If you want to have a small taste of what war in the Pacific was like, you need to read this book. While it does not delve deeply into battle strategy and weapons
(though both elements are addressed on a surface level) the book takes you into the world of the Marine rifleman. These were the young men—boys really—who had to undertake the dark and dangerous work on the islands of the Pacific.
The book is made up of slightly interconnected stories from 15 WWII Marines—including R.V. Bergin, Chuck Tatum and Sid Phillips—who were there. Interviewed by Makos and Brotherton, these Marines traced the action from the Pearl Harbor attack and America’s lumbering entry into the global fracas to a country fully at war with the Japanese. The book covers the initial battles on Guadalcanal and later at Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa. The last chapters follow these soldiers as they returned home and the challenges that befell many of them in trying to adapt to civilian life.
The stories read like an after dinner discussion among old friends reminiscing about their younger days. These Marines describe the horrors and confusion and carnage of warfare. Many of the stores are told in graphic detail—not to tug on heartstrings, but to relate as close as possible what it was really like to be there.
These soldiers were heroes and sacrificed everything they had and everything they were in fighting these battles. What you really come away with, however, is why these young boys were really fighting—and that all comes down to not wanting to fail their buddies. They fought to keep their friends safe no matter the cost.
This will touch you and make you gasp at the durability of the human heart. Whether you’re a WWII buff or simply interested in the human dynamics of relationships under the most extreme conditions, Voices of the Pacific will speak to you.