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America’s first year in World War II, chronicled in this “page-turner” by the Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Forrest Gump and The Generals (Publishers Weekly).   On December 7, 1941, an unexpected attack on American territory pulled an unprepared country into a terrifying new brand of warfare. To the generation of Americans who lived through it, the Second World War wa America’s first year in World War II, chronicled in this “page-turner” by the Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Forrest Gump and The Generals (Publishers Weekly).   On December 7, 1941, an unexpected attack on American territory pulled an unprepared country into a terrifying new brand of warfare. To the generation of Americans who lived through it, the Second World War was the defining event of the twentieth century, and the defining moments of that war were played out in the year 1942.   This account covers the Allies’ relentless defeats as the Axis overran most of Europe, North Africa, and the Far East. But by midyear the tide began to turn. The United States finally went on the offensive in the Pacific. In the West, the British defeated Rommel’s panzer divisions at El Alamein while the US Army began to push the Germans out of North Africa. By the year’s end, the smell of victory was in the air.   1942, told with Winston Groom’s accomplished storyteller’s eye, allows us into the admirals’ strategy rooms, onto the battlefronts, and into the heart of a nation at war.   “When not drawing in readers with the narrative, Groom is impressing them with his masterful analyses.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   “Groom has done an artful job of blending the many stories of 1942.” —The Anniston Star


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America’s first year in World War II, chronicled in this “page-turner” by the Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Forrest Gump and The Generals (Publishers Weekly).   On December 7, 1941, an unexpected attack on American territory pulled an unprepared country into a terrifying new brand of warfare. To the generation of Americans who lived through it, the Second World War wa America’s first year in World War II, chronicled in this “page-turner” by the Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Forrest Gump and The Generals (Publishers Weekly).   On December 7, 1941, an unexpected attack on American territory pulled an unprepared country into a terrifying new brand of warfare. To the generation of Americans who lived through it, the Second World War was the defining event of the twentieth century, and the defining moments of that war were played out in the year 1942.   This account covers the Allies’ relentless defeats as the Axis overran most of Europe, North Africa, and the Far East. But by midyear the tide began to turn. The United States finally went on the offensive in the Pacific. In the West, the British defeated Rommel’s panzer divisions at El Alamein while the US Army began to push the Germans out of North Africa. By the year’s end, the smell of victory was in the air.   1942, told with Winston Groom’s accomplished storyteller’s eye, allows us into the admirals’ strategy rooms, onto the battlefronts, and into the heart of a nation at war.   “When not drawing in readers with the narrative, Groom is impressing them with his masterful analyses.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   “Groom has done an artful job of blending the many stories of 1942.” —The Anniston Star

30 review for 1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    This is a very informative book and I would recommend it to any reader of WWII history......unless you are a serious student of WWII. If so, you will find nothing new here but even with that said, the author includes eye-witness reports and some little known trivia that will hold your attention. The majority of the book is set in the Pacific theater since the US was losing the war to the Japanese during this early period. The author concentrates much of the narrative on the Battle of Guadalcanal This is a very informative book and I would recommend it to any reader of WWII history......unless you are a serious student of WWII. If so, you will find nothing new here but even with that said, the author includes eye-witness reports and some little known trivia that will hold your attention. The majority of the book is set in the Pacific theater since the US was losing the war to the Japanese during this early period. The author concentrates much of the narrative on the Battle of Guadalcanal which was fierce and appeared never-ending. Using hindsight, we see how Japan could have not only captured Gaudalcanal but all the stepping-stone island in the Pacific and won the Pacific war. One of the major problems for the Japanese of which they were unaware was the Americans' Magic project which decoded all Japanese transmissions. One of the major problems for the Americans was the type of fighting done by the Japanese. It was a new kind of warfare in which the enemy gladly gave their life for their Emperor and to whom the word "surrender" was unknown. The book revisits the Bataan Death March and the POW camps that were hell on earth. (An interesting aside was the fact that General Jonathan Wainwright who surrendered the Philippines, survived the Death March and the POW camps thought, after his rescue he would be drummed out of the service. Instead he won the well-earned Congressional Medal of Honor.) Interesting, well researched, and often poignant book......I recommend it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Sorkin

    Very readable. Groom really has the creative nonfiction genre down. It's well documented (and I've flagged 3 books to read) but flows like a novel. The focus is between Pearl Harbor and early 1943. But Groom provides good prologue and epilogue to keep the context. I've always focused on the Germans in WWII. The Japanese were enemies but until this book I did not realize what kind of enemy. Growing up in the 60 s there was already this sense that the Japanese were just polite efficient and maybe Very readable. Groom really has the creative nonfiction genre down. It's well documented (and I've flagged 3 books to read) but flows like a novel. The focus is between Pearl Harbor and early 1943. But Groom provides good prologue and epilogue to keep the context. I've always focused on the Germans in WWII. The Japanese were enemies but until this book I did not realize what kind of enemy. Growing up in the 60 s there was already this sense that the Japanese were just polite efficient and maybe a bit nerdy. But by then they were not the Enemy. Now the Germans or at least the East Fermans still technically were. And there was the whole holocaust that made it more personal. And the residual guilt about the Bomb. This book illustrated what we fought for and the bitter costs on both sides. It modified my view of history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Winston Groom (author of "Forest Gump") provides a narrative history of the year 1942, after a brief outline of the events leading up to WWII. He takes you through the lows (Pearl Harbor, Corregidor, Bataan) and through the highs (Battle of Midway), providing enough details to let you understand the key events in that extraordinary year. The book is easy reading - he provides enough details of key events and battles to keep you interested without getting bogged down in any one event. He accompli Winston Groom (author of "Forest Gump") provides a narrative history of the year 1942, after a brief outline of the events leading up to WWII. He takes you through the lows (Pearl Harbor, Corregidor, Bataan) and through the highs (Battle of Midway), providing enough details to let you understand the key events in that extraordinary year. The book is easy reading - he provides enough details of key events and battles to keep you interested without getting bogged down in any one event. He accomplished his ultimate purpose, to convince the reader that 1942 was both a dire year for the US and the Allies, as well as a crucial turning point in WWII. Military history fans should find this book interesting as a survey of the great strategic events of 1942. There are lots of anecdotes and colorful stories of behind the scenes decisions and events. But the breadth of events in 1942 are just too much to address in any depth in a single narrative. The reader may find that the author has whet their appretite to read more deeply about some of the events (the Battles of Midway, Guadalcanal, and Bataan for example). Entertaining read, but nothing extraordinary.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Noah Goats

    Winston Groom is probably most famous as the author of Forrest Gump, but I’ve become a fan of his works of popular history. So far I’ve read Vicksburg, Shiloh, The Generals, The Aviators, and now 1942. I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. 1942 was a rough year for the United States. Pearl Harbor, at the end of ‘41, was followed by a hard defeats on Wake Island, The Java Sea, and the Philippines to start 1942. The US, and the allies in general, were getting beat up. But these defeats were follow Winston Groom is probably most famous as the author of Forrest Gump, but I’ve become a fan of his works of popular history. So far I’ve read Vicksburg, Shiloh, The Generals, The Aviators, and now 1942. I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. 1942 was a rough year for the United States. Pearl Harbor, at the end of ‘41, was followed by a hard defeats on Wake Island, The Java Sea, and the Philippines to start 1942. The US, and the allies in general, were getting beat up. But these defeats were followed by Midway and the brutal but ultimately victorious fighting at Guadalcanal. By the end of the year the tide had already turned on the Axis powers, even though this wasn’t apparent at the time. Groom knows and loves his history, and he’s a good storyteller with an eye for interesting details and characters. His skills are put to good use here, and 1942 is a very readable book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    There’s a perspective in this book that other history books about WWII I’ve read don’t have. By the time I finished Rick Atkinson’s three volume history, the war was over and the Allies’ ability to stop their enemies seemed obvious. But you don’t get that feeling from 1942 (though Groom looks ahead optimistically after 1942 was over). At the beginning, reeling from Pearl Harbor, the US didn’t look particularly powerful. The Germans and the Japanese had been planning war for a long time. They had There’s a perspective in this book that other history books about WWII I’ve read don’t have. By the time I finished Rick Atkinson’s three volume history, the war was over and the Allies’ ability to stop their enemies seemed obvious. But you don’t get that feeling from 1942 (though Groom looks ahead optimistically after 1942 was over). At the beginning, reeling from Pearl Harbor, the US didn’t look particularly powerful. The Germans and the Japanese had been planning war for a long time. They had the personnel, the equipment and the plans. The Americans and the British didn’t. Nor did the Russians. Stalin stayed in bed when the Germans attacked, in shock and probably fear. By 1942 Hitler already had a great deal of Europe subdued and countries were still falling. Britain had waited too long to prepare. They won the air war over the Channel at huge cost in lives, planes and bomb damage and at least held off the Germans until they moved on (presumably temporarily) to the Russians. The US was not completely unprepared. Building the Navy in anticipation of trouble in the Pacific had begun and the President was trying to prepare the country for what he saw as inevitable, but that was hard because citizens were unwilling to involve themselves in another war and thought the US was isolated enough to pull off isolationism. Most didn’t care much about Britain and the Irish weren’t really on board—and Irish Americans actively wanted Britain destroyed. The wealth and industrial power of the US was strong enough to meet the challenge, as even far-seeing German and Japanese leaders recognized, but in 1942 that was potential only. It must have looked to Americans, as 1942 unfolded, like the Germans and the Japanese would win. The losses were tremendous, humiliating, and not easily overcome. Pearl Harbor (that generation’s 9/11) had been shocking, and it was followed by the fall of the Philippines, the major US stronghold in Asia. And slowly the US learned that Japan was an extraordinary enemy, one that literally expected troops to fight to the death and assumed prisoners of war, their own and those of their enemies, were traitors. Japan had not signed the Geneva Convention and treated prisoners abominably. The Bataan Death March occurred in 1942 and those who survived spent the rest of the war in Japanese prison camps where they were starved and egregiously mistreated. One problem I saw with the book was the emphasis on the war in the Pacific. It wasn’t just that more of the book focused on the Pacific and not Europe (and North Africa where most of the 1942 Western Front action took place) but that the chapters on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Midway, Guadalcanal, the war at sea, were more colorful, more emotionally wrenching while the chapters on North Africa seemed a more dispassionate retelling of that history. That More of the book was devoted to the Pacific was reflective of what happened in 1942; Americans fighting at sea in the Pacific and on remote islands WAS the war for most of 1942. The passion in the retelling of the Pacific stories may be related to several things: the isolated tropical environments in which soldiers fought like the jungle of Guadalcanal or the devastating conditions when hundreds or thousands of men died on sinking ships. There were some comparable details in North Africa, like men roasted to death in inferior American tanks, but the overall focus was not so emotional. Finally, this is primarily an American book. A Russian or a Brit, for example, would focus on different events and have a different emotional focus.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I've been on a WWII binge reading-wise lately and eagerly awaited this title to show on Kindle Unlimited - I anticipated a longer wait, so when I saw it, I immediately snapped it up and I am glad I did. It is a frank, occasionally shocking dissertation on the events that led up to America's involvement and entry into WWII, beginning naturally with the attack on Pearl Harbor, then evolves into a battle-by-battle, intent-by-intent breakdown of how 1942 transpired both in the Pacific and in Europe, I've been on a WWII binge reading-wise lately and eagerly awaited this title to show on Kindle Unlimited - I anticipated a longer wait, so when I saw it, I immediately snapped it up and I am glad I did. It is a frank, occasionally shocking dissertation on the events that led up to America's involvement and entry into WWII, beginning naturally with the attack on Pearl Harbor, then evolves into a battle-by-battle, intent-by-intent breakdown of how 1942 transpired both in the Pacific and in Europe, though the majority touches on the Pacific theater. There are flashes of humor to be found in Groom's narrative, along with some highly personal touches that left me profoundly moved. Groom does not spare the reader in his description - while not explicit, anyone reading this will be readily able to picture the conditions found on numerous Pacific islands, in the POW camps established by the Japanese Imperial Army. His section on the Bataan Death March was disturbing, if only for the images it evoked. Nevertheless, the book is engrossing, Groom's style is largely conversational, and there are photos included for reference. Be prepared for numerous notations - Groom cites any number of sources throughout the book, many of which are either primary or scholarly. He also quotes other contemporary historians, either to share their opinions or to dispute their stances. All in all, while it's clear that the author did exhaustive research into the subject, the book itself is not dry or dull at all - Groom keeps the narrative moving right along. All in all, I highly recommend this book for those who want a more detailed exposition on America's first year involved in WWII, those who made it happen, what it cost America, and the momentum that carried the Allies into the turning points of the war.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James

    This is an excellent book. I expected no less from Winston Groom and I was not disappointed. I cannot recall a book which packs so much into so little. One could read this one very readable book and walk away with a fairly good understanding of World War II. This was certainly one of the most fateful years in American history and Groom gets the most out of it. Highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    Vary good history of a pivotal year in world history. Well researched, footnoted, and balanced with anecdotal insight that make a good history book read like fiction.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Numidica

    I was surprised to find this book from the author of Forrest Gump, and the history of 1942 benefits from his storytelling skills. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in WW2.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Enjoyable book, a real page turner. I think I liked a Storm in Flanders better. A bleak look at the year 1942. Even with all the books I have read on Guadalcanal, it's easy to forget sometimes how terrible it was for the marines during that campaign. This book is a great reminder of their hardships.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maduck831

    helps to have a familiarity with the war, book acts more as a fly over of events, including various opinions from the author that one could question... “Those born in the first part of the century who came of age in the 1930s and ’40s routinely began to describe almost every event and memory of their lives as having occurred “before the war,” “during the war,” or “after the war.”” “Firsters vanished overnight. To show their solidarity, isolationist congressmen and senators walked about the Capitol helps to have a familiarity with the war, book acts more as a fly over of events, including various opinions from the author that one could question... “Those born in the first part of the century who came of age in the 1930s and ’40s routinely began to describe almost every event and memory of their lives as having occurred “before the war,” “during the war,” or “after the war.”” “Firsters vanished overnight. To show their solidarity, isolationist congressmen and senators walked about the Capitol corridors arm in arm with their interventionist counterparts, while the people of the city, and elsewhere, went around in a kind of daze, the conflagration enveloping the entire globe now reeling in their minds. “Military historians have lauded the Bataan withdrawal as one of the classic retrograde maneuvers in the history of warfare. Even the Japanese general staff concluded that MacArthur’s successful “sideslip” into Bataan was a fine strategic move, probably” “On one trip the U.S.S. Spearfish returned from Corregidor with a dozen American army nurses whom they’d gotten safely off the Rock. (This feat later became an inspiration for the 1959 Cary Grant movie Operation Petticoat.)” “This was the dousing of shore lights, which would silhouette the merchant ships for the German submarines. Municipal and commercial interests from Atlantic City to Miami refused to turn off their glowing neon signs and waterfront lights on grounds that it would hurt their tourist business.' ““Each dog was to be trained to kill Japanese only. The greyhounds were to lead the attack because of their speed, followed by the wolfhounds, who would aid in the confusion, after which the Great Dane packs were sent out as the main killers. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers were to be trained for beach landings.” Bloodhounds and other tracking dogs would be used for mopping-up operations.” ““The highest ranking man in Army uniform had made his decision. It was neither the time nor the place for me to argue.”” ““You win, you lose, live or die, and the difference is just an eyelash.”” “Even during World War I, in the grisly trenches of the Western Front, soldiers had to serve only forty-eight hours at a time before being rotated out to the rear, the lesson having been learned early on that any longer would lead to crack-ups. On Guadalcanal this was simply not possible. For one thing, there was no rear.” “This would have thwarted any advantage gained by the British naval blockade of German ports and released millions of German soldiers and their tanks and planes to fight against the Allies in North Africa and elsewhere. Likewise, the Japanese dragon’s tongue was lapping toward Australia and India.”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl Collmer

    This book is outstanding for what it is: a popular history of World War II in the pivotal year 1942. It’s chock full of details that are appropriately footnoted and that I have not read elsewhere. For example, I did not know that, because of the massive bombing of merchant shipping in the Atlantic, the body parts of merchant sailors were washing ashore on our east coast beaches. That sort of detail, though grisly, makes the war so much more real. Groom provides much of the why behind the what of This book is outstanding for what it is: a popular history of World War II in the pivotal year 1942. It’s chock full of details that are appropriately footnoted and that I have not read elsewhere. For example, I did not know that, because of the massive bombing of merchant shipping in the Atlantic, the body parts of merchant sailors were washing ashore on our east coast beaches. That sort of detail, though grisly, makes the war so much more real. Groom provides much of the why behind the what of all the fateful military events of 1942. For a genuine scholar, this would be History 101, but for the general reader, it is engaging, dramatic and instructive. With its readability, it can accomplish a much needed task: the historical education of the average American. I give it five stars for doing what the rare history teacher can do… make history a thrilling account that one can hardly stand to put down. (I had to get ready for church just as Groom was unfolding the events of the battle of Midway. I strangely found myself thinking about airplanes and ships all through worship, and I skipped coffee and donuts to get back home and keep reading.) Groom’s talent as a storyteller reminds me of Andy Griffith holding school boys spellbound with his riveting rendition of Paul Revere’s ride. Historians with dramatic flair and reliable research are national treasures. Bravo, Groom!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ritsumei

    It's what we should have learned in school. They told us in school that Hitler started the war, and so he did. But Germany was only one of the Axis powers, and somehow we never got around to the rest. They didn't tell us any of most of what's in this book: gripping descriptions of Pearl Harbor, and the fallout from it. They didn't tell us anything about the whole Pacific Theater - which is where my Grandfather served. It's in the book. They didn't tell us much about the Japanese Internment camps, It's what we should have learned in school. They told us in school that Hitler started the war, and so he did. But Germany was only one of the Axis powers, and somehow we never got around to the rest. They didn't tell us any of most of what's in this book: gripping descriptions of Pearl Harbor, and the fallout from it. They didn't tell us anything about the whole Pacific Theater - which is where my Grandfather served. It's in the book. They didn't tell us much about the Japanese Internment camps, other than that they existed. 1942 explains why they existed, including the fact that the camps were optional: Japanese immigrants could also choose to move away from the coasts; many took that option. I had no idea, prior to reading 1942, just how little I actually knew about WWII. Now, thanks to Groom, I understand why Grandpa never, ever spoke of the war. I've read a sampling of the trials they faced, discovered that Japanese POW camps were death camps cut from the same cloth as the Nazi camps, I've had a window into their experiences, even read some of the poetry they wrote, and I've learned a little about the heroism they displayed, and I am a better person for it. Highly recommended. It doesn't cover the whole war, but what it does cover (primarily Pacific Theater, and a little about Africa) is well done.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Barber

    This book details the events of the year 1942 and our first year in WWII. The book begins with a survey of Japan and their road to imperialism that led to Pearl Harbor. The author also documents the United States between the wars with the isolationist movement and the effort to keep us out of a new world war. These ideas were a major factor in the disaster at Pearl Harbor. With the attack at Pearl Harbor, we were at war like it or not. The book then describes our efforts to catch up and get on a This book details the events of the year 1942 and our first year in WWII. The book begins with a survey of Japan and their road to imperialism that led to Pearl Harbor. The author also documents the United States between the wars with the isolationist movement and the effort to keep us out of a new world war. These ideas were a major factor in the disaster at Pearl Harbor. With the attack at Pearl Harbor, we were at war like it or not. The book then describes our efforts to catch up and get on a war footing. Diplomacy is followed that leads to decisions such as defeating Germany first and the Japan. As most of our military efforts took place in the Pacific, most of the book deals with our efforts there. The loss of the Philippines, the Bataan Death March and all the other Japanese victories are detailed. As most of the early action in the Pacific was naval, we cover action in the Java sea, Coral Sea and Midway. Eventually, the US begins to turn the tide and push back. Guadalcanal and the battle for the Solomons are spotlighted. The book is a good survey of the year and the challenges we faced and how we handled them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lloyd

    This work of nonfiction tells the story of America’s first full year of direct involvement in World War II. Essentially that is the year 1942 but the book does start with December 1941 with the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. This is a story of set-backs for the United States as Japan pretty much had their way in the Pacific until the Battle of Midway in June of 1942. And, of course the USA didn’t engage much with the European theater until the invasion of North Africa in November o This work of nonfiction tells the story of America’s first full year of direct involvement in World War II. Essentially that is the year 1942 but the book does start with December 1941 with the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. This is a story of set-backs for the United States as Japan pretty much had their way in the Pacific until the Battle of Midway in June of 1942. And, of course the USA didn’t engage much with the European theater until the invasion of North Africa in November of 1942. However, U-boat attacks in the Atlantic certainly hurt America shortly after war was declared. It is very readable book as the author Winston Groom is equally well known for his works of fiction. So, he knows how to tell a story. The author provides much detail and explanations for the defeats suffered by Allied forces. Still, you’ll certainly find many descriptions of self-sacrifice and bravery by U.S. and British forces in this book and those stories should be better known. But, our most read histories about World War II concentrate on successes and not of set-backs and out and out defeats as we experienced during 1942.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike Hanford

    First, I should say that I am a former history teacher, with a personal focus on Military History. For someone looking for a broad survey of this important year, and who does not bring much history scholarship to engaging this book; it provides a general understanding of the events and major leaders. That said, there is an all-to-familiar focus on major battles, ships sunk, and ( for a military history fan) the shooting, killing, and stabbing bits. What is missing is the viewpoint of the man-in-the First, I should say that I am a former history teacher, with a personal focus on Military History. For someone looking for a broad survey of this important year, and who does not bring much history scholarship to engaging this book; it provides a general understanding of the events and major leaders. That said, there is an all-to-familiar focus on major battles, ships sunk, and ( for a military history fan) the shooting, killing, and stabbing bits. What is missing is the viewpoint of the man-in-the-street, whether in Los Angeles, London, or Singapore. The Japanese tsunami in the Pacific was an unimaginable shock to the white, colonial powers - including the US. The - then - popular image (entirely wrong) of the Japanese military was short little guys with thick glasses and buck teeth! Why, all America had to do was put John Wayne in a Marine uniform, and they would surrender at once! The personal, emotional, and individual “climate” is mostly absent — unfortunately. Also, some of the impact conclusions from various engagements have been generalized and homogenized. The general reader should not think these are fully, and entirely correct.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    Originally published in 2004. Winston Groom is best known as the author of Forrest Gump . He is also the author of 14 different non-fiction books and shows a real talent for writing narrative history. This book focuses on the year that Groom considers to be the crisis year for the Allies and America in particular in World War II - 1942. He starts his story just before World War II with the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and ends it in February of 1943 with the ending of the fightin Originally published in 2004. Winston Groom is best known as the author of Forrest Gump . He is also the author of 14 different non-fiction books and shows a real talent for writing narrative history. This book focuses on the year that Groom considers to be the crisis year for the Allies and America in particular in World War II - 1942. He starts his story just before World War II with the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and ends it in February of 1943 with the ending of the fighting on Guadalcanal. This was a bad time, especially early in 1942 when Japan conquered one territory after another and American forces were seemingly caught off guard or under-prepared everywhere. Groom focuses primarily on the Pacific Theater in this book (75 % or more), although he does offer a decent look at the North African campaign. His look at the fall of the Philippines and the Bataan Death March was very compelling. Groom has no problem pointing out... Read more at: https://dwdsreviews.blogspot.com/2020...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cary Giese

    The year of my Birth was 1942; on June 1, 3 days before the battle of Midway the initial US victory after the Pearl Harbor Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. The year was either the beginning of the end of the war with the German-Japanese Axis, or at least the end of the beginning! Quotes of Roosevelt and Churchill! Two things stood out. The fight put up by the under staffed, under supplied, Americans and the resolve of the US population back home to sacrifice and manufacture munitions, ships, The year of my Birth was 1942; on June 1, 3 days before the battle of Midway the initial US victory after the Pearl Harbor Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. The year was either the beginning of the end of the war with the German-Japanese Axis, or at least the end of the beginning! Quotes of Roosevelt and Churchill! Two things stood out. The fight put up by the under staffed, under supplied, Americans and the resolve of the US population back home to sacrifice and manufacture munitions, ships, and airplanes proved the resolve of that populous. That generation from then on referred to the country; " before the war," "during the war," and "after the war!" Since then they have been referred to as , "the greatest generation!" My dad was part of it in the army, my mother managed the Local bus station, a woman given a mans job, a man who went to war!! This is the best book about the Japanese war for Asia I've read! I recommend it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Clifford Schulze

    This book covers the period from Pearl Harbor through the end of 1942. The author covers the events leading up to the outbreak of war and closed with a short summary of the outcome. Much of the book concerns the Pacific theater including the initial attack, the battle of Midway, and Guadalcanal. The European theater was briefly touched on but most of the events involving the US occurred late in the year. The author does a good job of keeping the story interesting by interspersing the history with This book covers the period from Pearl Harbor through the end of 1942. The author covers the events leading up to the outbreak of war and closed with a short summary of the outcome. Much of the book concerns the Pacific theater including the initial attack, the battle of Midway, and Guadalcanal. The European theater was briefly touched on but most of the events involving the US occurred late in the year. The author does a good job of keeping the story interesting by interspersing the history with the personal experiences of the individuals involved. For those who criticize certain actions by the US during the war, such as the internment of Japanese-Americans and the dropping of the atomic bomb, the author clearly spells out the reasons for these actions and why they were necessary. I enjoyed the book and will be keeping my eyes out for additional work by this author.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jim Angel

    Excellent overview This was a wonderful overview of the importance and immensity of 1942 as a turning point in World War II. The author has done a masterful job and including enough details without getting bogged down in minutiae. There were some places I wish he could have expanded more but in light of the fact that it is an overview, I understand why he didn't. The tragedies of war in the islands in the Pacific were heart- wrenching and it does make one appreciate the sacrifices that so many in Excellent overview This was a wonderful overview of the importance and immensity of 1942 as a turning point in World War II. The author has done a masterful job and including enough details without getting bogged down in minutiae. There were some places I wish he could have expanded more but in light of the fact that it is an overview, I understand why he didn't. The tragedies of war in the islands in the Pacific were heart- wrenching and it does make one appreciate the sacrifices that so many individuals gave. I did appreciate the summation in the last chapter of the book where he tied up a number of loose ends regarding various individuals that were mentioned in the book. Overall, well worth the read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lois Bryant

    I knew the names: Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Guadalcanal, and the Philippines, but this gives you a glimpse into the environment, the men, the logistics, and the politics of the time. Japan was kicking our butt those first few months, really kicking our butt, beginning with Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, we were waging war in the Pacific with most of the Pacific fleet and air force destroyed. Endless examples of brutal conditions and the brutality of the Japanese. Equally endless examples of I knew the names: Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Guadalcanal, and the Philippines, but this gives you a glimpse into the environment, the men, the logistics, and the politics of the time. Japan was kicking our butt those first few months, really kicking our butt, beginning with Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, we were waging war in the Pacific with most of the Pacific fleet and air force destroyed. Endless examples of brutal conditions and the brutality of the Japanese. Equally endless examples of heroics and perseverance that ultimately turned the tide. It’s not a military history/battle book but an engaging read that adds color to the tales many have heard from their parents or grandparents.

  22. 4 out of 5

    7$MartyQ

    Very Factual Read If you are a student of WWII, this book gives you all the facts about the war in the Pacific, but precious little about the war in Europe. I actually learned quite a bit more than before I read the book, and I am left wondering about the U.S., a country that in some cases denied justice to the Japs treated our soldiers and sailors with such cruelty. Apparently the U.S.'s far of the Russians was stronger than their desire for punishment for war crimes. Horowitz approved of ALL th Very Factual Read If you are a student of WWII, this book gives you all the facts about the war in the Pacific, but precious little about the war in Europe. I actually learned quite a bit more than before I read the book, and I am left wondering about the U.S., a country that in some cases denied justice to the Japs treated our soldiers and sailors with such cruelty. Apparently the U.S.'s far of the Russians was stronger than their desire for punishment for war crimes. Horowitz approved of ALL the things his army did to American POW's and should have been tried for war crimes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Military history comprises most of the non-fiction that I read. But the tenet of critical thinking requires that I remember that the victors write the history. Mr. Groom does not write falsehoods. However, his perspective, memories, and friendships with like-minded contemporaries make this historical treatise - His View. And I accept that each of us is subject to this limitation in recounting history. I recommend that one keeps this in mind as you read this particular history book. At the time of Military history comprises most of the non-fiction that I read. But the tenet of critical thinking requires that I remember that the victors write the history. Mr. Groom does not write falsehoods. However, his perspective, memories, and friendships with like-minded contemporaries make this historical treatise - His View. And I accept that each of us is subject to this limitation in recounting history. I recommend that one keeps this in mind as you read this particular history book. At the time of publication, the author of 1942 was a 61 year old southerner born into privilege.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jim D

    An absolutely superb history of the dark times that were 1942. It is easy to read and hard to put down as it goes into detail about the military setbacks all over the globe. I learned a great deal about the campaigns, including some i was not that familiar with such as the south Pacific, and how crucial battles or events changed the tide of war. Gradually the author showed how the year progressed from one of despair to one of hope. It will be a perfect addition to anyone interested in military h An absolutely superb history of the dark times that were 1942. It is easy to read and hard to put down as it goes into detail about the military setbacks all over the globe. I learned a great deal about the campaigns, including some i was not that familiar with such as the south Pacific, and how crucial battles or events changed the tide of war. Gradually the author showed how the year progressed from one of despair to one of hope. It will be a perfect addition to anyone interested in military history from a human perspective. We owe so much to the men and women who stood their ground in such a bleak time. Top notch.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This is the second Winston Groom book I've read and I appreciate how dense and thorough his material is - just as I think I've wrapped my head around the intricacies of the World War 2, his research and writing pushes me to look into new information and how it connects with my own understanding of this era. Because there is so much detail, I move through his books very slowly, carefully marking pages to share with my students and re-reading passages to make sure I truly understand their content. This is the second Winston Groom book I've read and I appreciate how dense and thorough his material is - just as I think I've wrapped my head around the intricacies of the World War 2, his research and writing pushes me to look into new information and how it connects with my own understanding of this era. Because there is so much detail, I move through his books very slowly, carefully marking pages to share with my students and re-reading passages to make sure I truly understand their content. Just like his book 'The Allies,' 1942 adds another fascinating layer to the people and events directly contributing to an Allied victory.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bob In

    Winston Groom makes palpable the bleak WWII prospects in the beginning of 1942 as seen by the United States and steps through the difficulties that led to eventual progress for the Allies by the end of the year. Groom's casual literary prose surprised me and made him quite readable when the direness of the situation did not compel me skip certain details. He used many common expressions rather than more precise and elevated phrases to express his assessments. This tendency increased as he unfolde Winston Groom makes palpable the bleak WWII prospects in the beginning of 1942 as seen by the United States and steps through the difficulties that led to eventual progress for the Allies by the end of the year. Groom's casual literary prose surprised me and made him quite readable when the direness of the situation did not compel me skip certain details. He used many common expressions rather than more precise and elevated phrases to express his assessments. This tendency increased as he unfolded the story of the terrible war year.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rouven Cyncynatus

    1942, a year that made a difference! Two wars seem to intrigue me the most. They are the American Civil War and WWII. Having said this I undoubtedly have read many books on both Wars. So in this book there was not a whole lot of surprises. However, there were a good number of interesting historical facts and revelations unveiled to me. It never quite dawned on me the importance of the year “1942” in the ultimate victory over the Axis Powers. 1942 is a book worth reading. The writing is clear and 1942, a year that made a difference! Two wars seem to intrigue me the most. They are the American Civil War and WWII. Having said this I undoubtedly have read many books on both Wars. So in this book there was not a whole lot of surprises. However, there were a good number of interesting historical facts and revelations unveiled to me. It never quite dawned on me the importance of the year “1942” in the ultimate victory over the Axis Powers. 1942 is a book worth reading. The writing is clear and distinct. Though it is a 500 plus page book it is a fast read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steven R. Felstein

    Excellent history of that pivotal year, 1942 War books tend to be either front line accounts or 10,000 foot overviews written by a general’s biographer. I find the later boring since they are so impersonal. This narrative is an excellent blend of both with riveting front line accounts and the overviews with the significance th battles explained. I wish I could find similar accounts for the years 1943 thru 1945. As an avid reader of WW2 books I found myself newly educated with fascinating new info Excellent history of that pivotal year, 1942 War books tend to be either front line accounts or 10,000 foot overviews written by a general’s biographer. I find the later boring since they are so impersonal. This narrative is an excellent blend of both with riveting front line accounts and the overviews with the significance th battles explained. I wish I could find similar accounts for the years 1943 thru 1945. As an avid reader of WW2 books I found myself newly educated with fascinating new information!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Austin Gisriel

    1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls is a wonderfully told history that weaves, ever so smoothly, the national and international politics, military strategy, and the combat at both division and personal levels with what was happening on the home front. I've read quite a bit on WW II, especially the action in the Pacific, and I still learned a few new things. Highly recommended to anyone especially those wishing to gain knowledge and perspective on WW II.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Surprisingly good account of dark days in WWII. When I got this book, I thought it was going to be a novel ala Forest Gump. I didn’t know that Groom wrote non fiction. He focused primarily in the Pacific theater, but I guess that’s where most of the action was in 42. I thought he did a really good job in selecting his topics and in describing the action and its consequences . People are all spun up today about culture wars, they forget what real wars are like

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