Dan Walker's Reviews > The Pacific

The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose
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's review
Jul 31, 2011

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bookshelves: history

After reading this book I really feel like I understand the war from the perspective of the men who fought in it. And that includes the "fog of war" - it's hard to understand the strategic situation while fighting off banzai attacks.

And I came to identify with Sledge, too sensitive and thoughtful for the horrors of war. I suspect I would have reacted as he did. In the end, it was all senseless. But we need to study it to understand how senseless it was, and to try and decipher the clues as to why it happened.

I believe the clues are there. This book leads me to believe that the banzai attack was the Japanese infantry tactic of choice because the average IJA soldier could not make decisions on his own. Not because of a lack of intelligence, but because of how a totalitarian society treats its subjects: obediance is the greatest virtue.

The drawback to this book is that Hugh Ambrose is not yet a polished writer. Some of his prose has to be re-read to be understood. But that probably makes the experience more realistic - more how a soldier or sailor or marine would write.

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