try to escape a jap work camp. This book is probably one of my most favorite book. WWII was a tough war and this book tells how brutal this war was. Back to the Book the group of people who escaped the work camp found these villagers and are bow ...more
Ryan
Oct 12, 2013 Ryan rated it really liked it
Very informative, I learned a lot about the war in the Pacific. I really appreciate the way the author focuses on people who were major influences, but were not at the battles that are normally discussed.

One thing stood out as a bit frustrating though, the descriptions seem to be disjointed as the author takes you from the third person, straight into a quote from someone who was interviewed. This is made even worse since I listened to the audio book, and the third person/first person switch real
...more
ShellyAnn1A
Oct 13, 2015 ShellyAnn1A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having grown up on first hand accounts of the war in the Pacific Theater of Action, reading this book was almost like sitting on my father's lap while he told his stories of the war in the Pacific. In the military, I served with guys who wore the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with multiple campaign stars. It was always wonderful to sit back and listen to them relating their experience at place like Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and of course on Guadalcanal. This book while not like Stephen Ambrose' ...more
David Lewis
Jan 10, 2015 David Lewis rated it it was amazing
Great book about the personal stories of several men who fought the imperal Japanese empire in the pacific theater of World War II. When reading one can't help but lament the scars combat had on people like Eugene Sledge and the feelings of disdain towards the leaders during the Japanese offensive in the Philippines. Heros like Manila john epitomize the american ethos.
Ambrose, in my opinion, succesed in his mission of giving a historical account of the war in the personal stories of the selecte
...more
Ikram Mohd noor
Sep 07, 2014 Ikram Mohd noor rated it really liked it
If you already read other memoirs like With The Old Breed and Helmet For My Pillow, you can see clearly that the story in this book is just a circulation of the same flow from other memoirs.
But, this book compiled several other characters of the veterans in WWII.

If you guys love watching The Pacific, this book will be a good one as an additional information and details because in the series, the storytelling is about Robert Leckie, Gene Sledge, and John Basilone. Here in this book, we have sev
...more
Matt Brown
Sep 24, 2014 Matt Brown rated it it was amazing
The Pacific, by Hugh Ambrose, is one of the better war memoirs of this day. It follows the stories of three United States Marines, Sergeant "Manila John" Basilone, Private First Class Eugene Sledge, and Private First Class Robert "Lucky" Leckie, in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The book gives a back story to each of these three men, then goes into great detail about their military careers. The author did a great job of retelling the stories, as each man's struggle paints a picture in ...more
Jody
Nov 03, 2015 Jody rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
It looks like Hugh is following in the footsteps of his father. This is a great history book that reads like a novel. There are enough facts given to educate you but the backstories involving the people are what really impress me. I enjoy history when it is presented this way. I do not care to know a bunch of dates if I don't know anything about the people involved. My grandfather was a corpsman with the 6th Marine division that took Okinawa. He would rarely talk about anything he went through a ...more
Shane
May 02, 2015 Shane rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I appreciated that the "The Pacific" used a different style of format than most history books: it focused on the journeys of 5 different soldiers who fought in the Pacific theater during World War II, both when in combat and when not. This did make the story vary a bit in how exciting it was, but it was an interesting way to structure the book.
I was most interested in the exploits of pilot Mike Micheel (unsurprisingly considering my grandfather was also a naval bomber), and Marine Sid Phillips,
...more
Dave
Jun 30, 2013 Dave rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
If you like history and in particular WWII history you will find this very interesting. I found it to be informative as I like any WWII stories, however, it is written from notes and diary notes and reads like reading from them. It took me a while to finish the book because Of the writing style.
Kevin
Jan 20, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it
This is not an easy read at all but worth the time to really understand the daily lives of the soldiers that fought the battles of the pacific theatre during WWII. as with any ambrose, hugh did impeccable research and used several acknowledged books as sources. terrific job.
Amber
Apr 21, 2010 Amber rated it it was ok
I thought thsi was going to be a gripping, heartfelt story of the war in the Pacific, much like Ambrose's father wrote in Band of Brothers. This one was way too techincal, followed obscure characters, and all in all acted as my own personal Ambien. Uck.
Kelly
Jan 22, 2016 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I enjoyed this biography of a group of individuals experiences during world War 2. I'm not familiar with any of the history of the Pacific theater, and this delves into at least in part. I listened to the audiobook, and as I've read, there is no clear delineation between narratives in print. That lack of division is glaringly apparent in audio because there are no breaks, and it takes a few sentences to figure out which person is being described. The timeline jumps repeatedly, the narrative jump ...more
Robert Dunlap
Nov 10, 2014 Robert Dunlap rated it it was amazing
I'll be checking this out again. Voluminous and detailed without ever being boring. I also like that he is another author that continues to destroy the trumped-up showboater clown General MacArthur.

The format allows Ambrose to show both small and large views of the war in the Pacific. It provides good reminders of how fierce the Japanese fought and how Asia is no stranger to racism. There are small and large surprises hidden throughout the book that allow you to connect the dots backwards for th
...more
Rob Osment
Jun 13, 2015 Rob Osment rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Billed as a companion piece to the HBO series of the same name, this detailed account of the U.S. War in the Pacific told from multiple perspectives is a lot more than the book of a t.v. Series. I was actually a little underwhelmed by the TV series (perhaps unfairly comparing it to the earlier Band of Brothers which still remains one of my favourite series ever based on an equally excellent book) so was unsure how much I would enjoy the book. Thankfully the book of "The Pacific" was far better t ...more
Tom Gorski
May 25, 2015 Tom Gorski rated it really liked it
Fascinating history and perhaps in a way better than the TV series. The Pacific campaign in WW2 as seen through the eyes of five separate ordinary individuals whose paths at times cross, often indirectly, during that war. Not that they physically encounter one another but they end up at different times engaged in the same battles. The book shows the reality of war...a lot of long periods of training and boredom inter-spaced with shorter periods of terror and battle. It also shows the politics be ...more
Martin
Dec 10, 2015 Martin rated it really liked it
At first i was worried that this was another Ambrose hagiography. But it is not. It does try to tell the story of the pacific war by following a few main characters throughout the conflict, but the research is there, and the brainless adulation is tamped down. It is very entertaining and even a reader of over a hundred books on this topic may get to think of a few issues in a new light. I know it had that effect on me... This is a good intro book for newbs, but a ripping read for the veteran... ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Pacific, by Hugh Ambrose 1 12 Feb 28, 2016 06:58PM  
  • Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II
  • Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific
  • Plan of Attack
  • Pegasus Bridge
  • With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
  • Roughneck
  • Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, the Man Who Led the Band of Brothers
  • Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War
  • We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers
  • Call of Duty: My Life Before, During and After the Band of Brothers
  • Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944--The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War
  • Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945
  • The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea--The Forgotten War of the South Pacific
  • Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich
  • Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters
  • The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust
  • Easy Company Soldier: The Legendary Battles of a Sergeant from World War II's "Band of Brothers"
  • The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
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Hugh Alexander Ambrose was an American historian and the author of a best-selling popular history of the Pacific Theater in World War II. Ambrose rose to prominence as a researcher for and collaborator with his father, historian Stephen E. Ambrose.

Hugh Alexander Ambrose was born on Aug. 12, 1966, in Baltimore, one of three children that his mother, the former Moira Buckley, brought to her marriage
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