One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa

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Penguin, Aug 7, 2007 - History - 336 pages
3 Reviews
The riveting true account of the first American offensive in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

In November 1943, the men of the 2d Marine Division were instructed to clear out any token Japanese resistance on the Pacific island of Betio and return to their waiting ships. But when the Marines landed, the surviving Japanese poured out of their protective subterranean bunkers—and began one of the most brutal and bloody battles of World War II.

For three straight days, attackers and defenders fought over every square inch of sand in a battle with no defined frontlines, and where there was no possibility of retreat—because there was nowhere to retreat to. It was a clash that would leave both sides stunned and exhausted, and prove both the fighting mettle of the Americans and the fanatical devotion of the Japanese.

Drawn from new sources, such as participants’ letters and diaries and exclusive firsthand interviews with survivors, One Square Mile of Hell is the true story of a battle between two determined foes, neither of whom would ever look at the other in the same way again.

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User Review  - jamespurcell - LibraryThing

Guadalcanal was the battle that stopped the advance of the Japanese in the Pacific but Tarawa was the battle that clearly demonstrated why the U.S would win. Early in the development of amphibious ... Read full review


The Most Haunting Memory
Texas Buddies
Pacific Foes
I Can Take It
Rise of the Japanese Militarists
A Super Place to Grow Up
We Were Very Close
Deteriorating Relations
He Was Like a Wild Man
You Dont Think About the Danger
You Cant Get Emotionally Involved
Just Say Follow Me
The Reserves Come In
A Day of Dreadful Carnage
They Knew It Was Suicide
God Were We Exhausted

Well Stamp Their Front Teeth In
A Slow Mounting Anger
A Tearful Goodbye
A Marine Scars and All
Duty and Artistry
We Were All Gung Ho
A Complete Scary Time
We Are Now FullFledged Marines
I Never Got to Say Goodbye to the United States
Hell Bent for Somewhere
I Looked Death in the Face
You Gave Us Life
A Land of Milk and Honey
She Is a Swell Girl
The Marine Forces
You Cant Do Much About It
I Want Only Fighting Marines Around Me
Such Brave and Lovable Sinners
Im Getting Ants in My Pants
All Too Soon the Halcyon Days Were Over
A Treasure Trove of South Sea Island Beauty
To Land Where We Did
Dye the Sands with Their Blood
We Were Not Overly Worried
Broken Hearts and Broken Dates
Love of Country Love of the Corps
We Sweated Without Pause
Cruised Our Way Across the Pacific
Dont Be a Boy Scout
Maybe Well Walk Ashore
Until Hell Wouldnt Have It
Please Leave Enough Japs
We Are Entering Enemy Waters
Would You Plant a Rose for Me?
Let Us Make Up Our Minds to Die
Padre I Want You to Pray for Me
Lambs Being Fattened for the Slaughter
Man Your Tractors
Land the Landing Force
Let Us Exhibit Our Samurai Spirit
How Could Anybody Live Through That?
Thats What Hell Must Be Like
The Navy Clears the Way
Toward Betio
The God of Death Has Come
Hawkins Moves In
Annihilation Beach
A Kaleidoscope of Destruction
We Couldnt See Them
Stark and Heroic Stories
My God What the Hell Am I Doing Here?
His Own Private War
Im Losing My Beachhead
All Hell Broke Loose
Oh God Im Scared
A Shooting Gallery with Human Targets
A Nightmarish Dream
I Wanted to Cry
A Long Hard Job
Take Him Out with the Bayonet
A Photographers Paradisein Hell
We Were Just Trying to Stay Alive
I Never Saw Such a Man
Then I Came to My Senses
Why Do You Think They Can Hit You?
The Second Morning
Lots of Blood and Sweat but No Tears
We Were Seventy Versions of John Wayne
Boys I Sure Hate to Leave You
Do They Have a Tunnel to Tokyo?
It Wasnt Dramatic with Us
You Just Quit Worrying
Not like the Movies Eh?
You Were Dead to the World
Combat EfficiencyWe Are Winning
Hoping Against Hope
Tarawa Was a Stinking Golgotha
The Day the Japs Fell Apart
Do You Want to Take Pictures of the Attack?
Here Come the Japs
End of the Third Day
It Was Just Like Hell
By God We Held
Is It Over?
The Stench of Death Hung over Betio
Tarawa Recruitin Office
The Flowers of the Pacific
Heres Charlie Montague
Let Them Rest on Their SunScoured Atoll
We Looked Like a Bunch of Zombies
The Most Completely Defended Island I Have Ever Seen
Each Man Was a Hero
Japs Were Lying All Around Me
Peace on Earth
No One Seemed to Care
God Was a Little Stronger
No News Is Good News
Well Now We Know
Little Gene Seng Sleeps a Heros Sleep
A Richer Dust
So Chin Up March
Lots More of Us That Will Never Let Them Down
There Is No Cheap Shortcut to Win Wars
Handsome Heroes and Easy Victory
On Tarawa There Was a More Realistic Approach to the War
This Is It
There Had to Be a Tarawa
Still Real Heroes Alive
Greater Love Than This
We All Became Older Than Our Years
It Must Be on the Map My Son
Chapter 1Wheres Pearl Harbor?
Chapter 2Tokyo We Are Coming
Chapter 3Have You Made Out Your Will?
Chapter 4A Million Men Cannot Take Tarawa
Chapter 5Commence Firingthe War Is On
Chapter 6We Have Nothing Left to Land
Chapter 7I Was Unprepared for This
Chapter 8A Fight in a Ring Between Two Boxers
Chapter 9Nothing Was LeftNo Trees No Buildings
Chapter 10A Requiem Fitting for Heroes So Proud
Chapter 11You Say Its Not on the Map My Son?
The National Archives
The Marine Historical Center
The Marine Corps Research Center Quantico Virginia
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About the author (2007)

John Wukovits is a military expert and an authority on U.S. history in the Pacific Theater of World War II. He is the author of Pacific Alamo: The Battle for Wake Island, as well as several military biographies and many articles for such publications as WWII History, Naval History, World War II, The Journal of Military History, The Naval War College Review, and Air Power History.

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