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Book review - Refighting the Pacific War

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Book review - Refighting the Pacific War - 7/3/2015 9:54:16 AM   

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Book Review - Jim Bresnahan: Refighting the Pacific War.

As the War in the Pacific game is, for a large part, a study in an infinite number of “what-if’s”, this book should be of interest to members here, the more so as
there is a thorough introduction by Vice Admiral (Ret.) Yoji Koda of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Bresnahan’s method for the analysis of the subject is to break up the main events of the Pacific War in several sub-groups. Each of these are commented on by
different specialists and authors on the subject – like: John Burton, Jon Parshall, Anthony F. Tully, Tim Jackson, William Bartsch, Michael Barnhart, Douglas V.
Smith, H. P. Wilmott, Frank Shirer, Harold Goldberg, Jim Hallas, Keith Allen, Hal Friedman, C. Peter Chen, Douglas V. Smith, Lex McAuley, John Lundstrom, Frank
Snyder, Ronald W. Russell, Peter C. Smith, Barett Tillman, Stephen D. Regan and some others. In my opinion they all make a good job of it except the last-mentioned
– mainly because of his obvious ignorance of what actually took place in the first period on the Philippines. His slanted remarks on MacArthur are also rather

Of course, not all of these persons remark on every subject but the book’s author – he calls himself editor – has made a nice balancing act of it. Interesting is it
that on most of the subjects there are usually quite different opinions.

Before buying the book, I only just received it, I was a little afraid that this would just be a repetition of the firm convictions we often see, with the results
given as a sort of Law of Nature. This is not so, the questions he ask the various contributors are quite detailed and give good opportunity for variations in
their responses. Most of the questions start with a short introduction on the subject, and end with a similarly short summary. In all, it calls for a tight
editing to keep it interesting.

For me, considering my recent book project – Saving MacArthur – there was only one disappointment. The author has shied away from the BIG question. What if the US
leadership had gone all out to reinforce, and hold on to, The Philippines? That said, one author writes in some detail on the confusion around the (lack of)
dispatch of the US bombers on December 8th. I find his conclusion quite sound (as I am of the same opinion – for the same reasons) - that it would have made very
little difference.


< Message edited by Leandros -- 7/3/2015 11:32:01 AM >


River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book on Operation Sea Lion -
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