In Fire and Fortitude—winner of the Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History—John C. McManus presented a riveting account of the US Army’s fledgling fight in the Pacific following Pearl Harbor. Now, in Island Infernos, he explores the Army’s dogged pursuit of Japanese forces, island by island, throughout 1944, a year that would bring America ever closer to victory or defeat.
After some two years at war, the Army in the Pacific held ground across nearly a third of the globe, from Alaska’s Aleutians to Burma and New Guinea. The challenges ahead were enormous: supplying a vast number of troops over thousands of miles of ocean; surviving in jungles ripe with dysentery, malaria, and other tropical diseases; fighting an enemy prone to ever-more desperate and dangerous assaults. Yet the Army had proven they could fight. Now, they had to prove they could win a war.
Brilliantly researched and written, Island Infernos moves seamlessly from the highest generals to the lowest foot soldiers and in between, capturing the true essence of this horrible conflict. A sprawling yet page-turning narrative, the story spans the battles for Saipan and Guam, the appalling carnage of Peleliu, General MacArthur’s dramatic return to the Philippines, and the grinding jungle combat to capture the island of Leyte. This masterful history is the second volume of John C. McManus’s trilogy on the US Army in the Pacific War, proving McManus to be one of our finest historians of World War II.