Kirkus Star


Email this review


I'm not given to keeping clippings -- but I did keep Clark Lee's Coral Sea story for weeks, and I don't think it has been surpassed in any interview or first hand reportage since. But because it was based on an interview, I suppose, he has not made it a part of this first hand story of his experiences in the Pacific. This isn't just another Junction, which is -- to date -- the best general coverage of the Pacific Plant, but with too much detail which slows the pace. Lee has a better of than ; but he didn't see as much. His story starts with from which he escaped on the last boat -- and that material is definitely new, though the Hong Kong story has been told. The main part of the book deals more fully than has been done elsewhere with the whole Philippine campaign, in which Clark Lee experienced intimately not only bautaan and Corregidor last stand, but the sporadic and outbreaks, fighting, guerilla warfare, and Japanese infiltration throughtout the Islands. His picture of lack of preparedness, lack of integration, of communication facilities, of clarity of understanding of what was happening shakes ones faith to the roots. And yet the picture of Mac Arthur emerges as a leader who will not be beaten. One gets a picture of the Filipinos, the terrified green troops, the slow stiffening of one sees evenings spent in unnatural gaiety; one experiences the incredulity of even those in the know at the complete destruction of the air force, at the callousness back home when nothing was done to relieve the ill-equipped Island forces, in Corregider, but went over the water to Bataan, to the doubt troops, on BT boat ventures, everywhere he could get. And he tells the story without brimmings, without deliberate dramatization -- and it is grand reading, with enough action, human interest and grim realism. Then -- escape -- and Australia, New the Solomons, more briefly experienced and shared. Disillusioning interpretation of our headlines, as he recounts the truth behind the words. ""Only one of planes was lost"" -- Yes, says Lee, but we had only four left. He shows where an unimportent skirmish is played up as a major victory. He doesn't even go along with how accepted version of the importance of Midway. Once more -- old devil censor! An important took.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1943
Publisher: Viking