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Into the Rising Sun

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#1 Deep Web Diver

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Posted 10 November 2002 - 07:00 PM


Book honors World War II vets in time for Veterans' Day

Special to the Lake City Reporter
November 10, 2002

This weekend we celebrate the bravery of Amer-ican veterans. The festivities of Nov. 11 originally commemorated the cease-fire or "armistice" of World War I. The holiday has been expanded to honor veterans of all American wars.

Patrick K. O'Donnell has been collecting the memories of war veterans, particularly those from World War II, for over a decade.

Through personal interviews and through the writings of veterans themselves who posted their thoughts on O'Donnell's Web site, the author has collected more than a thousand individual stories of war and sacrifice.

Into the Rising Sun joins O'Donnell's other recent work, Beyond Valor, a collection of stories from airborne soldiers who fought in Europe during World War II.

In Rising Sun, O'Donnell recounts "America's elite infantry troops in the Pacific during World War II ‹ Marine Raiders, Rangers, Marauders and airborne troops."

These soldiers were the shock troops who led attacks into enemy terri-tory. They attacked numerous small islands held by the Japanese. In the words of one solider in the book, nearly every assault on these small islands was "like the beginning of Saving Private Ryan," the famous recent movie about D-Day in Europe.

O'Donnell begins his book with the first assaults on Guadalcanal in late summer 1942. In the minds of these soldiers, the attack on Pearl Harbor was over at this point, and they had a job to do.

Their mission was to take each of a series of small strips of land in the middle of the ocean from an entrenched enemy that refused to surrender.

As the book unfolds, the reader encounters tales of horror and sacrifice. Each island required an initial assault from these elite soldiers from the sea or from the air.

Once the enemy was engaged, the men struggled to keep themselves and their buddies alive. Powerful emotions emerge from these memoirs as some recall the battles for the first time.

Each narrative is a brief but intense view of first-hand combat. The soldiers often got stranded and had to rendezvous with their unit.

Some had to swim out to sea to meet with an American ship or submarine. Many were captured and suffered brutalities from their captors. Throughout the book they demonstrate a relentless drive to survive and ultimately to win.

O'Donnell's book is handsomely laid out, with several memoirs grouped with their appropriate battles. Several detailed maps provide visual guides to the action.

O'Donnell wisely steps back and lets the veterans tell their tales, and they relate their stories with strength and with humbling bravery. Into the Rising Sun is highly recommended for veterans of any war, for history buffs, and for all Americans who seek a patriotic read in honor of those who sacrificed for us.

Sean McMahon has a Ph.D. in American history and is an associate professor of history at Lake City Community College.

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Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat


[ 18. November 2002, 12:38 AM: Message edited by: Crapgame ]
This information has been posted for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes.
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"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." - Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863
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"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." - William Faulkner

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