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Pacific World War II Book Review  
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by Richard Marin
Barnes & Noble  1999
164 pages
Index, photos
ISBN: 0785813535
Cover Price: $24.99
Language: English

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War of our Fathers
Relics of the Pacific Battlefields

This is a coffee table volume of photographs, veteran interviews, maps and historical facts hot off the press from a major book publisher, Barnes and Nobles. Photographer Richard Marin is the son of an American WWII Pacific veteran. During a series of visits to the Pacific, this professional photographer who has captured striking Pacific photographs in his book.

The book is the product of two years to create, and seven years to produce. In the process, the author spent "six months overseas during three shooting trips, nine visits to Japan, 120,000 air miles and 10,000 in automobiles... forty or fifty mosquito bites and one memorable hour in a malarial swamp."

Each chapter begins with a full page map of the region, and brief text to outline the particular battle, with Japanese text. A spread of full color images about each island are reproduced on full pages, followed by an interview with a veteran related to that conflict, among them include a Navy mechanic, Army Nurse and Marine Private.

Photographs from each region of conflict in the South Pacific are included. Underwater photography, black and white, color plates, and haunting inverted images from Marin's lens fill the book. Abandoned tanks, crashed airplanes and overgrown gun emplacements are in stark contrast to their lush, tropical environments. A photograph of the atomic bomb pit #2 on Tinian Island best exemplifies this paradox: a solitary palm tree sprouts from the pit where the plutonium bomb "Fat Boy" was stored.

War of our Fathers begins with a striking introduction by David Kogut about the veterans in our lives, our fathers, uncles and grandparents who fought in WWII, and their significance today. He dispels the myth that the years leading up to the war were naive or innocent, and instead paints a picture of the Great Depression, and a war where its volunteers knew the stakes all too well... draftees prayed for the "million dollar wound" something not serious enough to permanently cripple, but enough to send them home. Learn about Japanese feeling toward Pearl Harbor today, and read about parallels in the Pacific theater to the body counts of Vietnam, and the "visuals" and "sound bite" MacArthur insisted on getting upon his recapture of the Philippines.

This book is a complete survey of the Pacific war, told through the images of today. Marin's lens takes us to the far reaches of the Pacific, and back almost sixty years to the war in paradise. For anyone especially interested in photography, this book will be of particular interest. A wall calendar is also available separately with some of the best images from the book.

Review by  Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
September 21, 2023

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