Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943

FIRE AND FORTITUDE                         JOHN C. McMANUS

John C. McManus, one of our most highly acclaimed historians of World War II, takes readers from Pearl Harbor—a rude awakening for a military woefully unprepared for war—to Makin, a sliver of coral reef where the Army was tested against the increasingly desperate Japanese. In between were nearly two years of punishing combat as the Army transformed, at times unsteadily, from an undertrained garrison force into an unstoppable juggernaut, and America evolved from an inward-looking nation into a global superpower.

At the pinnacle of this richly told story are the generals: Douglas MacArthur, a military autocrat driven by his dysfunctional lust for fame and power; Robert Eichelberger, perhaps the greatest commander in the theater yet consigned to obscurity by MacArthur's jealousy; "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell, a prickly soldier miscast in a diplomat's role; and Walter Krueger, a German-born officer who came to lead the largest American ground force in the Pacific. Enriching the narrative are the voices of men otherwise lost to history: the uncelebrated Army grunts who endured stifling temperatures, apocalyptic tropical storms, rampant malaria, and other diseases, as well as a fanatical enemy bent on total destruction.

This is an essential, ambitious book, the first of two volumes, a compellingly written and boldly revisionist account of a war that reshaped the American military and the globe and continues to resonate today.


A book that takes you through the beginnings of the war in the Pacific. What the author focuses on is the Army's role and though most people think of the Pacific being fought by the Marines and the Navy the Army had a role in it as well. You are brought through the fall of the Philippines, Bataan, Corregidor, though the 4th Marines would be the first-ever to surrender they inflicted enough damage to the Japanese had to commit another division to the invasion and this would later delay their invasion of Guadalcanal, and New Guinea. Not in the book the 4th Marines commander burned the regimental flag before surrendering so the enemy would not have it.
The author brings up General MacArthur and all of his dealings with other generals and how he would get rid of them if they got better press than he did. He would even deny medals. In my own personal opinion, I felt he should have been court-martialed like other leaders because he disobeyed direct orders and had all planes lined up in a row instead of being apart the day of the attacks. Yet nothing happened to him. Then throughout the Pacific, he would continue to send men into battle without a thought of the men or the men leading them. When the battle was over, he would take credit without ever stepping foot out of Australia.
The author also does a good job of showing was the reader what it was like for the troops in the Pacific. For the people that had never read anything about it, they come to find out that they were fighting with World War one type weapons and ammo. That they made it work knowing that the people in Washington were more worried about Europe than they were about them, though they were sending them into battle as well. The men on Wake island fought with WWI weapons and lasted until the last man. The author leads you up to the Island of Tarawa and though I had only ever read the Marines story. The Army story is just as devastating as the Marines and that Island was a horrible loss of life that most people don’t know about. Overall a good book, like any history book a few parts, dragged but I got what the author was putting across. Some of the other though I read about them before it was good to see them from a different point. A very good book. I received this book from I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at

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