South Pacific Cauldron: World War II’s Great Forgotten Battlegrounds by Alan Rems
Price: $38.95, 284 pages, published by Naval Institute Press
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 includes a detailed chronology to put the widely separated operations in context and a detailed bibliography for additional reading on the subject.