All of Robert Leckie's books on the subject are fascinating but for me this one ranks the highest. It's comprehensive in the journey through the Pacific conflict and tells the story through the eye of the fighting men. It is very disturbing and very moving but for readers of military history, no one puts you so directly into the experience of the soldiers who made that history. (I would love to read an equivalent from the Japanese perspective.)
At the very highest level
When I bought this book, I wondered what more there was to say on the subject but because it was Max Hastings I went along with it anyway. Now I've finished it I realise that Hastings describes these same events from a different perspective and through a series of startlingly personal viewpoints on behalf of the protagonists and victims, he adds a sense of immediacy and involvement that can be lacking from some military histories. He also relates aspects of these stories that I hadn't heard before - the ugly truth comes out again and again and some of the heroes are perhaps not as heroic as I'd been led to believe............. Overall a fascinating book on this vast subject.
Lacking military aspect
Not too much - but it was perhaps my own fault
I really wanted to hear how the political and military machinations intertwined but I discovered too late that this is purely a political history - the military events are referred to only when they impinged on the political. It is a truly extensive political history of Vietnam so for those interested in that aspect it is excellent. I take full responsibility for not enjoying it as much as I'd hoped - it just isn't what i thought it would be and so should have investigated it more thoroughly before buying it.
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