A World War II historian takes readers from Pearl Harbor—a rude awakening for a ragtag militia 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 a juggernaut led by General Douglas MacArthur.
...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.