South Pacific Cauldron: World War II’s Great Forgotten Battlegrounds by Alan Rems
Hardcover with 312 pages, 42 black & white photos, and 16 mapsPrice: $35.00
While the Pacific War has been widely studied by military historians and venerated in popular culture through movies and other media, the fighting in the South Pacific Theater has, with few exceptions, been remarkably neglected. Worthy of remembrance no less than Wake Island, Leyte Gulf, and Tarawa are the great unsung battlefields of Buna, Shaggy Ridge, and the Driniumor River on New Guinea, as well as the torpedo-infested waters off New Georgia; and the deadly skies over Rabaul and Wewak.
Authoritative, yet written in a highly readable narrative style, South Pacific Cauldron is the first complete history embracing all land, sea and air operations in this critically important sector of that oceanic war. Unlike most other World War II accounts, this work covers the South Pacific operations in detail, including the little-known final Australian campaigns that continued until the Japanese surrender.
Author Alan Rems breathes life into the major figures of the South Pacific campaigns, including brilliant and imperious General Douglas MacArthur, audacious and profane Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, and bibulous and indelicate Australian General Thomas Blamey. No less interesting are others that will be mostly new to readers, including many from the Japanese side, like the indomitable generals Noboru Sasaki and Hatazo Adachi. As for the fighting men, many of their stories are captured in accounts of the actions for which some were awarded the Medal of Honor, Victoria Cross, and other decorations for valor.
South Pacific Cauldron's story is enhanced with 16 maps and 40 photographs, many rarely seen, that were carefully chosen from official American and Australian sources. The book also includes a detailed chronology to put the widely separated operations in context and a detailed bibliography for additional reading on the subject.
“South Pacific Cauldron is a first-rate account of the brutal and important fighting that occurred in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea during World War II. By examining the campaign from the American, Australian, and Japanese perspectives, Alan Rems provides military history buffs with a fine starting point for the overlooked military operations in one of the world’s most hostile environments.”
“For decades the history of the Guadalcanal campaign has dominated the South Pacific literature available to new generations of readers. But there was much more to the fighting in that area, as Alan Rems demonstrates in this well-researched history of a major theater of World War II. The fighting against a determined Japanese enemy was complicated by the command issues involving not only American interservice cooperation, but also those with Allies, notably Australia. Air and sea power were valuable contributors to the capture of island after island and to eventual victory.”
—Paul Stillwell, naval historian and author of Submarine Stories: Recollections from the Diesel Boats