Slow weekend and “The Pacific”

We had a semi-slow weekend. Saturday consisted of going out to lunch and running errands. Writer Princess, SIL and a couple of their friends came over in the late afternoon to hang by the pool. We made sandwiches for dinner and watched a movie. Sunday wasn’t any more exciting with about a ton of laundry. I also cleaned up our home office, which has been a mess ever since we just dumped a bunch of stuff in there during our “home improvement” project last winter.  We have more company coming next weekend (Mrs. Poolman’s side of the family),  and I needed to make at least enough room for a blow-up mattress.

I did finish a book I had been reading, “The Pacific” by Hugh Ambrose. This is he companion book to the HBO mini-series (which I have not seen). It is also intended to complement Band of Brothers by providing the viewpoint from the Pacific campaign. The author is the son of historian and author of “Band of Brothers,” the late Stephen Ambrose. Like “Band of Brothers,” “The Pacific” is non-fiction.

I have to confess I was somewhat disappointed. As much as I am a military history geek, I still did not feel myself being pulled into the story. The book follows the lives of four Marines and one naval aviator through World War II in the Pacific Theater. It simply was not as compelling as its antecedent, “Band of Brothers.” In BoB, the story followed one group of paratroopers from their initial training to VE Day. While some of the characters came and went, there was one consistent thread of continuity. In “The Pacific,” however, the four characters each had their own separate stories. Occasionally, those story lines would touch another, but for the most part, they ran on different tracks.

I think Ambrose was further hindered by the fact that only one of those five main characters is still alive. On the other hand, his father was able to personally interview his primary characters in “Band of Brothers.” That book was published in 1992 when many WWII veterans were still alive. That gave “Band of Brothers” a closer, more intimate relationship between the reader and the characters. Hugh Ambrose worked mostly off of second sources, such as diaries and letters. The result is the characters are a little more distant and less compelling to the reader.

If you are a World War II history geek, you would enjoy “The Pacific.” If not, I’d give it a “pass.”

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2 responses to “Slow weekend and “The Pacific”

  1. I loved “Band of Brothers” the mini-series, but not sure either of these would be my kind of book.

  2. Unlike Europe, the Pacific was truly America’s war. It is how the US got into the war and it was Americans who did the bulk of the fighting.
    There are so many “small” stories about the Pacific war.

    If you can find it, “Angels at Dawn” is the rescue of 2000+ American and other Allied civilians in a Philippine internment camp (Los Banos) from execution. It involved an airdrop which is considered a textbook example of air assault. The author of “My Faraway Home” was a young girl when her family decided to survive in the jungle rather than surrender to the Japanese.

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