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Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa | [Joseph H. Alexander]

Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa

On November 20, 1943, in the first trial by fire of America’s fledgling amphibious assault doctrine, 5,000 men stormed the beaches of Tarawa, a seemingly invincible Japanese island fortress barely the size of the 300-acre Pentagon parking lots. Before the first day ended, one-third of the marines who had crossed Tarawa’s deadly reef under murderous fire were killed, wounded, or missing. In three days of fighting, four Americans would win the Medal of Honor and six thousand combatants would die.
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Publisher's Summary

On November 20, 1943, in the first trial by fire of America’s fledgling amphibious assault doctrine, 5,000 men stormed the beaches of Tarawa, a seemingly invincible Japanese island fortress barely the size of the 300-acre Pentagon parking lots. Before the first day ended, one-third of the marines who had crossed Tarawa’s deadly reef under murderous fire were killed, wounded, or missing. In three days of fighting, four Americans would win the Medal of Honor and six thousand combatants would die.

Now, Colonel Joseph Alexander, a combat marine himself, presents the full story of Tarawa in all its horror and glory: the extreme risks, the horrific combat, and the heroic breakthroughs. Based on exhaustive research, never-before-published accounts from marine survivors, and new evidence from Japanese sources, Colonel Alexander captures the grit, guts, and relentless courage of United States Marines overcoming outrageous odds to deliver victory for their country.

Colonel Joseph H. Alexander (Ret.), a combat veteran who served in the Marine Corps for 28 years, is the author of six books and has helped produce 25 military documentaries. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

©1995 Joseph H. Alexander, 2009 by Findaway World, LLC (P)2009 Findaway World, LLC

What the Critics Say

“The first complete and definitive account of the Battle of Tarawa.” (Major General Mike Ryan, USMC [Ret.], Navy Cross recipient)

“A gripping narrative of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII in the Pacific theater.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Without a doubt the best narrative of the struggle ever produced.” (Richard B. Frank, author of Guadalcanal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (47 )
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  •  
    Iain Clinton, CT, United States 02-23-11
    Iain Clinton, CT, United States 02-23-11 Member Since 2008
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    "The Definitive Battle History of Tarawa"

    Col. Alexander's "Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa" is the definitive battle history of this epic event. It is my understanding that he worked closely with historian Richard B. Frank and was able to tap into newly translated official Japanese war histories to uncover the Japanese side of the story. He also drew upon numerous interviews with veteran participants including war correspondent Robert Sherrod who landed with the Marines. Alexander's work is one of the finest battle histories I have ever read. Expertly narrated, I highly recommend this title to anyone interested in WW2 history.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 11-18-12
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 11-18-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "Utmost Savagery."

    A Great Story about Tarawa and the Pacific War. I like history and espically WW ll in the Pacific so naturally I was drawn to this Book. I would recommend this book to others.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leigh W. Barrett Topeka, Kansas USA 12-27-11
    Leigh W. Barrett Topeka, Kansas USA 12-27-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Not what at all it advertises"
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Anyone unfamiliar with the battle for Tarawa may gain some knowledge.


    What could Joseph H. Alexander have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    If this book had truly contained the kind of information available only to those who were there on the ground and what they experienced and saw the book miight have been great. Instead it was primarily a rehash of what the major players (e.g., generals, colonels, majors admirals, etc.) did and said. I stopped reading about 2/3s of the way through due the lack of individual marine or soldiers reports.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    None


    You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was well written as a command report.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Monty Texas, USA 06-12-11
    M. Monty Texas, USA 06-12-11 Member Since 2011

    MaxM Technology

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    "Read Like a Military Operation"

    First off, any book about the island campaigns during WW II should be read. Having said this, I am bit hesitant on one like this, for my tastes. The first several chapters contain a lot of detail about the TO lines of both the US and Japanese forces. For some readers who want to know all the pre-battle unit organizational details this is a must. I prefer to read about the battle itself and the conflicts and struggles of individual Marines during the taking of an objective.
    Still a good story and narration by Tom Weiner.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    X Cincinnati, OH, United States 05-15-11
    X Cincinnati, OH, United States 05-15-11

    Male. Mammal. High school equivalency graduate. I like fruit and I just got a haircut. I would describe myself as somewhere between Christmas and being buried alive.

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    "With the Marines at Tarawa"

    This is why I listen to books. This little book is densely packed with tons of great research. I tried to read this in print and got stuck. But, on audio, I blew through this book quickly. Terrific history of the nearly 6,000 lives lost on both sides over a couple of days in a fight to the death on the most heavily defended atoll in the Pacific, an island battleground that is the size of the parking lot at the pentagon. Impeccably researched. Well written. Boldly narrated, Very entertaining.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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