Saturday, February 23, 2013

Quick Book Review; "Eagle Against the Sun" - Ronald Spector

Noted to my in prior post, typical Americans learn about the Pacific War theater in WW2 as Pearl Harbor-Midway-Hiroshima. American students today might only learn, "Evil Hiroshima nuclear bomb droppings that you should feel guilty about forever". I don't know, but it sounds plausible in today's educational environment. Feeling a bit ignorant about the details of the Pacific theater, I sought a great source. A friend recommended "Eagle Against the Sun", and it delivers the goods. Read this book for a feel of the vast scope and the amazing accomplishment that the US pulled off in WW2.

The book feels a bit like a series of articles, but it is perfectly fine in my book considering the oddity of the Pacific theater. I've blogged about this before, but Hitler's stupid error in declaring war on America after Pearl Harbor allowed FDR to declare war on Germany and divide our attention and resources. Without that, America had no direct reason to fight Germany. We only had to deal with Japan. Despite Japan attacking America directly, the Pacific theater did not get the immediate focus it deserved as FDR agreed to "Germany first, Japan second". Let's do a slow sarcastic clap for FDR. Our allies were of minimal use as the Chinese Commies didn't fight squat, the Chinese Nationalists were of limited help, the British fortifications were overrun by the Japanese and India was always threatening to rebel during the war, the French were screw ups in Indochina, the Dutch had limited to hold onto, and worst of all, the European colonial powers had been slightly dickish after WW1 to their colonies so the Japanese promise of self-determination and a greater Asian Sphere of Co-Prosperity was enticing to natives. America was fighting a tough battle to slow the Japanese down so that they could still retain connection with Australia and New Zealand and control the Pacific. We never expected to have the Pacific actually won before four years of fighting was through. We had their codes broken, which this book discusses and had some luck on our side at Midway. We also had frustratingly great equipment that would have one thing off that we did not correct until many lives were lost. An example would be that America had great submarines but bad torpedoes. If MacArthur was such a great asset (he was) and fighting such a critical path, why did FDR and the war department limit the funds and men available to him? This is a very quick read. You will learn some things and enjoy it.

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