The Pacific: Hell Was an Ocean Away Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
|New from||Used from|
Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
|Free with your Audible trial|
In this companion to the HBO miniseries - executive produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman - Hugh Ambrose reveals the intertwined odysseys of four US Marines and a US Navy carrier pilot during World War II.
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 debacle in Bataan, to the miracle at Midway and the relentless vortex of Guadalcanal, their solemn oaths to their country later led one to the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot and the others to the coral strongholds of Peleliu, the black terraces of Iwo Jima, and the killing fields of Okinawa, until at last the survivors enjoyed a triumphant, yet uneasy, return home.
In The Pacific, Hugh Ambrose focuses on the real-life stories of the five men who put their lives on the line for our country. To deepen the story revealed in the miniseries and go beyond it, the book dares to chart a great ocean of enmity known as The Pacific and the brave men who fought. Some considered war a profession, others enlisted as citizen soldiers. Each man served in a different part of the war, but their respective duties required every ounce of their courage and their strength to defeat an enemy who preferred suicide to surrender. The medals for valor that were pinned on three of them came at a shocking price - a price paid in full by all.
- Limited time offer: 2 month free trial
- An audiobook of your choice each month
- Listen all you want to the Plus Catalogue of Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts
- Exclusive member only discounts
- After 2 months Audible is $16.45/month, cancel anytime
|Listening Length||23 hours and 55 minutes|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||04 March 2010|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 29,714 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
51 in World War II Biographies (Audible Books & Originals)
302 in World War II Biographies (Books)
821 in World War II History (Books)
Review this product
Top reviews from other countries
In "The Pacific" what we get is the story of five soldiers who served in the Pacific War and whose stories overlap enough to cover the whole course of the war. There is no attempt at analysis or discussion of the strategy and tactics but simply a re-telling of what was presumably a recorded interview with these veterans.
What is particularly annoying is that part of the book relays the story of Eugene Sledge almost exactly as he wrote it himself in his war memoirs "With The Old Breed". Is there any real need to repeat that story here, as surely there were other unpublished veterans Hugh Ambrose could have talked to.
Its strange therefore that the other 'character' from the television series, Robert Leckie is not included in the book. Hugh Ambrose explains that this was because his experiences were covered in his book "Helmet For My Pillow", and that he has included another similar account that covers the same period. So why repeat one and not the other?
In addition to these two three other veterans add their voices to the story of the Pacific War as seen through their eyes. But that remains the problem - five peoples experiences, even if they were involved in all the major events of the war does not even begin to tell the whole story. For Stephen Ambroses book "Citizen Soldiers" he interviewed dozens of soldiers and gives a much better overall impression of what war in Europe was like for the average soldier. For the war in the Pacific this only tells you what the war was like for five individuals.
As others have pointed out the style of writing is also slightly annoying. Hugh Ambrose attempts to add drama to events by writing in short snappy sentences. While his father was able to do this to great effect Hugh Ambrose over does it and you get entire chapters of tiny sentences which ruin any emotional impact the story might have had.
By the end of the book you get some idea of what the Pacific War was like but I still found myself crying out for some input from the author. At no point does he even try to talk about the background to the war, the weapons, the tactics, the commanders and their strategies, the vehicles and planes, or even the differences between the different branches of service involved. If you are hoping for a history book on the Pacific War this is not it. This is more of a biography of five very brave and resilient men who fought during the war but with nothing more added to place it in context.
The book itself, well it was the inspiration behind the HBO series THE PACIFIC and as such highlights the brutality and horror that was characteristic of the whole campaign. The book illuminates the war service of legendary marines such as EB Sledge and John Basilone, the inhumanity of being a POW of the IJA and the air war over the Pacific. In the main however the book covers the island campaigns of the marines as they traverse the Pacific covering the intense fighting on Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The witness accounts of the dehumanising brutality displayed by both sides and the animal hatred that the marines had for their enemy reverberates throughout the whole book. In between the temporary lapses in the fighting the book describes what it is like to live under constant fear, fatigue and filth. The struggle of simply living in any of the combat zones sounds utterly debilitating.
The book in reality is a series of true life accounts involving the unimaginable horror that these brave US marines faced in their amphibious campaigns from one end of the Pacific to the other and how they raised to the occasion. These battles are what transformed the marines into a world class fighting unit…and justifiably so. The book loses a star as I feel it is simply not as well written as others on the subject but it still is an enthralling multi personality portrayal about courageous American servicemen struggling to stay alive in the horrific island battles of WW2.
I have to say that Ambrose Junior has none of the skill or ability of Ambrose Senior.
By basing the book around 4 different men, all in different placements, be they bomber pilot or front line marine, the story the book weaves becomes difficult. Not necessarily to keep track of, but in the way they are all thrown together and jump from one another can be a bit bemusing.
There are also whole sections of this book that are a slog to read. One section in particular springs to mind in Act Three which follows a Medal Of Honor winner arriving Stateside to take part in a War Bond Drive with movie stars - it's easily the most boring part of the book, and I found myself skipping any mention of it in Act Three.
Ambrose Jnr also tries to cram too much information into one book - there are things that happen to the guys here that would be a solid basis for their own individual books, and some have done exactly that, but by compiling it all into one volume, so much is missed out and so many more interesting threads in the stories just simply aren't followed up. I found after finishing this book, I wanted to read the books of two of the men featured here, something I never felt from reading Ambrose Snr.
Ambrose Snr devoted a large book to just one day in D-Day, and still you felt like you only got a brief glimpse of what happened that day. Ambrose Junior tries to do the same but for a 4 year campaign, and it just all falls apart. He's also obsessed with fact and figures ; in any give page you have 3 or 4 different battalion numbers mentioned, troop numbers (replacements and original members, enemy numbers), dates, etc when it's not the facts and figures you are reading it for, but for the experiences and stories of the men who were there.
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of those, but at the end of the book you can't help but feel short-changed that the uneven balance of war experience and technical historical tome is too much.
The killer blow came near the end when the book wraps up Act Four with the surrender of Japan following one marine hearing on the radio of a "second use of a new weapon. An atomic bomb...". That's all you get in terms of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, a scant mention of one right at the end, as if they were nothing. Granted, The Pacific deals with the entire campaign, some areas in depth (Guadalcanal), some appearing like a mere footnote in a greater context (Midway), but to completely ignore the bombings utterly amazed me.
I expected good things from this based on the Ambrose legacy, but I can safely say I won't be reading any more titles from Ambrose Jnr from here on in.