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Pacific World War II Book Review  
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by Bill James
Kokoda Press  2006
511 pages
photos, illustrations, maps
ISBN: 9780977570409
Cover Price: $34.95
Language: English

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Field Guide to the Kokoda Track
An Historical Guide to the Lost Battlefields

The Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea is known to every Australian as a place of historical significance during World War II, where Australian soldiers fought the Japanese Army on a treacherous mountain trail spanning from Owens Corner north of Port Moresby over the Owen Stanley Mountains to Kokoda. Field Guide to the Kokoda Trail is highly recommended for anyone interested in the Kokoda Trail, the battlefields or for those who intend to trek it themselves.

Part trek guide and historical reference, this book excels at both. Each battle includes a list of Australian casualties listing their names, rank, unit and date of death. For those trekking, the trail is divided into stages from start to finish including details on the time required to walk each segment, grade, soil and a track description. The text is lavishly illustrated with WWII photos, present day photos, maps and diagrams. Also, sidebar stories that detail associated personalities and highlights fascinating historical facts and oddities.

In the back of the book is a highly valuable pull-out waterproof trek map. The two sided map folds into a pocket sized guide including maps useful to trekkers, including a profile of the Kokoda Trail, with key villages, battlefield sites and elevations in meters. Also a top down topographic map of the entire Kokoda Trail spanning two pages. Another map is a map for Kokoda to the north coast. Also included are key historical maps including the Japanese advance July 21 - September 17, 1942. A map details the Australian advance September 27, 1942 to January 21, 1943. Also 39th Battalion at Isurava on August 26, 1942. Additional maps detail the 21st Brigade at Efogi ad Ua-Ule Creek to Ioribaiwa Ridge.

This excellent book is superb addition to your library as both a guide book and a historical reference. The book was reprinted in 2007 as a revised edition.

Review by Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
September 21, 2023

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