Fire and Fortitude
An engrossing, epic history of the US Army in the Pacific War"Out here, mention is seldom seen of the achievements of the Army ground troops," wrote one officer in the fall of 1943, "whereas the Marines are blown up to the skies." Even today, the Marines are celebrated as the victors of the Pacific, a reflection of a well-deserved reputation for valor. Yet the majority of fighting and dying in the war against Japan was done not by Marines but by unsung Army soldiers. John C. McManus, one of our most highly acclaimed historians of World War II, takes readers from Pearl Harbor—a rude awakening for a military woefully unprepared for war—to Makin, a sliver of coral reef where the Army was tested against the increasingly desperate Japanese. In between were nearly two years of punishing combat as the Army transformed, at times unsteadily, from an undertrained garrison force into an unstoppable juggernaut, and America evolved from an inward-looking nation into a global superpower.At the pinnacle of this richly told story are the generals: Douglas MacArthur, a military autocrat driven by his dysfunctional lust for fame and power; Robert Eichelberger, perhaps the greatest commander in the theater yet consigned to obscurity by MacArthur's jealousy; "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell, a prickly soldier miscast in a diplomat's role; and Walter Krueger, a German-born officer who came to lead the largest American ground force in the Pacific. Enriching the narrative are the voices of men otherwise lost to history: the uncelebrated Army grunts who endured stifling temperatures, apocalyptic tropical storms, rampant malaria and other diseases, as well as a fanatical enemy bent on total destruction. This is an essential, ambitious book, the first of two volumes, a compellingly written and boldly revisionist account of a war that reshaped the American military and the globe and continues to resonate today.

Fire and Fortitude Details

TitleFire and Fortitude
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 30th, 2019
PublisherDutton Caliber
ISBN-139780451475046
Rating
GenreWar, World War II, History, Nonfiction, North American Hi..., American History

Fire and Fortitude Review

  • Craig Pearson
    January 1, 1970
    McManus is an excellent writer and through extensive research has crafted a detailed and enjoyable read about the history of the Army in the Pacific conflict. This book does not tell the full story of the Army in the Pacific, jusdt through 1943. With some tightening of biographies and some reduction of personality conflicts I think this coulod have told the story of the whole war. I do not understand why no maps were included. Fire and Fortitude gets a 4.5 for not being perfect.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    January 1, 1970
    The author has written  books detailing World War II  with this one addressing  the role the Army played in during the first half of the war. It is well researched and written and is an interesting read. He points out, as many authors have, the self-centered ineptitude of Douglas McArthur which caused a much higher loss of life than necessary in the demise of the Phillipines. I found the section about americans in Austraila an interesting chapter in dealing with understanding the english languag The author has written  books detailing World War II  with this one addressing  the role the Army played in during the first half of the war. It is well researched and written and is an interesting read. He points out, as many authors have, the self-centered ineptitude of Douglas McArthur which caused a much higher loss of life than necessary in the demise of the Phillipines. I found the section about americans in Austraila an interesting chapter in dealing with understanding the english language as used by the Aussies. He also describes the problems the Austrailians had in understanding those soldiers from the deep south.I recomend this book for those looking for a better understanding of the role the Army played in the war with Japan during the first half of the conflict.I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook and Twitter pages.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    I read very little of the United States Army's involvement in the Pacific War during World War II. The Army fought certain battles in the Pacific, But more was written about the United States Marine's involvement in the Pacific. However, this was a good and interesting book about the U.S. Army's involvement in the battles of the Pacific and the hardships they endured in the steamy jungles of New Guinea to the Bataan Death March and the POW camps at O'Donnell and Cabanatuan. This book gives insig I read very little of the United States Army's involvement in the Pacific War during World War II. The Army fought certain battles in the Pacific, But more was written about the United States Marine's involvement in the Pacific. However, this was a good and interesting book about the U.S. Army's involvement in the battles of the Pacific and the hardships they endured in the steamy jungles of New Guinea to the Bataan Death March and the POW camps at O'Donnell and Cabanatuan. This book gives insight to the war and the generals who led the men in battle.
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  • Anne Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    Reading about World War II generally begins with the European theater: Normandy, the Battle of Britain, Dunkirk, etc. For Americans, Pearl Harbor may be as far into the Pacific theater as they go. Further reading generally focuses on the Navy and sea battles. So I was very interested to read John C. McManus' Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943 and learn more about the early Pacific war and the army.Spoiler alert: for readers like me who know very little going in, Fire a Reading about World War II generally begins with the European theater: Normandy, the Battle of Britain, Dunkirk, etc. For Americans, Pearl Harbor may be as far into the Pacific theater as they go. Further reading generally focuses on the Navy and sea battles. So I was very interested to read John C. McManus' Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943 and learn more about the early Pacific war and the army.Spoiler alert: for readers like me who know very little going in, Fire and Fortitude is not the book for you. After reading the "Prologue" I almost decided not to continue reading the book. Written as if a college professor is giving a lecture, it put me off the author and made me worry the book was going to be written in the same style: McManus seems to want to show the reader that he knows his military history and compares World War II Pacific army work with both historic and modern day situations. He 'talks' down to the reader, trying to impress them (one assumes) with his knowledge and the introduction to the book and its topics felt almost secondary to me. If you can make it past the prologue and still want to read the book, the writing style at least gets better. There are fewer comparisons to situations past and future to distract from the present of the 1940s. Beginning at Pearl Harbor and going to Makin in 1943, McManus provides carefully researched minute details to make the reader feel as if they are experiencing every hardship alongside the soldiers. For anyone wanting to find out about the intense miseries of jungle warfare, this is your book. From marches along ridges to the psychological terror of being in foxholes at night, Fire and Fortitude had you covered. It makes you wonder how anyone experiencing it (on both the American and Japanese side) came out even halfway sane. What Fire and Fortitude didn't do was give you the bigger picture of the Pacific theater. When you do get some of the overall plans and decision making from the generals, it quickly gets buried again in the tiny details. I know I read about McArthur's experiences in the Philippines and why he was obsessed with returning there after evacuating, but after a few chapters I was so bogged down in minutiae that I couldn't remember his reasons for the rest of the book. As much as I appreciated the miseries that the soldiers went through, I could have handled fewer of the repetitious details of those miseries on every island fight and more of the big picture on why they were fighting on the islands to come away with a better understanding of the war in the Pacific.Overall, Fire and Fortitude is not a book for a reader new to the Pacific theater. From ship tonnage to what each soldier carried to the specific divisions and regiments who went to different places, this is a book for historians who already know an enormous amount about this theater and are looking for even more details. For the beginner, like me, McManus spends so much time focusing on the details that the bigger picture is completely lost on you. Because of this, I found the book an ordeal to get through, and not an author I would go back to for future reading.I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Zeb Kantrowitz
    January 1, 1970
    This is not just a war history, it contains the opinion of the author of each of the generals (from all sides) who fought the battles in the Pacific Area of Operations. He starts by describing the military situation in the Pacific just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, including how it was decided how to staff the Phillipine Islands, and the placement of the US Pacific Naval forces.He does his best (but biasly) to tell the actual history of General MacArthur as he described him as a megalomanic This is not just a war history, it contains the opinion of the author of each of the generals (from all sides) who fought the battles in the Pacific Area of Operations. He starts by describing the military situation in the Pacific just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, including how it was decided how to staff the Phillipine Islands, and the placement of the US Pacific Naval forces.He does his best (but biasly) to tell the actual history of General MacArthur as he described him as a megalomanical personality who was more interested in how he was perceived by the public as opposed to taking the best care of his soldiers. Having been given a Medal of Honor early in the war, he personally convinced authorities not to give the award to others under him so as to not devalue the MoH he had.MacArthur was never happy to have to share the accolades with anyone, and found the idea of the Navy and Marines island hopping so as to bring the Army Air Corp closer to the Home Islands of Japan. Mac wanted to be the only main thrust through New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies, then the Phillipines and finally through Taiwan and then the Ryukyu Islands and onto the Home Islands. Admiral Halsy proved him wrong by finding a faster way to get up to the Home Islands by moving up through the outer rim of Pacific Islands.McManus does a great job of first describing the area that will become the battlefield, then the number of Japanese, then the climate and other natural obstacles; then he goes on the describe the Allied forces, and how the Army planned to attack the area and the strategy and where it worked and why it didn't. It's interesting to see how many members of the military wasted the lives of the men under them to satisfy their own egos, using strategies that didn't work but made them look as if they were 'aggressive' leaders. Many times the leadership ordered offensives that had no chance of succeeding, because they made determination based on maps and not directly viewing the battlefield. I'm looking forward to the second volume of this history which will be more of the fighting by the US Marines and Naval Forces.
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  • Ron
    January 1, 1970
    When most readers think of World War II in the Pacific Theater, they think of Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Guadalcanal which star the US Navy and Marines. But the war would not have been won with out the US Army. Fire and Fortitude tells the story of the US Army in the Pacific from the time of Pearl Harbor to the beginning of the march on Japan.John McManus divides the book in two sections - Onslaught and Turnabout. In Onslaught, the reader finds chapters on the Pearl Harbor attack, the invasion an When most readers think of World War II in the Pacific Theater, they think of Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Guadalcanal which star the US Navy and Marines. But the war would not have been won with out the US Army. Fire and Fortitude tells the story of the US Army in the Pacific from the time of Pearl Harbor to the beginning of the march on Japan.John McManus divides the book in two sections - Onslaught and Turnabout. In Onslaught, the reader finds chapters on the Pearl Harbor attack, the invasion and fall of the Philippians, the war in China and Australia, and a chapter on the prisoner of war (POW) camps. In Turnabout, the reader sees the US Army and its Allies striking back in New Guinea, Guadalcanal (the US Army played a crucial role there), Burma, China, and the invasion of Makin where the Army fared better than the Marines at Tarawa. There is also another chapter on the changing conditions at the POW camps in Philippians and Japan.John McManus has done a credible job of presenting the role of the US Army in the Pacific Theater of WWII. He works to provide details from both combat and other aspects of Army life. It is interesting that he provides details on the US Army POWs in the Pacific. The book breaks off abruptly after the Makin invasion, but that is due to the scope of the book. In tone Fire and Fortitude reminds the reader of the Official Histories put out by the US Army that are available in US Government Repositories. But if you are looking for a one volume introduction to the role played by the US Army in the early part of WWII, Fire and Fortitude will work.Thanks Netgalley for the opportunity to read this title.
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