Historian Hugh Ambrose deepens the experience of the HBO miniseries The Pacific—revealing the intertwined odysseys of four U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy carrier pilot and producing a powerful blend of first-person immediacy and historical perspective.
Sidney C. Phillips, an easygoing Alabama teenager, enlisted along with a buddy. “Manila John” Basilone was the son of immigrants who found happiness in the rough-and-ready life of a marine. Eugene B. Sledge watched his best friend and his brother go off to war—and finally rebelled against his parents to follow them. “Shifty” Shofner was the scion of a prominent family with a long record of military service. Ensign Vernon “Mike” Micheel left the family farm to complete flight school. Between America’s retreat from China in late 1941 and the moment that MacArthur’s plane landed in Japan in August 1945, these five men fought many of the key battles of the war in the Pacific. Here, Hugh Ambrose focuses on their real-life experiences and those of their fellow servicemen, enhancing and expanding upon the story told in the HBO miniseries.