Books about WW2 in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific
July 26, 2014 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I'd appreciate recommendations for books about African, Asian, and Pacific involvement in World War II, especially those with the most first-hand accounts. Right now, I'm sticking to Kindle-available books, since I can literally take them anywhere.

There are, of course, dozens of books out there, but that's the thing: so much information, it's really hard to decide where to start.

For the record, in terms of general history I'm working my way through Beevor's books, and Gruber's Haven, finished Bruhns' My Father's Country, and god help me, but Atkinson's Trilogy is coming up next on my list (which has been most consistently recommended for an overview). I anticipate being done with that by, oh, sometime in January. Maybe.

And of course, general suggestions are always welcome. I'm genuinely embarrassed by how much I don't know.
posted by ElaineMc to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: With The Old Breed and The Thin Red Line for the Pacific.
posted by caek at 2:39 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Depending on the perspective you're looking for: Unbroken, for details of Japanese treatment of POWs, among other things.
posted by inigo2 at 2:54 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not sure if this counts but:

All I Asking For Is My Body is set in Hawaii during WWII and it's a fascinating read on the Japanese plantation experience and the climate in Hawaii leading up to Pearl Harbor.
posted by spunweb at 2:55 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding With The Old Breed. For a British perspective, check out Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:12 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: "Soldiers of the Sun" is the best book I've read about the Imperial Japanese Army. (No Kindle version, alas.)

It begins with Perry's visit in 1853, leading to revolution against the Shogunate and establishment of the government, and military, which eventually fought WWII. By the time you reach the Marco Polo Bridge Incident (arguably the true beginning of WWII, in 1937) you'll know why the system has become a high speed train that's out of control, barreling down the track headed for disaster. And you'll understand (but not sympathize) how things like the Rape of Nanking could happen.

I recommend it highly.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:45 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A more general book, but a very good read: Shattered Sword, the Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
Taffy 3: Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:54 AM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Thousand Mile War which tells the tale of the Japanese occupation of the Aleutian Islands in WW2.
posted by Katine at 5:16 AM on July 27, 2014

Response by poster: This is another of those things where I have to pretty much favorite EVERYONE.

...except for the part where you guys've just extended my reading list by roughly... oh, I don't know, three years or so!

Thank you all so much!
posted by ElaineMc at 9:46 AM on July 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Eric Bergerud wrote a pair of books -- "Fire in the Sky" and "Touched With Fire" -- about the air war and ground war, respectively. I think they are very good.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:39 AM on July 28, 2014

Best answer: Not sure about Kindle, but Barbara Tuchman's book, Stillwell and the American experience in China is a pretty fascinating (biographical) look at the chief military advisor to Chiang Kai Shek during the Second World War.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:42 PM on July 28, 2014

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