...McManus often steps away from the generals’ headquarters to describe what the war was like at the foxhole level ... even in the worst of settings, McManus finds some bright bits ... Let’s hope that some members of the dwindling band of WWII Army vets are still around to read—and savor—McManus’ second volume. Until then, we all have Fire and Fortitude to read. And savor.
...truly stands out by covering an underserved topic ... John C. McManus has written the first of what will hopefully be a two-volume set providing a comprehensive and readable narrative of the Army’s critical role in achieving victory over Japan ... This book does a remarkable job of furnishing the rest of the story of America’s fight against the Empire of Japan ... What makes this volume stand out is that McManus covers the full range of subjects concerning the Army’s rebuilding and initial offensives in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 1942 and 1943 ... a long overdue book.
Many readers will be familiar with certain events, such as the fall of the Philippines and the Bataan Death March, but McManus also provides full treatments of lesser-known campaigns, including the fighting in the Aleutians and Papua New Guinea ... Clearly written in an engaging style, this book will appeal to general readers of military history.
An expert, opinionated World War II history with some unsettling conclusions ... Readers may learn more than they want to know about Japan’s vicious treatment of POWs and flinch at the author’s low opinion of Gen. MacArthur ... A moderately revisionist, entirely engrossing WWII history.
...[an] excellent entry ... Extensive research drawing on government archives and academic and private collections has yielded diverse and extensive sources, allowing the author to seamlessly shift the reader’s point of view from high command to the frontline view of soldiers in battle ... For all its length and its detailed scholarly research, this history is imminently readable. Both the general reader and the military history expert will find it informative and enjoyable.