Tower of Skulls: A History of the Asia-Pacific War. Vol. I: July 1937–May 1942

Norton. Mar. 2020. 768p. ISBN 9781324002109. pap. $40. HIST
In this first of a projected three-volume set, historian Frank (Guadalcanal) focuses solely on the totality of the Asia-Pacific Region during World War II. To those familiar with Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast, Frank wastes little time jumping right into the military and political action, beginning in 1937. His descriptions of battles and strategy are skillful, putting readers in the front row to historical scenes such as Japan’s invasion of China, the United States’ reluctant Russian alliance and, ultimately, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Frank also discusses nations often forgotten during World War II: China, the Philippines, and Burma. He conveys that World War II was a defining moment for the Asia-Pacific region, and its effects drastically altered the fates of countries who went from colonialism to basic sovereignty in a matter of a decade. Notes and a bibliography are included, along with maps and photographs.
VERDICT Frank succeeds in his goal to alter our view of World War II as mostly a European clash in this informative book meant for all serious world history readers, even those who presume to know all there is to know about World War II.
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