In early 1942, the Japanese Army and Navy were advancing on all fronts, humiliating their US, British and Dutch foes throughout the Asia Pacific. In a matter of just months, the soldiers and sailors of the Rising Sun conquered an area even bigger than Hitler’s empire at its largest extent. They seemed invincible. Hawaiians and Australians were fearing a future under Hirohito. For half of mankind, fate was hanging in the balance.
Fast forward to the end of 1943, and the tables had been turned entirely. A reinvigorated American-led military machine had kicked into gear, and the Japanese were fighting a defensive battle along a frontline that crossed thousands of miles of land and ocean. Japan Runs Wild, 1942-1943 by acclaimed author Peter Harmsen details the astonishing transformation that took place in that period, setting the Allies on a path to final victory against Japan.
The middle installment in the trilogy, Japan Runs Wild, 1942–1943 picks up the story where its predecessor volume Storm Clouds over the Pacific, 1931-1941 left off. The common theme of the series is a comprehensive view of World War Two in the Asia Pacific, giving due emphasis to the central Japanese-American struggle, but also encompassing the other nations that were engulfed in the vast showdown: British, Australians, Soviets, Filipinos, Indians and Koreans. Above all, the central importance of China is highlighted in a way that no previous general history of the war against Japan has achieved.
"The examination of this period of the war from the Japanese perspective offers some fascinating insights...a serious lesson for students of warfare and strategy that no matter how operationally and tactically proficient your forces are, the lack of a sound strategy will ultimately lead to defeat." ~New York Journal of Books
"So if you know little about the Pacific Campaign of World War II, this is a perfect entry point. If you are well-versed in this period, be prepared to be pleasantly surprised by the new facts and observations Harmsen has culled for your reading pleasure. Well researched, great notes and a lively writing style, covering both the tactical to strategic fields, makes this a winner of a book." ~Dr. Robert Smith. LTC (Ret), U.S. Army Historian, ARMOR Magazine
"Harmsen takes us into the mindsets of the leaders of both sides as they coped with a war spread over thousands of miles of ocean...Whether you are a casual reader or a Pacific Theater aficionado, this book, like its predecessor makes a perfect addition to your library." ~War Diary Magazine
“New York Times best-selling author and noted East Asia expert Peter Harmsen continues his outstanding War in the Far East trilogy with its second installment, Japan Runs Wild, 1942–1943. It is rare in English-language literature to treat the Pacific War as an integrated whole. Most histories emphasize the U.S. drives through the South and Central Pacific—often to the exclusion of “lesser” theaters. But MacArthur did not return to the Philippines in a vacuum. The Marines did not just land on Iwo Jima after battling their way across the Pacific on their own. Japanese or Allied actions in one isolated corner of the conflict often had repercussions felt across all the others. It is simply not possible to understand the war against Japan without understanding what happened in China and Southeast Asia as well as throughout the Pacific. What Harmsen does best is to drive home to the reader the full astonishing scope of the war and how all the disparate pieces fit together. His fast-paced narrative takes the reader from the deck of the HMS Prince of Wales off the coast of Malaya, to the desperate third battle of Changsha in central China, to the U.S. Marines landing on Tarawa. The reader quickly begins to feel not only the vastness of the Pacific war, but also its complexity and interconnectedness.” ~Daniel Jackson, author of "Famine, Sword, and Fire"
"This book is a tribute to and clear reflection of thorough, painstaking research. Harmsen has a writer’s eye for detail and doesn’t shrink from the horrors of war." ~Journal of Military History
"Narrative descriptions from many participants, from different nations and of different ranks, reflect the shock of the early defeats by a badly underestimated enemy, the misery of fighting in the jungle, and the lessons gained through painful experience." ~Strategic Studies Quarterly
‘’It draws on many sources, is comprehensively referenced, and has an extensive 12-page bibliography. Well written, the narrative has a pace to it which maintains the interest helped by reference to personal experiences of participants.. It has a good selection of interesting photographs.. This book is interesting and informative and is a good read. It is well recommended for the expert and the general reader alike with an interest in the war in the Far East.’’ ~Miniature Wargames
"Harmsen’s book describes, with a very broad scope, the second two years of the war, covering that turnaround, very well. It is well written, well researched and exceptionally well illustrated. Volume III, covering the final two years of the Pacific War should be fascinating." ~Baird Maritime
"There is enough in Japan Runs Wild that would make a reader want to review volume 1, which covers 1931–1941 and is also a relatively concise 231 pages. The third book in the trilogy has not yet been published. For those who have studied much of World War II, there is a good deal that is a review of well-known and widely researched material, but there are also facts and stories that many readers may not know. This volume is highly readable and does not require an extensive background in history, politics, or military studies to be comprehendible. Japan Runs Wild could be a starter read for someone wanting background on the Pacific theater of the war or a book club submission." ~Air & Space Power Journal
"Extensively researched, including Japanese sources, and well written, this book will inevitably garner significant praise for the way in which the author has taken a complex story and distilled it into a digestible and highly readable narrative." ~Military Books Australia
"Harmsen’s journalistic skills grant him the ability to transport the reader using effective narrative description, and throughout the book the scene is vividly set." ~War in History