Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Review: Guadalcanal by Richard Frank

Its been a while since I posted a book review...and this book is the primary reason why.

At 618 very dense pages, Richard Frank's Guadalcanal is best described as encyclopedic in nature. The detail contained herein of the unit by unit, ship by ship, hour by hour detail of the entire six month campaign on both sides is epic.

Mr. Frank has said it took over a decade of research to produce this work, and I believe it. Its meticulous research is clearly evident and its sourcework impeccable. If you truly want every detail of the true turning point in the war in the Pacific, this is where to find it.

All that being said, I cannot truly say I "enjoyed" the book, nor do I now feel sufficiently educated on the conflict. I came to the book knowing only the most rudimentary of facts--that there had been a major battle there involving air, land and sea forces and that the Americans had eventually pushed the Japanese off the island.

The book is so detailed and so filled with facts, figures, individuals, tactics, units, etc. that one easily loses the forest for the trees. Perhaps this isn't the case for someone coming to the book who has a deeper understanding of what already happened there and is looking to delve under the surface and find tidbits that they didn't previously know, but to someone like me, despite all its positives, after over 600 pages it leaves me still wondering about the more overarching facts surrounding the Guadalcanal fight. The MAJOR causes, strategies, personalities, results, wins, losses, etc. are lost in a sea (literally) of information.

I would compare this book to a unorganized encyclopedia (not that this work is unorganized, far from it) in that you KNOW the information you are looking for is in there...but can't pull it out of the book because of information overload...

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