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Would you try another book from Joseph Wheelan and/or Kevin Stillwell?
Maybe. Guadalcanal is a tough topic. This author tries to bring the personal part of the story home, and frequently does a good job of that, bringing humanity through the voices of the participants. On the other hand, he does a poor job providing the overall context of what's going on. This fight is a huge story of outstanding and poor leadership, of great individual bravery and some cowardice, often by the folks in charge.
The author misses some key things. He gives us a great account of Puller going aboard the destroyer and saving his men, he misses the human part of the exchange between Puller and the ship captain about who's got the better life (and potential death).
The USS San Francisco kills as many sailors aboard the USS Atlanta than the Japanese kill Marines on Bloody Ridge. Callahan dies on the San Francisco. The author makes assumptions about what Callahan thought during the battle and states them as fact when we can't possibly know. Callahan knew his mission was suicide, was brave, incompetent, and six other things all at once, yet that gets lost in the story here.
The book should have been better focused, but I did listen to the end, which I won't do if I think it's a waste of time.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Really no characters in a non-fiction book, but in general, the Marines and sailors do the impossible, and I always wonder if the current generation would be capable of doing the same.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
He mispronounces constantly. He pronounces Yamamoto three different ways. He pronounces Helena two different ways. He mispronounces Callahan. He mispronounces a bunch of Japanese names or gives us multiple pronunciations. He mispronounces or gives us multiple pronunciations of place names on the island. He once says that the Japanese commander is going to commit sui-Sepuku, suggesting he was anticipating "suicide", got the Japanese, and changed mid-word. Annoying.
Do you think Midnight in the Pacific needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
No. Needs a second edition to tighten it up.
Any additional comments?
Listen to Tolls' Pacific Crucible. Then listen to Hornfischer's Neptune's Inferno. Listen to Tragaskis' Guadalcanal Diary (which is referenced by Wheelan). Hara's book for the Japanese version (also referenced by Wheelan). There are several books by Marines that are listenable as well, also referenced by Wheelan).
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
The author repeats anecdotes and quotes so many times that it became very noticeable. At first, I wondered if I was repeating chapters, but then I realized that things were repeated three or four times.