Into The Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War Ii'S Pacific Veterans Reveal The Heart Of Combat
Publish Date: 2002-03-05
Author: Patrick K. O'Donnell
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Drawn from interviews with more than eight hundred veterans, a combat history of the Pacific War recreates the most crucial battles, from raids on remote Japanese outposts to the desperate fighting on Guadalcanal and in Burma. The author of Beyond Valor offers a new collection of oral histories from veterans of the Second World War, this time from the Pacific theater. In an introduction, Patrick K. O'Donnell warns, "oral histories are perhaps the best means available to reveal the horrors and pathos of the foxhole." Indeed, several of the accounts he compiles on these pages are grisly, such as the story of Tom Lyons, stabbed in the neck by a Japanese soldier on Guadalcanal. Lyons survived, but only after being heaped on top of a pile of dead bodies. Rumors of his death reached home: "My mother got a check from my insurance company saying I was dead the same day she got a letter from me written by a nurse at a hospital in New Zealand." Combat stories abound, including a firsthand account of Gunnery Sergeant William G. Walsh jumping on a grenade to protect his squad on Iwo Jima, a feat for which he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. O'Donnell organizes his material chronologically and introduces each chapter to help readers understand the context of the soldiers' individual narratives. For those who enjoy real-life war stories told from the perspective of the men who were there, Into the Rising Sun is hard to beat. --John Miller