Facing Fearful Odds: The Siege of Wake Island

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U of Nebraska Press, Jun 1, 2002 - History - 754 pages
Although the siege of Wake Island was not one of World War II's biggest campaigns, it had a profound psychological effect on the course of the nation's struggle. This was the battle that first raised American spirits in the dark weeks following Pearl Harbor. For sixteen suspenseful days, 449 U.S. Marines, assisted by a handful of sailors and soldiers and a few hundred civilian construction workers, withstood repeated attacks by numerically superior Japanese forces. Although Wake finally fell on 23 December 1941, its garrison made the Japanese pay an embarrassingly high price for a tiny coral outpost. Based on interviews with over seventy American and Japanese participants, the riveting, you-are-there narrative pulsates with the crack of rifles, the stutter of machine guns, the roar of cannon, and the concussion of bombs. This is a military history from the bottom up, an unforgettable reading experience told from the perspective of enlisted men and junior officers who served on the front lines.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

Once you finish this book you'll never need to read another book on the battle again, as every angle has been examined and every misconception and myth has been debunked. If you've read Spector's Eagle Against the Sun you'll have sufficient background to tackle this tome. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - historyteacher - LibraryThing

Haven't gotten around to reading this yet; but I will one of these days. Read full review

Contents

AN EPIC THAT SHOULD GIVE EVERY AMERICAN HOPE The Birth of the Wake Island Legend
3
THE MOST ISOLATED PLACE IN THE WORLD Wakes Geography and Climate
13
WAKE ISLAND IS STIRRED TO LIFE The Atolls Early History 15681937
21
WE PLAN TO USE WAKE AS A BASE The US Navy and Wake Island 19351939
37
HEIGHHO HEIGHHO ITS OUT TO WAKE WE GO Congress Decides Wakes Future 19391940
55
PIONEER PARTY The Contractors Arrive January 1941
69
THE WORK IS BEING COMPLETED IN AN EFFICIENT AND WORKMANLIKE MANNER The Pace of Base Construction JanuaryDecember 1941
79
A HARDWORKING BUNCH Contractor Life on Wake JanuaryDecember 1941
91
BOY THIS DONT HAPPEN ON GUAM Wakes Second and Third Air Raids 910 December 1941
285
YOUD HAVE THOUGHT WED WON THE WAR The First Japanese Landing Attempt 11 December 1941
309
GET READY FOR ANOTHER ATTACK The Siege Stretches Out to a Week 1115 December 1941
337
IT WAS WATCH WATCH WATCH DAY AND NIGHT The Siege Drags On 1519 December 1941
367
WE LIVED AND SLEPT ON THE GUNS The Garrisons Hopes Raised and Dashed 2021 December 1941
385
WERE HEADED FOR WAKE The Pacif1c Fleet Sails to Wakes Relief 1521 December 1941
407
WE KNEW WE WAS IN FOR IT The Japanese Close In 2123 December 1941
431
THIS REMINDS ME OF A WILD WEST SHOW Wilkes Stands Firm 23 December 1941
451

TO DENY WAKE TO THE ENEMY The Marines Arrive August 1941
105
WELL BE BACK IN PEARL HARBOR IN A FEW MONTHS The Increasing American Military Commitment SeptemberOctober 1941
121
TIME GOES AWFUL FAST OUT HERE Marine Life on Wake OctoberDecember 1941
137
TIME IS SHORT Wake Nerves for War OctoberNovember 1941
151
I FEEL A BIT LIKE THE FATTED CALF Wake Gets a Fighter Squadron 28 November7 December 1941
167
THE ELITE OF ALL BRANCHES OF THE SERVICE The Wake Island Marines and Their Corps
183
WE WILL BE FIGHTING ANY TIME NOW The State of Wakes Defenses 7 December 1941
203
THIS IS THE REAL THING The First Alarm 8 December 1941
225
MY GOD THOSE ARE JAPANESE Wakes First Air Raid 8 December 1941
241
DID THEY EVER GIVE US A LESSON Wakes Population Mobilizes for War 8 December 1941
261
WELL MAKE A STAND HERE The Fight for the Main Islet 23 December 1941
477
THE ISLAND IS BEING SURRENDERED The Final Hours of Resistance 23 December 1941
507
ONE OF THE GREATEST CASES OF FRIENDSHIP THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN A Battle for Survival 19411945
531
THE CUNNINGHAMDEVEREUX CONTROVERSY
555
ORGANIZATION AND DEFENSE INSTALLATIONS OF THE WAKE ISLAND DETACHMENT FIRST DEFENSE BATTALION 6 DECEMBER 1...
571
THE WAKE INVASION FORCE AND ITS SUPPORTS 811 DECEMBER 1941
575
NOTES
577
BIBLIOGRAPHY
681
Index
709
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Gregory J. W. Urwin is a professor of history at Temple University. His many books include Custer Victorious: The Civil War Battles of General George Armstrong Custer, available in a Bison Books edition.

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