Book Reviews


Given Up for Dead by Bill Sloan



“Every day brought more of the same: another dose of work that never got finished, exhaustion that never ceased, a routine that never varied, and waiting that never ended.” These lines perfectly sum up the days of siege of Wake Island, the far-flung U.S. outpost, by Japan.
On December 8,1941, a few hours after the infamous bombing of the Pearl Harbour, the Japanese forces attacked this tiny group of three islands. It was conceived to be a point of immense strategic location for control over the Pacific during World War II.
Surprised by the attack, the unprepared battalion of marines, sailors and civilians fought one of the bravest and ruthless wars in American history. They showed courage, determination and perseverance unheard-of before. This book tells the tale of their sacrifices and bravery through first-hand accounts of the survivors.
The book starts with PFC Wiley Sloman waking up among the enemy corpses thinking that he has been given up for dead. Then the reader re-lives the agony of the past few days on the island. When the first planes attack, he ducks for cover just like the nearest gun crews. He feels the sorrow and gloom when the Wake Islanders bury their dead. He celebrates their extraordinary achievements, endures rat bites in fox holes and goes through the humiliations of the POW camps. He sees, hears and feels all of it.
Bill Sloan, with his simple and lucid style of writing, recreates those days from Hell again in ink and paper. He captures the dilemmas faced by the commander of the island, the decisions taken and the mistakes made with the eyes of a keen and ruthless observer.
The most touching moments in the book are undoubtedly those of the surrender and the inhuman treatment meted out to the soldiers afterwards. With victory so close at hand, virtually every fighter on Wake wanted to shoot down Major Devereux when he came carrying the white flag. It seems those who died in action were the luckiest of the lot. Those who were tough enough or lucky enough to survive came through with permanent physical and mental scars.
This book effectively serves as a token of appreciation and appreciation to all the brave-hearts who defended the remote outpost with their lives. The author has indeed succeeded in immortalizing those warriors and bringing them much of their deserved glory. He pulled out fading heroes and told their story to the world.
Revealing details about the book isn’t on my plan. But what I can confidently say is that it is an amazing read for all of you who have the stomach to experience the grueling realities of war, the pain of losing loved ones and the ever-lasting will to survive. Truly, Wake is the Alamo of the Pacific.

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