The GI War Against Japan
American Soldiers in Asia and the Pacific During World War II
Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Even in the midst of World War II, Americans could not help thinking of the lands across the Pacific as a continuation of the American Western frontier. But this perception only heightened American soldiers' frustration as the hostile region ferociously resisted their attempts at control.
The GI War Against Japan recounts the harrowing experiences of American soldiers in Asia and the Pacific. Based on countless diaries and letters, it sweeps across the battlefields, from the early desperate stand at Guadalcanal to the tragic sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis at war's very end. From the daunting spaces of the China-India theater to the fortress islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Schrijvers brings to life the GIs’ struggle with suffocating wilderness, devastating diseases, and Japanese soldiers who preferred death over life. Amidst the frustration and despair of this war, American soldiers abandoned themselves to an escalating rage that presaged Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The GI’s story is, first and foremost, the story of America's resounding victory over Japan. At the same time, however, the reader will recognize in the extraordinarily high price paid for this victory chilling forebodings of the West’s ultimate defeat in Asia’and America’s in Vietnam.
“This terrifying, remarkable work examines the attitudes, perceptions, and behavior of U.S. fighting men in the Pacific theatre. . . . Among the most unsettling books I've read in years.”
—The Atlantic Monthly
“Peter Schrijvers has pulled a ‘double' by writing a worthy companion to The Crash of Ruin: American Combat Soldiers in Europe during World War II. His study of the soldiers' war against Japan transcends simplistic race-hate explanations and reconstructs the psycho-social context of war in which only the enemy remained the same.”
—Allan R. Millett, Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans
“Schrijvers’ book is a valuable addition to the literature on the war in the Pacific.”
—H-Net Book Review
“Schrijvers builds upon earlier works and successfully goes beyond them to provide a scholarly account of the full range of American experiences in the Pacific and Asian theatres. He makes excellent use of diaries, letters, training manuals, and official reports. The book is an impressive scholarly achievement. Schrijvers’s vivid portrayal of the American experience in the war against Japan permits us to see that experience in a broader historical context and reveals patterns of thought and action that are enduring features of the American character.”
—The International History Review
“One cannot read this volume without coming away with a fresh way of thinking about the subject. Peter Schrijvers has broadened our perspective of the sociology of the American fighting man in the Second World War.”
—War In History
“A rich and compelling cultural and social history of American servicemen and -women serving in Asia and the Pacific during World War II.”
—The Journal of American History
“Just when it appeared that little remained to be said about the Pacific War, Schrijvers produces the best social history of the conflict to date...This is an important book, not only about WWII but also about the nature of war itself . . . Highly recommended.”
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