Tower of Skulls: A History of the Asia-Pacific War: July 1937-May 1942 (Paperback)
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“A sweeping epic.… Promises to do for the war in the Pacific what Rick Atkinson did for Europe.” —James M. Scott, author of Rampage
In 1937, the swath of the globe east from India to the Pacific Ocean encompassed half the world’s population. Japan’s onslaught into China that year unleashed a tidal wave of events that fundamentally transformed this region and killed about twenty-five million people. This extraordinary World War II narrative vividly portrays the battles across this entire region and links those struggles on many levels with their profound twenty-first-century legacies. In this first volume of a trilogy, award-winning historian Richard B. Frank draws on rich archival research and recently discovered documentary evidence to tell an epic story that gave birth to the world we live in now.
About the Author
Richard B. Frank is an internationally acclaimed historian of the Asia-Pacific War. He was an aerorifle platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam and is the author of Guadalcanal and Downfall. He is a member of the Board of Presidential Counselors of the National WWII Museum and lives in Annandale, Virginia.
Vivid, engrossing, and indispensable to an understanding of today’s world.
— Richard Snow, author of A Measureless Peril
The first of what promises to be a magisterial trilogy.… Serious scholars and professionals in and out of uniform should read this book, which thoroughly fills a gap many have in the history of World War II.
— Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, US Army (ret.) - ARMY magazine
Outstanding, wide-ranging.… Frank has a humane, sure eye for detail.
— Rana Mitter - BBC History magazine
Absolutely outstanding.… Brisk and compelling.… A real game changer for the historiography of the Pacific Theater in World War II.
— Jerry Lenaburg - New York Journal of Books
Magisterial.… [Richard B.] Frank’s searing account of the horrors that took place in Shanghai, not to mention Nanking, doesn’t just come down to the numbers that were slaughtered, raped or made destitute by men crazed by war. It’s not about the statistics, though he’s good on them too. It was his account of the chaos of war that most gripped me.… Excellent though he is at most things, Frank is arguably at his best in his portrayal of both the leading and minor characters in this story.”
— Malcolm Murfett - Literary Review (UK)
Frank offers readers a wealth of material that provides a more nuanced perspective of the events that preceded [the United States’] entry into the war.… There will be two more volumes to come in this set, and I cannot wait to read them.
— Vick Mickunas - Dayton Daily News
In this impressive reassessment of the early phases of the Pacific War, Richard B. Frank offers a rare combination of deep scholarship, thoughtful analysis, and compelling prose to illuminate aspects of the war too often overlooked in Western accounts: China, Malaya, Burma, and Bataan. This is an essential and rewarding work for anyone who wants to understand the Second World War.
— Craig L. Symonds, author of World War II at Sea: A Global History
Richard B. Frank’s Asia-Pacific War trilogy is destined to become as much a go-to scholar’s resource as his definitive Guadalcanal book has long been invaluable for researchers of America’s first Pacific offensive of 1942. Tower of Skulls is deeply researched, providing fresh evaluation of the political, economic, and military scenes of the early years of World War II. And yet this book remains highly readable, thanks to an artful blend of personal perspectives and colorful battle summaries.
— Stephen L. Moore, author of Uncommon Valor and Pacific Payback
Tower of Skulls is the opening volume of what promises to be the definitive history of the Asia-Pacific War; a gripping account of two wars, one on the Asian mainland, the other in the islands of the Pacific, that conjoined and became a history-changing struggle without mercy or precedent. The scope is epic and the story has the pulling power of fiction. It is that rare thing: a work of staggering scholarship bound to appeal to a wide reading audience.
— Donald L. Miller, author of Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy