Cover image for Guadalcanal
Frank, Richard B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, 1990.
Physical Description:
xiv, 800 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
D767.98 .F73 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
D767.98 .F73 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
D767.98 .F73 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The battle at Guadalcanal marked the first American offensive of World War II and was fought on land, at sea, and in the air. For six months the Americans and the Japanese clashed in brutal warfare that escalated to unimagined levels of sustained violence. 50 photographs; 30 maps.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Guadalcanal was one of the epic campaigns of World War II and one of the turning points in the Pacific theater. This massive volume--a selection of the History Book Club and a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection-- provides a full-scale study, featuring extensive use of both American and Japanese sources, and giving full credit to the land, sea, and air forces of both sides. An indispensable tome for any self-respecting World War II collection. Notes; to be indexed. ~--Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

On August 7, 1942, the Marines landed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon islands, in the first major American offensive of the Pacific war. Days later, after the Japanese had sunk four cruisers of the escorting U.S. fleet, Admiral Robert Ghormley withdrew his ships from the area, leaving the Marines exposed to ground attack. Thus began one of the most decisive campaigns in history--lasting six months, comprising seven major naval engagements and including exhilarating victory. According to Frank, a former captain in the 101st Airborne, the campaign saw more sustained violence--by sea, land and air--than any other in WW II. Based partly on new translations of official Japanese accounts, recently declassified radio traffic records, diaries and other fresh sources, the book is a definitive critical account of strategic and tactical developments on both sides, examining command decisions and revealing in detail the realities of battle as experienced by marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors. This highly readable rendering of the critical campaign in the Pacific is first-rate military history. History Book Club, BOMC alternate. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In his outstanding first book, a Vietnam veteran and lawyer establishes Guadalcanal's decisive place in the history of World War II. The Guadalcanal campaign was ``triphibious,'' combining air, land, and sea elements. Though the Japanese were surprised by the United States counterattack, forces in the theater were balanced so closely that the outcome was by no means certain. Frank evaluates the adversaries' strengths and weaknesses, stressing in particular the shortcomings of the U.S. Navy and the Japanese Army. He argues convincingly that Guadalcanal was the turning point in the Pacific--not least because it proved that the U.S. armed forces could meet their enemy in adversity and prevail. Recommended for all World War II collections.-- D.E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Frank presents, in minute (sometimes overwhelming) detail, a tactical history of a most important South Pacific campaign, the first US offensive of WW II. He deftly integrates accounts of action on land, sea, and in the air that historians have heretofore treated separately. Frank also includes the Japanese perspective by using material from relevant volumes of the (Japanese) Self-Defense Agency War History series, but he clearly focuses on the American side. In the last chapter, Frank concludes that this compaign, which he considers more of a turning point than Midway because it demonstrated the American will to win, was decided at the operational level. His in-depth accounts of the numerous phases of this bloody conflict successfully capture the courage, frustration, and agony of men locked in mortal combat. However, Frank sometimes loses sight of the overall political and strategic significance of Guadalcanal. Those not already familiar with the history of the war do not learn of the battle's importance until the last chapter and may wonder why it rates such detailed recounting. Even so, within its scope this is a first-rate book that will be enormously interesting to military historians, WW II buffs, officers in the armed forces, and veterans. It generally supersedes the works of Samuel Eliot Morison, Samuel Griffith, and Thomas G. Miller. -C. J. Weeks, Southern College of Technology