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As Good as Dead: The Daring Escape of 11 American POWs From a Japanese Death Camp

NAL Caliber/Penguin Random House, 368 pp., hard cover, 50-plus images, maps

As Good as Dead is one of the greatest escape stories of World War II, and one that few Americans know. The eleven survivors of the Palawan Massacre—some badly wounded and burned—spent weeks evading Japanese patrols. They scrounged for food and water, swam shark-infested bays, and wandered through treacherous jungle terrain, hoping to find friendly Filipino guerrillas. Their endurance, determination, and courage in the face of death make this a gripping and inspiring saga of survival.

The survival journey for these eleven Americans started on December 14, 1944––when their Japanese captors herded them into shallow, underground air raid shelters to burn them alive with aviation gasoline. Years of starvation, torture, disease, and slave labor ended for many in those horrific minutes. Those who escaped bullets and bayonets to plunge over a rocky cliff faced a perilous manhunt. This is the true story of American POWs with a will to survive that should not be forgotten.

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The Battle for Hell's Island: How a Small Band of Carrier Dive-Bombers Helped Save Guadalcanal

NAL Caliber/Penguin Random House, 504 pp., hard cover, 70-plus images, maps

A remarkable story of grit, guts, and heroism, The Battle for Hell's Island reveals how command of the South Pacific, and the outcome of the Pacific War, depended on control of a single dirt airstrip—and the small group of battle-weary aviators sent to protect it with their lives.

The Japanese called Guadalcanal "Jigoku no Jima"—Hell's Island. The carrier aviators from the USS Enterprise became part of the Cactus Air Force and as such would participate in the most desperate attempt to retake the island in November 1942. Many of these pilots and radiomen/gunners, pulled from the lost carriers Lexington and Yorktown, were veterans of carrier battles in the Coral Sea, the Eastern Solomons, and Santa Cruz in 1942, and their participation in each carrier battle is followed in griping, first-person narratives. The author called upon countless interviews, official documents, diaries, and oral histories to construct this vivid story of the Pacific War that is a true page-turner.

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Pacific Payback: The Carrier Aviators Who Avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway

NAL Caliber/Penguin Random House, 448 pp., hard cover, 70-plus images, maps

Sunday, December 7, 1941, dawned clear and bright over the Pacific . . . but for the Dauntless dive-bomber crews of the USS Enterprise returning to their home base on Oahu, it was a morning from hell. The next six months, from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway—a dark time during which the Japanese scored victory after victory—this small band of aviators saw almost constant deployment, intense carrier combat, and fearsome casualties.

Not until Midway, though, would Dauntless crews get the chance to settle the score. In June 1942, Japan mobilized the best of its Navy to draw out the smaller American carrier fleet for a final showdown designed to destroy the U.S. Navy once and for all. What they didn’t anticipate was the gutsy dive-bombing pilots and gunners whose courage and skill would change the course of World War II. Drawing on dozens of new interviews and oral histories, author Stephen L. Moore brings to life inspiring stories of individual sacrifice and bravery—and the sweeping saga of one of America’s greatest triumphs.

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Battle Surface! Lawson P. "Red" Ramage and the War Patrols of the USS Parche

Naval Institute Press, 348 pages, 6" x 9" format, hard cover, 120 images

Only seven U.S. submariners would earn the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II. Among this elite group was Commander Lawson Paterson "Red" Ramage, who was the first submarine officer to earn the Medal of Honor without perishing in the course of earning it. During the night of 31 July 1944, Ramage kept his submarine Parche on the surface and defiantly charged into the midst of a large Japanese convoy.

Parche's crew reloaded their torpedo tubes furiously while their skipper twised and turned wildly through the chaos for more than half an hour. Ramage's close-in, furious surface rampage became the talk of the submarine force in terms of its boldness and of the enemy shipping he had destroyed. The story of Parche's Pacific war patrols is rich with details of other torpedo attacks, surface gun actions, Japanese depth charge counterattacks and the crew's methods of relieving stress during liberty. Wartime diaries, official records and interviews with dozens of Parche officers and enlisted men provide rich details of the submarine war against Japan.

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Presumed Lost: The Incredible Ordeal of America's Submarine POWs during the Pacific War

Naval Institute Press, 370 pages, 7" x 10" format, hard cover, 139 images

Presumed Lost relates the loss of the seven World War II submarines from which Americans were taken prisoner by the Japanese. Of the 525 submariners who set sail on the last patrol of these seven boats, only 158 would ever see their country again. Official notification had been given to their families that their ships had been sunk and the men were simply "presumed lost." Grenadier and Perch were so badly damaged by depth charge attacks that their crews were forced to scuttle their subs. Sculpin and S-44 were sunk with heavy loss of lives while fighting it out with Japanese combat ships on the surface. Robalo struck a mine and very few of her sailors were able to swim to an island. Tang and Tullibee were struck by their own faulty torpedoes while executing torpedo attacks on the surface. Nine men survived the loss of Tang, five reaching the surface after their boat had settled in 180 feet of water. Based on personal interviews, diaries, POW statements and action reports.

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Spadefish: On Patrol With a
Top-Scoring World War II Submarine

Atriad Press, 480 pages, 5.5" x 8.5" format, soft cover, 100+ images

By official postwar analysis, Spadefish ranked as tied for fourth best in number of enemy ships sunk (including a Japanese aircraft carrier) and sixth best in total enemy tonnage sunk. Spadefish was the only U.S. submarine launched in 1944 to become one of the war's Top Ten scoring boats. In terms of efficiency, she was unequaled––sinking a ship for every seven and one third days on war patrol! Relive Spadefish's battles through the words of dozens of her officers and enlisted men.

Spadefish downed six ships on her maiden double-barreled patrol and never looked back. Her ship's mascot, a beer-drinking terrier named Luau, even gave birth to puppies while on war patrol. Spadefish was also part of a wolfpack which used top-secret technology to invade the Sea of Japan in 1945.

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War of the Wolf: Texas' Memorial Submarine
World War II's Famous USS Seawolf

Atriad Press, 472 pages, 5.5" x 8.5" format, soft cover, 138 images

Seawolf Park in Galveston, Texas, is a tribute to USS Seawolf (SS-197), a famous World War II submarine on eternal patrol. Before her loss in 1944, "the Wolf" was a star performer of the U.S. Submarine Force. After battling faulty torpedoes early in the war, skipper "Fearless Freddie" Warder began using a periscope camera to document his torpedo performance. Some of the photos his crew captured are among those most published from the war.

The Wolf's crew also boldly entered shallow enemy harbors, rescued downed aviators, landed commandos in the Philippines and engaged Japanese ships with her deck guns. Her war started the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and ended under tragic circumstances. Relive Seawolf's battles through the words of many of her officers and enlisted men. Of special interest are the diary entries of Chief "Bud" McCoy, who was later lost aboard Seawolf on her 15th war patrol.

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The Buzzard Brigade: Torpedo Squadron Ten at War

Pictorial Histories, 324 pages, 8.5" x 11" format, hard cover, 144 images

Torpedo Squadron Ten struck hard at the heart of Japanese resistance in the Pacific Theater, attacking enemy bases in the Marshalls, Truk, Palau, New Guinea, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, and even Honshu and Kyushu on Japan's mainland. Known as the "Buzzard Brigade," VT-10 completed three successful combat cruises, operating from the aircraft carriers Enterprise (CV-6) and Intrepid (CV-11). The squadron saw action in some of the fiercest battles of the war: Santa Cruz, Guadalcanal, the Philippine Sea, and Okinawa.

While flying from Guadalcanal, the Buzzard Brigade helped sink the first battleship Japan lost during the war. In its final attack on warships off Okinawa, VT-10 helped sink the 72,000-ton super battleship Yamato and torpedoed two of her screening warships. This coffee-table book is lavishly illustrated with many rare combat photos and contains first-hand accounts of the missions as relived by the pilots, gunners and radiomen who flew the Grumman Avenger.

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