Pacific Alamo: The Battle for Wake Island by John Wukovits

Pacific Alamo by John Wukovits highlights an area of World War II that has rarely been covered – the Battle for Wake Island and the fate of those who survived the battle. Wukovits brings his wonderful narrative style to this subject.

The book covers the battle – which began on December 11, 1941 – extensively through the eyes of the military men and civilians who fought to defend the island against the Japanese. The Japanese tried to take the island with a small force, but suffered heavy losses. After bombing the island for three weeks, the Japanese finally took the island with a total of 700 casualties compared to 100 casualties for the Americans. After surrendering, the Americans were taken to various locations around the Japanese Empire where they were brutally treated and sometimes murdered.

Wukovits does an excellent job of reciting the battle and the fate of the Americans who fought in it. Wukovits weaves together the personal accounts of the military men, civilians, and Japanese. In addition, he briefly explains how the events that occurred on Wake influenced the war in general – many Americans saw the Wake defenders’ defiance as a rallying cry.

In short, the book is wonderfully written about a group of men who captured the hearts of America.

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