The Pacific

The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose, 1/5

Some stories demand to be told, while others merely tolerate the telling.  Unfortunately, most of this book seems to belong to the latter category.  Ambrose’s attempt to follow his historian father’s success (who was involved with Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan, among other projects) comes off as extremely dry, forced and disjointed.  Instead of weaving together the individual stories of WWII marines in a meaningful way, he jumps jarringly from one short scene to another, preventing the reader from developing any cohesive overall impressions.  One small, but exceedingly annoying, example of Ambrose’s unpolished writing style is his inordinate fondness of the phrase “dribs and drabs,” which appears distractingly several times throughout the book.  He is also exceptionally bad at incorporating quotes into his writing, an unfortunate failing for a research writer to have.  The most interesting content, regarding Medal of Honor recipient “Manilla” John Basilone, is hardly original, as this celebrated soldier was already famous and his exploits well-documented.  Combine all this with descriptions of military tactics that read like cooking instructions to the world’s most boring recipe and you have proof that historical and writing skills are not hereditary.

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