Devil Dogs: King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines; From Guadalcanal to the Shores of Japan

Pegasus. Sept. 2022. 628p. ISBN 9781639361991. $35. MILITARY HISTORY
Focusing on one small unit, King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines, David (military history, Univ. of Buckingham; Crucible of Hell) has produced a history of the Pacific War that examines all ranks right up to the decision-making brass. It explains what happened, but it also makes readers feel what it was like for the mostly brave—some not so brave— soldiers, who had to fight their way from one Pacific island to the next in an exhausting and bloody three-year (1942–45) campaign to sweep deeply entrenched Japanese troops out of the way, all preparatory efforts to attack Japanese mainlands. Guadalcanal was first. Peleliu was second and the most debilitating battle of all. Then came Okinawa: in 22 hours at Maggot Ridge, K Company lost 50 men and one officer, reducing its effective strength below 60. It had started with 235. David draws on the written words of the veterans, interweaving these primary accounts with official archives, to dramatize the human narrative of how men learned to be brave. The result is an old story told in a new and compelling way.
VERDICT Very well told. A must for enthusiasts of WWII history.
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