Called a stirring tale of forgotten heroes splendidly told by a master narrator, this saga of the valiant coastwatchers of the Pacific War exemplifies that rare combination of careful research and exciting narrative style that became a hallmark of Walter Lord's best-selling books. Though their importance has long been acknowledged, the coastwatchers had received relatively little attention until the publication of this book in 1977. The remarkable band of individualists, operating deep behind Japanese lines in the dark days of 1942-43, lived by their wits alone yet gave the Allies their best intelligence and rescued many a man from downed planes and sinking ships—including John F. Kennedy and his PT-109 crew.
To piece their story together, Lord traveled 40,000 miles to interview participants, check archives, and examine private letters and diaries. He even made a three-day hike through the Guadalcanal jungle to inspect the coastwatcher hideout on Gold Ridge so he could successfully put readers in their shoes. The book's varied cast of intriguing characters has attracted readers ever since.