NO BENDED KNEE: The Battle for Guadalcanal by Merrill B. Twining

NO BENDED KNEE: The Battle for Guadalcanal

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A splendid first-person account of the costly campaign that enabled Allied forces to wrest Guadalcanal from the Japanese in WW II's Pacific theater. Twining (who retired from the USMC as a four-star general in 1959) was operations officer of the 1st Marine Division during its prolonged struggle to gain control of ""the Canal,"" and he draws on his experiences to provide a vivid narrative that starts with a lucid appreciation of amphibious-warfare doctrine. Getting down to cases, he ruefully recalls his role as an advance man in New Zealand, which the US military used as a staging area. The author goes on to detail how the leathernecks mounted a picture-perfect landing near Lunga Point on August 7, 1942, and moved quickly inland to capture an almost completed airfield. To this day Twining remains outraged by the subsequent withdrawal of capital as well as supply vessels by ultracautious naval commanders unwilling to put them at risk; momentarily left in the lurch, marines ashore began referring to themselves as the 1st Maroon Division. Fighter planes and bombers began arriving to take up some of the slack, however, and William (Bull) Halsey replaced an appreciably less aggressive admiral in mid-October. In the meantime, Tokyo had dispatched thousands of reinforcements to Guadalcanal. Though outgunned and outmanned on the ground, the embattled marines maintained the initiative, annihilating their foes in fierce clashes throughout the island's fetid jungles and along its rugged waterways. Twining has high praise for the Marine Corps officers and men who endured savage combat, short rations, drenching rains, and an enervating climate on Guadalcanal. The book closes with an evaluation of the tactical lessons learned on Guadalcanal and their significance in the context of America's strategic policies (or lack thereof) in a perdurably dangerous world. An estimable addition to the literature of Guadalcanal.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1996
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Presidio