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Marine combat veteran and award-winning military historian Joseph Alexander takes a fresh look at one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific War. His gripping narrative, first published in 1995, has won him many prizes, with critics lauding his use of Japanese documents and his interpretation of the significance of what happened. The first trial by fire of America's fledgling amphibious assault doctrine, the violent three-day attack on Tarawa, a seemingly invincible Japanese island fortress of barely three hundred acres, left six thousand men dead. This book offers an authoritative account of the tactics, innovations, leadership, and weapons employed by both antagonists. Alexander convincingly argues that without the vital lessons of Tarawa the larger amphibious victories to come at Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa might not have been possible.
Col. Joseph H. Alexander, a combat veteran who served in the Marine Corps for twenty-eight years, was the author of six books and helped produce twenty-five documentaries about Marines. Col. Alexander passed away on 28 September 2014. He was 76.