Guadalcanal – Richard Frank

I finally finished this book on the air-sea-land campaign to hold Guadalcanal against the Japanese.  Only a few months after the battles of Coral Sea and Midway slowed the Japanese advance, for the first time the US took the offensive by snatching the island away from the worker gangs that were installing an airfield.

Started on a shoestring with a Navy strained with the losses from Pearl Harbor and the needs of a two ocean war, this battle is unique in that the issue was in doubt for some months until the inability of the Japanese to supply their troops led to an abandonment of the island.  In later battles the USN was strong enough the issue was never in doubt.

The book is very well researched and written, giving a view of both sides, the Japanese and the US.  In a lot of ways the Japanese were better than the US during this fight, but the US got better and the Japanese lost their initial edge.  Also, throughout the US was in a better logistic position, and the Japanese neglect of supply led to many of the troops they delivered starving to death on the island.

This book is one of the standard works on the subject, and it deserves its reputation. An excellent book on a complicated operation.



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