The War in Fiction, part 3: The Pacific


A war is not one story, but many.

Here are some novels that view the war through many eyes, reflecting the diverse experiences of civilians and soldiers around the world whose lives were drawn into the Second World War.

When Louis Belk is deployed to Alaska to head off and diffuse a barrage of dreaded Japanese balloon bombs, he could not have imagined the strange, haunting freight drifting towards him across an ocean of air.

As the world stumbles blinking into the light of peace, Aldred Leith feels the chill of war’s long shadow as he surveys a devastated Japan, wondering how human warmth and dignity can flare forth from the ashes.

Rival empires clash over their island home, while the Karangalan family huddles in their Manila cellar, seeking sanity in folktales and sayings such as “When the elephants dance, the chickens must be careful.”

Drawn into the brutal crucible of war on Guadalcanal, the men of Charlie Company confront the awe of existence itself, and the terror of its passing. Jones also wrote From Here to Eternity.

American boys are sent into the nightmarish maelstrom of jungle war, subjected to indignities of rank that cruelly reflect their role in society and their fragile place in existence itself.

These linked short stories depict the adventures and misadventures of a diverse cast of ordinary Americans in extraordinary times, doing battle with the enemy and with their preconceptions.

These nine vivid stories highlight the moments of decision and cruel bargains, the pathos, grim reality, and hidden wellsprings of humor and dignity in a war as vast and unfathomable as the Pacific Ocean.

The Henry family finds themselves involved in the entire course of the struggle from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima, and their experiences illustrate the dire effects of the war upon the lives of a whole generation.

One thought on “The War in Fiction, part 3: The Pacific”

  1. I just got a recommendation from a patron that pertains to this topic. The book is Absolute War: Soviet Russian in the Second World War by Chris Bellamy he stated the book was very intellegent from a source that was skilled in the topic, but a very readable book.

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