With Guadalcanal firmly in American control by October 1943, the Allies decided to invade Bougainville, another island in the Solomon chain, to tighten their stranglehold on the Japanese in the area. To divert the enemy's attention, a raid was ordered on the nearby island of Choiseul. Success relied on making the Japanese think that a Marine division had landed on Choiseul so that they would rush reinforcements there while a much larger American Marine force would land on Bougainville. But Allied resources were scarce, so the Choiseul raid fell to the 2nd Marine Parachute Battalion. An aggressive unit of paratroopers under the command of the now legendary "Brute" Krulak, they were well trained in guerilla warfare and night fighting. This is the story of the paratroopers' courageous fight, told from their unique perspective.
Told to make the noise of an entire division, the Marines knew that if they got into trouble, there would be no reinforcements. For seven days they raised hell, bringing the fight to the Japanese along the coastline and deep into the jungle. Then, on November 3, as a large Japanese force closed in, the Marines slipped off the island, mission accomplished. Bougainville had been secured. This hour-by-hour account of what happened is based on an exhaustive gathering of all possible eyewitness accounts and includes a rescue by John F. Kennedy's PT boat and the death of a Marine in Kennedy's bunk. It is a page-turner more akin to a novel than a work of nonfiction.