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  • Midnight in the Pacific

  • Guadalcanal -- The World War II Battle That Turned the Tide of War
  • By: Joseph Wheelan
  • Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
  • Length: 16 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Midnight in the Pacific cover art

Midnight in the Pacific

By: Joseph Wheelan
Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
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Summary

A sweeping narrative history - the first in over 20 years - of America's first major offensive of World War II, the brutal, no-quarter-given campaign to take Japanese-occupied Guadalcanal.

From early August until mid-November of 1942, US marines, sailors, and pilots struggled for dominance against an implacable enemy: Japanese soldiers, inculcated with the bushido tradition of death before dishonor, avatars of bayonet combat - close-up, personal, and gruesome. The glittering prize was Henderson Airfield. Japanese planners knew that if they neutralized the airfield, the battle was won. So did the marines who stubbornly defended it.

The outcome of the long slugfest remained in doubt under the pressure of repeated Japanese air, land, and sea operations. And losses were heavy. At sea, in a half-dozen fiery combats, the US Navy fought the Imperial Japanese Navy to a draw, but at a cost of more than 4,500 sailors. More American sailors died in these battles off Guadalcanal than in all previous US wars, and each side lost 24 warships. On land, more than 1,500 soldiers and marines died, and the air war claimed more than 500 US planes. Japan's losses on the island were equally devastating - starving Japanese soldiers called it "the island of death".

But when the attritional struggle ended, American marines, sailors, and airmen had halted the Japanese juggernaut that for five years had whirled through Asia and the Pacific. Guadalcanal was America's first major ground victory against Japan and, most importantly, the Pacific War's turning point.

Published on the 75th anniversary of the battle and utilizing vivid accounts written by the combatants at Guadalcanal, along with marine corps and army archives and oral histories, Midnight in the Pacific is both a sweeping narrative and a compelling drama of individual marines, soldiers, and sailors caught in the crosshairs of history.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Joseph Wheelan (P)2017 Hachette Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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  • J
  • 05-01-19

Superb

Really well presented and very interesting
Totally enjoyed listening
Recommended for anyone interested in the Pacific War

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The Battle as Told From Both Sides

This book was actually recommended in the foreword of another Audible book. It was highly praised and so I thought I'd give it a read.

Brilliant!

perhaps brilliant is the wrong superlative to use for such a comprehensive treatment of the pivotal, and horrifyingly brutal, battle for Guadal Canal. Unlike many books that almost exclusively focus on the American angle in any given Pacific battle, Midnight in the Pacific provides the reader with a far more comprehensive view. We hear the Japanese side of the battle on all fronts. What makes this book so appealing is the way it covers not only the land battle, but the key naval and air battles that all formed part of this most attritional and grinding campaign for dominance of the hitherto unknown island as far as western audiences are generally concerned.

As someone with a keen interest in the naval perspective, this book delivers in spades with many first hand accounts from both sides of each battle to really give us the entire picture.

Huge amounts of original source material are all skilfully woven together here to detail a timeline of events. Readers will find the accompanying PDF material helpful. As a blind listener, I found at times that the various locations around the island, and where each combatant group was, to be a little confusing and difficult to mentally picture. however, as stated, I am sure the PDF documents will prove useful in this respect.

Narration was generally excellent and the American reader handled the Japanese names that are referenced frequently throughout this book with aplomb.

Only two minor technical errors I noticed. The first was the mention of the American mark 15 torpedo with regard the U.S submarine campaign and it's teething issues. I believe the submarine launched U.S torpedo referenced was the Mark 14, although the Mark 15 likely shared the same problems. During the description of the bombing of the US carrier, Enterprise, the author mentions how a bomb went through seven floors before detonating. On a ship, the lingo is decks, not floors. The author doesn't make the same mistake in subsequent such accounts to be fair.


Midnight in the Pacific is a must read for anyone interested in the Pacific island hopping campaign that formed a critical element of the second World war. If you only read one book about the battle for Guadal Canal, then this must be it.

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Excellent

Excellent, balanced and informed. I highly recommend this for WW2 readers interested in the Pacific Theatre. The narrator did a good job too.

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  • EJ
  • 28-05-20

Took my breath away

If you are interested in The War in the Pacific during WW2 this is the book for you. A superb account of the battle on land, sea and air. Highly Recommended.

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