Voices of the Pacific: Untold Stories from the Marine Heroes of World War II
Author: Adam Makos
Narrator: Tom Weiner
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing, April 2013
Audio Length: 10.75 hours
While I generally favor traditional printed books (preferably in hardback), I do occasionally listen to an audiobook. The advantage of this format is the book can be enjoyed while engaged in other activities, such as modeling or driving. In this case I was able to download the audio file from my local library, then link my phone to the car speakers and listen while driving to the MMCL IPMS show in Louisville last month. It beats listening to the radio and makes the drive informative and enjoyable during what would otherwise be wasted time.
This book lends itself well to the audiobook format, being the personal recollections of fifteen Marines who fought in the Pacific War. The men all share their stories in short narratives, and often relate different perspectives of the same battles. The campaigns covered are Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and finally Okinawa. Each of these operations was unique, with its own set of conditions and environments. One thing they had in common was the effect on the Regiments and individual Marines. By the end of each campaign the units had suffered tremendous casualties, and the surviving Marines were in rough shape – exhausted, underfed, diseased, and with their uniforms in tatters. Assaults which were planned for three days often lasted for thirty days or more.
I recognized two of the Marines as authors of their own books – Sterling Mace and Chuck Tatum. Many others relate anecdotes of other names well known to students of the Pacific War – authors Robert Lecke and Eugene Sledge, along with Marines famous for their combat exploits such as John Basilone and Lewis “Chesty” Puller.
Overall this is a fine book which offers insights of the war from the perspective of the individual Marines who fought it. The last two chapters were also interesting, they described the Marines’ discharges from the service and their assimilation back into society. They were also asked what advice they would give to young people today, and to society in general. While this podium is continuously mis-used by celebrities, media figures, politicians, and athletes, the Marine veterans have paid for their citizenship in a very real way and earned the opportunity to voice their opinion. Listening to this audiobook is time well spent, I can recommend it without hesitation.